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Valley People (May 3, 2017)

DUDE FEST has come and gone. Thousands of beer drinkers descended on the Anderson Valley for Saturday’s crowded event at the Boonville Fairgrounds and, by Sunday night, they were gone. Quite rare in these times that thousands of mostly young people can assemble in one place, get absolutely hammered over a few hours, and totter off to their campgrounds without so much as a fistfight. Hats off to the organizers at the Boonville Brewery. Much of the gate money goes to our volunteer fire department, and wherever he is these days, Ken Allen, founder of the Boonville Brewery with David Norfleet, should know he’s been a long-term boon to Boonville that all of us deeply appreciate.


Barbara Goodell writes:

Boonville Farmers Market Grand Opening 2017

On Saturday, May 6th the summer Boonville Farmers’ Market will commence with fanfare in the parking lot of the Boonville Hotel at the corner of Highway 128 and Lambert Lane from 9:30-noon. The first market of the season is traditionally the big plant sale of the year where you can not only find all the favorite, locally-grown summer garden starts you want, but also late spring plantings, herbs, and flowers. You’ll also be able to buy freshly-picked, crunchy spring veggies for your palate in anticipation of the fruition of the summer season as well as olive oil, meat, and crafts.

While Old River Road serenades us with music the vendor preview looks like Petit Teton with jams, krauts, pickles and other preserved foods, eggs, pork, beef, stewing chickens, squab, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Blue Meadow Farm will initially join us with Pam’s tried and true plant starts. Anderson Valley Community Farm will be there with plant starts and spring veggies plus their array of meat. WildeAcre Farm has plant starts galore. Bramble Family Farms will come with their local Mediterranean blend of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Patchwork Goat will display their handmade artisan goat milk soaps made with milk from their small herd of Nubian/Alpine goats raised on their farmstead in Boonville. Ron Black will feature his abalone jewelry. BFM hats and T-shirts will adorn the manager’s table with Amanda Bontecou at the helm for her third year. If Ron Rice doesn’t make it to the first market with his Yorkville Olive Oil, he will be there soon; so will Geoffrey and Trout with their mushrooms and potatoes.So, mark your calendars for each Saturday morning from May through October to find excellent food, ingredients, food workshops, local color, and camaraderie. Brock Farm will join the market in June and throughout the summer you will find chef demos, special events, kids activities, and music.”

KYREE KLIMIST is Mendocino County’s Public Health person who keeps our drug abuse stats, which, of course, have been upward trending for years. He (she?) says two young people died in April from overdosing themselves with “powered fentanyl,” an opioid. There were deaths from fentanyl patches some years ago, but the desire for the drug seems to have returned among some of the more despairing sectors of the young. Mendocino County’s population of a mere 90,000 people ranks 9th in the state in opioid deaths, a skewed statistic given relative population figures but worrisome enough even if only a relative handful of young people are numbing themselves with this stuff.

YORKVILLE REPORTED 6.16 INCHES of April showers, bringing their 2016-2017 season total, thus far, to 86.36 inches. High Roller monthly totals:

10.36" October 2016
 6.76" November 2016
 9.92" December 2016
24.92" January 2017
21.64" February 2017
 6.60" March 2017
 6.16" April 2017


THE CHP’S edited (by the AVA) presser on the death on 128 last Tuesday, the 25th of April: About 2:30pm, Mr. and Mrs. Origake, of Honolulu were driving a 1939 classic Jaguar SS-100 just west of mile marker 9.37 not far from Navarro. The Jaguar was part of the California Mille classic car tour. The driver, Mr. Origake, was traveling at an unknown speed when he unaccountably allowed his Jaguar to leave Highway 128 and crash into a tree. He was partially ejected from the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries on impact. Mrs. Ai Origake suffered serious injuries in the collision. She was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Mr. O was not wearing a seatbelt, but Mrs. O was. Drugs or alcohol were not considered to be a factor in the collision. It was cloudy and misting at the time of the crash. The California Mille is an annual car tour showcasing vintage cars made before 1958, inspired by the famed Mille Miglia (Thousand Miles), an open-road race in Italy that ended in 1957. The California Mille runs one thousand miles from San Francisco through the state’s scenic backroads, including Highway One along the Northern California coast. Original 1939 Jaguar SS-100s can cost several hundred thousand dollars each depending on condition, but replicas and restorations typically cost about as much as a late model sedan. It is not known whether the car involved in this crash was a classic or a replica.

THE 35TH ANNUAL BOONTLING CLASSIC 5K Footrace is right around the corner — just a few days away on Sunday, May 7th at 10am. It is shaping up to be a terrific event. Many runners of all ages have already entered, the 2017 t-shirts are fabulous, and there are more raffle prizes than ever before! So, if you are looking for fast competition, a good spring jog, or just an enjoyable walking event with friends, the Boontling Classic is for you. Once again, the Day of the Child celebration after the race promises to be loads of fun for the entire family. For more information or registration forms contact race director Flick McDonald at (707) 621-2701,

I KNOW lots of locals who have never been to Gualala, never driven to the South Mendocino Coast over Fish Rock Road, have barely heard of Covelo let alone traveled there, confuse Laytonville and Leggett, Westport and Rockport. It’s always struck me as peculiar that some locals will fly off to do a bike tour of Scotland, say, or hike Machu Pichu, without it occurring to them that their home county is so beautifully varied that a weekend exploring it can be as interesting as a month in a totally foreign place. We need a Mendocino County-specific guide book, a kind of insider’s tour of this fascinating, far flung place. I nominate Katy Tajha and/or Jendi Coursey, both of whom already know much of the history of this unique place and have undoubtedly visited every part of it.

