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Valley People (June 28, 2017)

JUDY WAGGONER’S large family and her numerous friends gathered at Navarro last Saturday to remember her. And everyone there began their memories of this remarkable woman with versions of, “She was the best-natured person I’ve ever known.” Judy’s sorrows were many, and came with years of painful, immobilizing illness, and yet none of us could remember a single angry word or so much as a hint of self-pity from her. And what a worker she was before she was waylaid by the diabetes that eventually killed her. Judy did everything from postmistressing the Navarro Post Office to house cleaning, and in between she was essential to the lives of her grandchildren from their infancy on. Raised as the only girl in a house of rambunctious male brothers and cousins, all of them wholly committed to sports, Judy also became a dominant athlete, starring in basketball and softball at Anderson Valley High School. Our family has always been fond of and close to the Waggoner-Summit families, who we met soon after arriving in Boonville in 1970. Judy, along with her formidable brothers, Ted and Mick, helped us ride herd on a consignment of — we’ll pause here to reach for the contemporary euphemism — “at risk youth,” aka budding criminals, while recalling that Judy could dead lift a juvenile delinquent as easily as we might pick up a pair of tennis shoes. As a model of grace under crushing travail this lady could not be beat. For many of us, for all us Andersons certainly, Judy’s passing is a death in the family.

ROSS MURRAY MEMORIAL SERVICE, July 1, 2017. Graveside Service at 11am at Evergreen Cemetery, AV Way, Boonville With Honor Salute by American Legion Post 385. Reception to follow at AV Senior Center/Vets Building. Sandwich platters provided. Please bring salad or dessert to share. For more info call Susan McClure at 895-3637.

CERT! We are sponsoring a free CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) class in Boonville on August 12, 19 & 26 at the Anderson Valley Fire Department (flyer attached). It is co-sponsored by the Office of Emergency Services for Mendocino County. It will run for three consecutive Saturdays from 8:30 – 5:30 pm.

The CERT training is an engaging way to learn disaster preparedness. It combines basic information with hands on activities and drills. You learn survival skills, rescuer safety, team work, fire safety and suppression, basic disaster medical operations and light search and rescue. It’s fire season – be ready!

Anyone interested in registering, or if they just want more information, they can call 462-1959. The classes are free. Mike Carter, our volunteer CERT Coordinator, will be teaching all three Saturdays.

DOGS in eating places. Matt Barnes of the truly excellent Bewildered Pig restaurant in Navarro weighs in: “The service dog — restaurant debate is an interesting one. As a fellow restaurant owner in AV I run into this a couple of times a week. As I understand the current CA laws, a pet owner need only say the words 'service dog', and we are compelled to allow the dog into the restaurant. I don’t judge the dog owner or speculate about their mental or physical conditions. I give the customer the benefit of the doubt. For all I know the service dog could be for a Veteran or assault victim with PTSD, and thus carrying scars not easily seen. I do try to quickly assess the dog’s behavior to determine if I should ask a follow-up question about the safety of other patrons. I’ve only felt compelled to do this a couple of times. I did have to ask a service dog owner to stop putting her dog on our back-support pillows once. I heard she tried to do that a couple years ago, but on our table instead of a bench. Given the list issues we’ve had with this particular dog owner over the years, I doubt her dog is actually a service dog, but again, not my place to challenge current CA law. Other than that we haven’t had any incidents with Patrons claiming their dogs are service dogs. What I find more interesting is why the issue often creates venomous responses from people whose dining or flying experiences weren’t adversely impacted by the presence of a ‘questionable’ service dog. (I’m in no way judging the General Store for their signage choices. Their experiences may be totally different; they have very different customer demographics and traffic patterns than we do. Besides with breakfast sandwiches as good as the one I had last week, I want to stay in their good graces.)”

MIKE DUNLAP on canines in the soup question: “Matt B. (and everyone else, too), 'Service Animal' rules (a title now limited to dogs only) allow establishment owners/operators to ask what service the dog provides. Also the rules specifically indicate that the service animal may not interfere with the operation of the enterprise or the other patrons. As for restaurants they are still not allowed in food prep areas. Therapy dogs, by the way, do not get the same privileges under the law.”

