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Valley People (May 31, 2017)

JUDY ISBELL NEÉ WAGGONER has died in Palm Springs. Born and raised in Boonville, Mrs. Isbell had been in failing health for some time. She had left the Anderson Valley for Palm Springs to be near her brother, Mickey Waggoner. Judy Isbell is perhaps best known locally from her years as the postmistress at Navarro. She grew up the only girl in a house full of athletic boys and became a formidable basketball player herself at Anderson High School. An ebullient woman whose trials were many, Judy always was ready to laugh, even during the terrible, and prolonged illness that immobilized her during her last years. A hardworking person all her days, among her many jobs was with us here at the newspaper where her presence was always a delight. I have a vivid memory of Judy lifting our antiquated Addressograph by herself, a machine that had taken two of us to position. She and her brothers, and her many cousins in the Summit family just down the street from her childhood home next door to Rossi Hardware, were and are close to our family. Judy’s loss is felt as keenly among us as it is among them. A full obituary is being prepared.

THE SOUTHBOUND Memorial Day traffic through Boonville was startling in its steady flow, so heavy it was as if an evacuation was underway. From 11am it took Boonvillians many minutes to get from one side of Highway 128 to the other. It took me a full ten minutes to get to and from ava headquarters to Boont Berry Farm, a distance of about forty yards but bisected by 128. Who are these people, where do they stay? Can there possibly be room for all of them?

THE REAL SARAS trio will perform at the Greenwood Ridge Tasting Room on Friday, June 2 from 7-10pm. $10 cover where local food from Mendocino Heritage Pork Company, washed down the excellent wines of Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, will supplement the can’t beat ‘em entertainment.

HERE in the Anderson Valley, the most happening geography in Mendocino County, if not all of NorCal, we have a new stretch of sidewalk in front of Weintraub Village, local home of yoga, a beauty salon, architect Steve Wood, and the recently vacated All That Good Stuff. The fresh sidewalk runs from the re-done Live Oak Garage — re-done into what we don't know yet, but the structure sure looks good —to the south edge of Mr. W's busy parcel, formerly the site of the much-missed Mannix Building. Yes, in Boonville a new sidewalk is newsworthy.

MOVING ON TO Philo, Tommy Lemons and sons are doing a total re-model of the Libby's Restaurant's former home, having literally raised the roof last week as the ancient structure expands upwards and outwards. Multi-skilled as they are, the Lemons boys are able to do all the work themselves, taking an occasional time out to bring back fresh sea produce to Lemons’ Market they catch far off the coast in their sea-going fishing boat home-ported at Noyo Harbor. The re-modeled Libby's will eventually re-open as a breakfast, lunch and dinner place.

CONTINUING northwest, driving cautiously toward Navarro on Highway 128, now a kind of speedway for cars engineered to go 150 miles an hour, all the better to get them faster and faster to the seaside spas of the Mendocino Coast, the pig writing this, disoriented at the gradual transformation of the Anderson Valley to twenty miles of something else, maybe a linear Healdsburg, passes the consensus best restaurant in Mendocino County, the Bewildered Pig, which this oinker hasn't yet managed to sample, being a more food-as-fuel kind of porker than gourmet.

AT THE AMAZING Dave Evan's Navarro Store, the lively and gifted anecdotalist, Guy Kephart, is on the barbecue grill, and you're missing a sure bet for great eating and story-swapping if you haven't met Guy and downed his done-to-perfection "meat to the heat."

YORKVILLE at the Frisco end of The Valley? A mandatory stop created by Lisa Walsh at the Yorkville Market where she has put the ville back in Yorkville and where the busy young mom and her unfailingly pleasant crew preside over a multi-faceted little restaurant and wine bar where I stop twice a week (at a minimum) to grab a bag of the best oatmeal cookies since grandma's. The cookies are a bona fide Anderson Valley legacy baked item, right up there with the late Ruby Hulbert's pies. Yorkville native Sue Marcott, daughter of the legendary Leo, revived the cookie recipe in Home Ec classes at Anderson Valley High School several decades ago as taught by the irreplaceable Gloria Ross. Sue, incidentally, is also a talented musician, and I promise you her oatmeal cookies will definitely get you dancing. As will the Yorkville Market. The Anderson Valley is a' changin'.

ASSUMING IT’S POSSIBLE to come up with a better regulatory regime for pot and wine that wouldn’t cost so much, wouldn’t create a huge black market, wouldn't outrage all persons unaffiliated with either industry, and would protect the environment into the bargain, come, let us reason together.

IN THE ENDLESS case of pot, the issue should have been turned over to an expanded version of the Alcoholic Beverage Control office. It’s not perfect, but the pot people can live with the same bureaucrats the wine people have been living with and at least you’d have standardized rules throughout the state without a bunch balkanized county staffers coming up with their own inconsistent, overlapping, conflicting, redundant rules and regs. (The County could deal with basic zoning questions as an input to ABC.)

THE WINE people whine a lot about how much they're regulated, especially water-regulated. And it’s true that it’s costly and paperwork-intensive with lawyers and consultants, etc. (The pot people are doing the same thing, but they’re not as experienced with it as the wine people.)

BUT ALL THE bureaucratic fol de rol could have been avoided if something like former State Water Board staffer Bruce Fodge’s idea had been accepted.

BACK IN THE EARLY 90s, Fodge came to Anderson Valley to deal with the initial complaints about the first big round of water appropriation permits from local wine moguls. The Water Board at first wanted the grape growers to jointly finance an EIR to make sure they protected the endangered salmon in the Navarro Watershed. (The fish, of course, are long gone.) It was estimated to cost about a quarter million dollars. The wine people, who include a slug of multi-millionaires, balked at the price tag. So Fodge said if the wine people would agree with a regimen which maintained minimum flows for fish, they could waive the EIR.

THIS WOULD INVOLVE four simple restrictions: 1. No pumping unless the Navarro gage was running over 200 cubic feet per second, pumping only during the “diversion season” (November through March), no pipes bigger than two inches in diameter, and gages on all pumps.

THE WINE PEOPLE didn’t like having any restrictions on them at all, so they balked, and now it’s every grower for him/herself and they have to pay through the nose — two grape growers we know have paid over $150k each just to get their appropriation permits filed, and they still don’t have final approval — individually, which is costing far more than the $250k.

FODGE'S idea would not have cost anything. Grape growers would only have to pay if they wanted more water than the Fodge system would have allowed, and there wouldn’t be anywhere near the rancor or expense that has ensued.

NOW WE HAVE SOMETHING like the same situation developing for pot legalization — balkanized rules subject to interpretation by each county bureaucracy where staff frequently turns over trying to apply a fluid set of mostly unenforceable regulations.

IN OTHER WORDS, business as usual in Mendoland.


COME TO EARTH! An Exhibition of AV High School students' projects in Engineering, Art, Robotics, Technology, Humanities on Thursday June 1st from 4-6 on the Industrial Arts and Media Arts Complex behind the cafeteria. The culinary arts students are preparing appetizers and there are hands-on activities to try out!

ANNE FASHAUER WRITES: Off to Europe! I’ll be in Paris when you are reading this.  We’ll be traveling around Northern Europe for a couple of weeks, starting with a three day stint in Paris. I’ll send updates! Jimmy is holding down the office if you need any real estate help!

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