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Valley People (May 17, 2017)

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION GALA! Anderson Valley Farm Supply, Friday, May 19th, which is THIS Friday. Specific festivities kick off at noon, deals all day. Food, drink and red geraniums!

THAT TERRIBLE head-on collision Friday night a little before ten on 128 near the Greenwood Ridge Winery, was caused when a car driven by Martiniano Escalona, 46, of Boonville, unaccountably swerved into the oncoming lane and struck the small, Nissan pick-up driven by Craig Gelber, 51, of Willits. Gelber was seriously injured and airlifted to Santa Rosa for treatment. Escalona emerged from the wreckage with minor cuts and bruises and was eventually placed under arrest. The CHP report concluded, "The cause of this collision is still under investigation, but it is believed alcohol is a contributing factor in this collision."

IN THE WAKE of the recent state water board’s $1 million grant awarded to our Community Services District for planning and development of a water and/or sewer system for downtown Boonville, the CSD is forming a formal oversight committee to advise on the planning. The committee will be made up of "service area stakeholders" who will vote on recommendations about the water and sewer grants for the CSD board. So far, Community Services Board chair Valerie Hanelt has nominated 13 Boonville residents and business owners from downtown Boonville for the advisory committee (which has been meeting informally for several months). For more information, the CSD’s website ( will be periodically updated as the project proceeds.

MEMORIAL DAY IN BOONVILLE. The Redwood Empire American Legion Post 385 wishes to announce our annual Memorial Day observance at the Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way in Boonville. This event will offer remembrances for local veterans now deceased and their loved ones. The event will begin with the raising of the flag at 10:00 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th at 10:00 a.m. and will be led by our local Commander, Patrick Ford. The accompanying photo of Legionnaires was taken at last year's ceremony. We also wish to invite all local veterans not yet affiliated with our post to become active members. We meet the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00p.m. at the Veteran's Hall next to the Fair Grounds. We begin with refreshments and a social hour followed by our monthly 7:00 p.m. meeting. Throughout the year we and our families also enjoy special events and participate in several community services activities. Those interested contact our membership chair at or 707-684-0043. (Gregory Sims, membership chair)

Front row. Christy Kramer, Mark Fontaine, Ross Murray, Ray Langevin, Gregory Sims. Back row. Bob Nimmons, Clyde Doggett, Kirk Wilder, Patrick Ford, Patrick Burns. 

THESE SIGNS are popping up everywhere. We agree with the sentiment, but with this caveat: The immigrant neighbors who play boom boxes full blast at all hours and keep pit bulls chained up all day in their litter-strewn backyards are not good neighbors, but are non-English-speaking persons who daily express contempt for their neighbors. We have a neighbor like that in Boonville, and we don’t feel especially welcoming.

STARTLED LAST WEEK to see the log deck at the Cloverdale mill completely barren. Logger pal Dan Kuny explained that the prices for redwood and even fir are so high right now (after Trump’s new restrictions on fir imports from Canada) that the mills can't get enough logs fast enough to keep the mill going full time. Today, however, there was again a modest pile of redwood at Cloverdale, and the worker parking lot was full.

ANICA WILLIAMS and Larry Breshears are circulating a fix-the-pot-holes petition for Philo Greenwood, which people can find lots of places on line including on our website and in Elk.

COUNTY ROADS BOSS, Howard Deshield, agrees that County roads are in bad shape, worse after the big rains of the past winter. Deshield and his shorthanded crew truly went above and beyond keeping County roads open during the storms, or had them open very soon after big storms closed them. Right here in the Anderson Valley, under the direction of local guy WT Johnson, Deshield’s County crews not only kept the roads clear, they managed to install a hurry-up bridge on Peachland Road that enabled a large number of Peachland people to get back a forth to schools and jobs every day.

BUT DESHIELD is operating under severe budget restrictions. He does the best he can with limited personnel and limited money for everything he reasonably requires to get ‘er done. Used to be that Supervisors were called “Road Commissioners,” in implicit recognition of their primary function. With the evolution or, as some of us might prefer, devolution of modern Mendo, local government included a plethora of additional functions, including a radical expansion of government itself with its ever-larger salaries for top people and retirement obligations for all them. And here we are with not much in the way of local government getting done efficiently or getting done at all. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the purpose of local government has become itself.