ON THE SUBJECT of local history, it is downright exhilarating that the stately old Gualala Hotel has been rehabbed by one South Coast family, the Sundstroms, and will eventually be re-opened by another, Beverly and James Pederson.

NO, DAVE, NO! Dave Evans has the Navarro Store up for sale. For purely selfish reasons, I hope it doesn’t sell because Dave has singlehandedly put the N back in Navarro with his revitalization of the multifaceted institution, and he’s done it in a ah, er, well, let’s say “troubled neighborhood” and leave it at that. Not only has he managed to create a viable business in a difficult context. Dave’s a heckuvan amusing guy into the bargain. No one will forget his truly amazing summer night concerts under the redwoods starring world renowned musicians. If the store sells, Dave himself absolutely must stay.

THE APRIL edition of Home&Land describes the Deepend enterprise this way: “The historic Navarro General Store located on Hwy 128 in the heart of the redwoods and Pinot Noir country on the way to the Mendocino Coastline. Full service deli, convenience store, gas station, living quarters, and a renowned live music venue. Profitable, turnkey business op with the real estate and off business FF&E, license, and inventory included. Truly a one of a kind property! $995,000.”

THE SMITH STORY Wine Cellars tasting room is up and running at the Madrones, Philo. The vivacious young couple grows their own grapes and, as Alison Smith tells us, they have been here long enough to have shed the ’newcomer’ jacket. They met some “13 years ago while Eric was planting Riesling up on Nash Mill Road. Since then, our wine journey has taken us all over the world, many of the photographs inside the tasting room and the displayed empty bottles along our “Inspiration Wall” visually tell Our Story. Since day one of announcing Smith Story Wine Cellars on May 14, 2014, we’ve shown folks that our past wine experiences have heavily influenced our style of winemaking and overall philosophy of the winery. We believe The Madrones complex is reminiscent of the historic European villages among the numerous wine regions we deeply admire.”

HOW MUCH will the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival have to pay Mendocino County for use of the Boonville Fairgrounds?

Base rental: $27,500. In the event ticket sales exceed $500,000, an additional 5.5% of the gross sales over $500,000.

A $15,000 security deposit shall be paid which will be refunded after the event —“less any costs.”

Other provisions:

Ticket sales will not exceed 5000. Total occupancy for the event will not exceed 6500. Festival agrees to provide 300 tickets at discount prices to local residents.

Noise: outdoor amplified music will cease at midnight except for Sunday when it will cease at 10 PM.

Separate cost: Festival agrees to contract with the sheriff's office for the provision of law enforcement services on event days and will contract at their own expense with a licensed security agency for on-site security and parking.

(Ed note: The rumor that the festival producers will be charged for each arrest is not mentioned in the agreement and could not be confirmed or denied. We understand that the Beer Festival had to agree to be charged for each Beerfest-related arrest, of which there were mercifully few.)

"During operations of this contract festival has exclusive permission to operate food and beverage stands. Festival agrees to utilize at least six appropriate local food, microbreweries and winery vendors."

DOING THE MATH, A Reader Writes: “Thursday I counted the cars at the Anderson Valley Unified School District office out to AV Way in front of the Elementary School and got 55. Friday I counted the cars out front of the High School and got 72. Assuming none of the 280 elementary students drove themselves to school, the ratio of adults to students would be about 1 to 5. Assuming a little over a third of the 230 high school students drove themselves to school the ratio there of adults to students would also be about 1 to 5. I have no idea what to make of this though I'm sure somebody does.”

LET ME GUESS, a lot of people work in the local schools and they all drive to work.

SPEAKING of the schools, I popped into the dependably bleak high school cafeteria last Tuesday night where young parents and some teachers had assembled to wish-list what they wanted the schools to do. I quickly understood that I had nothing helpful to contribute and went away because I know I didn’t share the edu-assumptions of the people in the desensitization tank. Overall, I think the schools do all right given the state and federal mandates they work under, their added burden being the long-gone community consensus about what schools should be teaching. But while I have you here, I’ll say the schools do accomplish the basics of reading and simple math. Writing instruction disappeared years ago. But beyond the sixth grade pedagogical confusion reigns, and it’s coupled to the onset of puberty and, on top of raging hormones, the evil influence of a decadent and relentlessly stupid popular culture. Few people share my analysis, but to be of real use to Our Nation’s Future, young people should, beyond the 6th grade, get maybe a couple of hours of reading, writing and a little more math every day then spend the rest of their school time apprenticed out to adults who actually know how to do stuff. The way the upper grades are organized now most kids just sit there disengaged from the cerebral processes until they get a diploma that means absolutely nothing because they haven’t learned anything practical, let alone marketable, since the sixth grade.

I’M ALWAYS STRUCK by how much history this small Valley on the far west edge of the country has pressed into a mere 150 years, sparing us all but this one obligatory reference to the unhappy fate of The Valley’s original inhabitants who had lived here for the ten thousand years prior. Here’s an item from a 1971 Ukiah Daily Journal that reminds us of how quickly things have changed in Anderson Valley: “Mendocino’s oldest resident died yesterday in a Ukiah hospital at the age of 102. Had she lived 10 more days, Mrs. Rosa Watson would have celebrated her 103rd birthday. Born to the Rev. and Mrs. John Montgomery in Blunt County, Alabama on August 26, 1869, just four years after the end of the Civil War, Mrs. Watson came to Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley at the age of 13 when her parents migrated west. At the age of 20 she left Boonville and came to Ukiah where she worked as a cook for four years at the county hospital. While in Ukiah, she met and married James Watson, a Boonville farmer-tavern owner. The wedding ceremony was performed in the parlor of the old Hagan Hotel. Watson had come to California with a cattle drive at the age of 15 from the state of Missouri. He and his new wife returned to Boonville until 1910 when they moved back to Ukiah. During the years in Boonville, Mrs. Watson ran a boarding house. In Ukiah, the couple made their home on Ford Street. Mr. Watson passed away in 1926.” 

AND MRS. WATSON went on living in a country about as different as the one she was born in as could be imagined.

AMUSING STORY relayed to me by Elinor Clow years ago: Years back, when Mel “Boom-Boom” Baker was the local superintendent of schools, Elinor had some difficulty decoding an article Mel had published in Homer Mannix’s Anderson Valley Advertiser. She finally figured out that the piece lacked quite a number of clarifying commas and asked Homer to explain the comma deficit. “I don’t have enough commas so I try not to use too many of the ones I do have,” Homer explained and which I’ll explain to you by pointing out that Homer printed his paper on one of the last more or less functioning hot lead presses in the United States. Type was handset, a lost art these days. Homer had so many a’s, b’s, and so many commas, etc. If he’d had to publish a wordy paper in, say, 9-point type like this one he’d have been out of commas at the end of the first page. The recalcitrant linotype, Elinor recalls, was dubbed “Old Miserable” by the late Juanita Maddox, who wrote for Homer in the hot lead days.

LAST WEEKEND in San Anselmo; notes from a part-time suburbanite: I thought I heard a door slam late Friday night in America's quietest neighborhood in America's quietest town, San Anselmo, the beating heart of Marvelous Marin that beats so slowly it could be mistaken for dead. Rush hour traffic Friday was backed up in San Rafael where they were testing the huge boondoggle known as the Smart Train. It's a year behind schedule and millions over budget. It starts in San Rafael near the freeway and, carefully avoiding populated areas where people might be tempted to board it, finally winds up near the airport north of Santa Rosa. In other words, it will serve no one except a few tourists like me who will ride it once for the heck of it but will be of no use to commuters because it does not go to and from the places they do. And you still have to get to and from on either end by automobile. Ticket prices are projected at prices certain to deter everyone but the occasional rider. Congressman Huffman, natch, is all for it. I like to visit the Mission San Rafael churches, trying to imagine what they were like when the Bay still came up almost to their front doors and the padres sent soldiers on expeditions to the north all the way in to Mendocino County to capture Indians both to enslave them and save their souls. Saturday, there was a geriatric climate demonstration as several hundred mostly old people shuffled along Sir Francis Drake holding signs warning of eco-doom. No young people were among the demonstrators. Picked up a hundred dollar parking ticket the next day at the Marin Farmer's Market where I went to meet a couple of friends. I bought two standard green Japanese maples there for $14, the tough kind, the kind that do well in containers, and an excellent price for this splendid little tree. Then I went to Lenscrafters in the dying Northgate Mall to get my glasses fixed for the second time this month because I've twice broken them. "Did you buy those here, sir?" Yes, ma'am, although I hadn't, so they fixed them for nothing. I tried to give the girl 5 bucks but she wouldn't take it. On the way home I spotted a ratty old recliner on the street so I threw it in the back of my truck so I can sit in it and watch the passing parade from my office deck in the center of Boonville. (I'm aiming at an overall redneck aesthetic at my place.) Went on walks through the hill top mausoleums of the "Hub City," as Silent SA is called and re-read a bunch of Somerset Maugham's short stories set in Borneo where I lived for three years in another life. Maugham was tossed out of the country by the White Rajah for immoral conduct, or however the Brits euphemized Maugham's interest in Malay boys. And I started Susan Faludi's new book, "In the Darkroom" about how her father, at a late age, became a woman, ordinarily a subject I wouldn't be interested in, but I happen to know her and like her and she's a very good writer. (Forgive me for name-dropping. I only have a few to drop so I take every advantage.) All-in-all, not a bad couple of days but anxious to return to the center of the universe, my true home, the very cynosure of everything right in the world, Boonville, Ca.

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