"OUT OF THIS WORLD." The name of this year's AV student art show can be taken many ways, but I'd hoped to encourage the thought that we all come from the same place, from Planet Earth - like the clay used for our sculpted bears; the paper and paints we used in making portraits of explorers; and even the flour used in making our paper mache' birds and fish. With this in mind, I invite you all to come to Lauren's Restaurant to enjoy the artwork from Anderson Valley Elementary School's student classes of 2016-2017. This year we will have an art opening on Saturday. May 20th, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Lauren's, with the space generously provided again by the restaurant. Many thanks to Pippa Thomas for her help in organizing this event, and to Natalie for her patience with the four-day installation. Thanks also go to Dr. Reddick for providing snacks. There will also be another opening at the restaurant on Tuesday, May 16, for Raul Malfavon and Ramon Alvarez, two seniors at A V High School. whose senior projects are included in this year's student show. Please come and celebrate these fine young artists with me. PS. Thanks to Marvin Schenk for his painterly eye. (Chris Bing, Philo)

ON OUR WAY to the post office Saturday morning, we passed a rental RV with a grunge of a young man standing beside it. He looked like he'd plunged head first into a roadside embankment. Completing the charming visual he presented were a pair of leashed pit bulls. Pot smoke poured from the vehicle.

MY, MY aren't we judgmental. Yes, yes we are, but thanatoids poised against the brilliant cool of a perfect spring day was, was, was….. a crime against the Boonville aesthetic!

BUT IT'S THAT TIME of year on the Northcoast. A small army of young people committed to the stoned life roll from their winter couches in Mom’s fetid basement and hit the road to work NorCal’s annual dope crop. Grunge Man and his crew were the harbingers of more to come.

BY WAY OF CONTRAST, the Anderson Valley Farmers Market was the very picture of wholesomeness in the nearby parking lot of the Boonville Hotel, the first farmer’s market of the year, featuring our hardy small farmers and their hard-raised plants and produce.


The Swingin' Boonville Big Band is playing at Lauren's in Boonville on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Dinner is served from 5-9 PM; the band plays from 9 — 11 PM. Dance floor bigger than one would expect; tables are moved around after dinner. Tickets $5, all proceeds benefit the A.V. Adult Education Department. Friendly door dragon. Beer/wine bar open late.

I KNOW a guy who sleeps in his truck where he works. Showers there, too, which means he never gets away from his job. He had an apartment in Ukiah that he shared with two other guys, but lost it when his roommates took jobs out of the area, and he was unable to pay the rent of $2200 a month out of annual take home pay of about $30,000. This man is single, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs. I suspect most of what he earns he sends to his family in the old country. He is quite skilled and quite willing to trade work and pay a modest rent for a place to stay. "A place to stay." Quite a world we have going where "a place to stay" is not assumed by many thousands of people right here in Mendocino County.

ON ANDERSON VALLEY WAY, Boonville, there are five houses I know of that have been vacant for years, four of which are pictured below. The one concealed by bushes was, at one time, quite upscale for the times — 1950s and 60s — complete with a swimming pool. It belonged to the Gerber family of baby food fame. The Gerbers stayed at their comfortable home at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way when they visited. Gerber also maintained a large apple orchard adjoining the home. The apple trees were bulldozed into big piles and burned a few years ago, the orchard going from edibles to intoxicants.

THE OTHER THREE houses are functional but slowly succumbing to mushroom status. Why all four aren't made available to people who need housing, especially families, is something of a local mystery, but probably boils down to, "No Mexicans." Seems a sin, though, not to provide shelter to decent, hardworking people who need it and is a sin to some people.

THE PHOTOS sent along by Valley old timer (in exile) Norm Clow, constitute a kind of case study in the retrogression of school architecture and, along with it, community. Anderson Valley’s graceful old high school and adjoining elementary classrooms descend from a time when beauty was the primary consideration in the construction of public buildings, but beauty was abandoned everywhere in the land, not just here, and in its place arose coast-to-coast schools that look, and are managed like, medium-security prisons.

AV High circa 1925


AV High 2017


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