PRIOR TO 1967, when there were still standards of public behavior, blind people might appear with seeing eye dogs in stores and restaurants, and very few of them. But now, with “comfort dogs” taking the place of prayer beads, and millions of people driving around with stuffed animals, and much of America only a scream away from total meltdown, the solipsistic sectors of our wacky population now feel free to inflict themselves in many new ways, right down to hauling their animals with them into coffee shops and eating places.

EXCERPTED FROM the "Some Noise" Podcast, June 23, 2017. Producer/Host: Najib Aminy.

Najib Aminy: Mark Scaramella is a vocal opponent of the wine industry. In fact the Advertiser also has that reputation. To put it bluntly, it's a very polarizing newspaper. Whereas the credo for the New York Times is ‘All the news that's fit to print,’ and the Washington Post is about how democracy dies in darkness, the AVA, as it's known locally, ‘Hasta La Victoria Siempre,’ and, ‘Fanning the flames of discontent.’ Like grapevines in the valley, there is no shortage of discontent, at least in the Advertiser. Whether it is fact, fabricated, or hyperbole, it is part of the charm and character of the paper. But should you find yourself behind the crosshairs (sic) of the publisher and editor Bruce Anderson then it's hardly flattering and it's been known to flirt with being outright libelous. Sue me, Anderson will say, I don't have much money anyway. Go ahead.

HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, NAJIB: Fabricated? Citations, please. And I've never said, "Go ahead and sue me." When I make an error of fact I correct it, or lend the person making the correction all the space he needs to do it. What I have said is that my critics claim they don't sue me because I don't have any money. Or my critics say they don't sue me because my wealthy nephew will pay my legal bills. The true reason people don't sue is they are incorrect, haven’t been libeled, which a lawsuit would demonstrate to the world. It's annoying that this Najib kid casually libels me by suggesting I fabricate stories. The problem with John Cesano, and lots of people, is they are unable to separate fact from opinion. They read an opinion they don't like such as "The wine industry is a chemically-dependent, heavy-industrial, labor exploiting enterprise that does lots of damage to the environment," and someone like the blustery wine shill quoted below deliberately mistakes that opinion for "libel."

POLARIZING? Boo-Hoo, and what exactly does that silly term even mean? That we don’t climb into a hot tub with fifty pinot drinkers? The Press Democrat polarizes me, as does the New York Times.

John Cesano: "I don't read it anymore. Because I don't want to get angry. I just pretend it doesn't exist and do my job. I so wish we could work with them. I wish that they were responsible.”

POOR BABY. We’re all so happy you spare yourself the anguish.

Aminy: That’s John Cesano again, Executive Director of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.Cesano: "Sometimes it's jealousy based. Our wineries are diverse but they are visible. And a successful visible industry always will garner some jealousy among folks. They become a target. I think unfairly. I don't know if it's part of a larger cultural context but the world seems a little more angry today than it did yesterday.”Aminy: I guess my question to you is what is the core of what's driving that?”

Cesano: “I have no idea. Conflict sells papers. I think it's that simple. And manufactured conflict works just as well as genuine conflict. It's easier to — I guess it's easier to write lies than to do actual reporting. The AVA, as liberal as it is, is no different than the worst hate-mongering, right-wing conservative media outlet, propaganda arm, The very thing they hate is the exact thing they are.”

Aminy: “Scaramella has been known to stay much closer to the facts, though there's no second-guessing on where he stands.” … And so on.

GEEZ, such negativity from the spokesman for such a wonderful, much misunderstood industry!

I CONSIDERED driving down to Philo to slap this guy upside his cork, but wound up talking to him Monday morning. I asked him to give me an example of un-facts. He cited a blast from David Severn. I said that was an opinion piece. Wine Babble said it contained two errors of fact. Already bored, I said they will stay errors of fact unless you correct them without conceding that they were in fact errors. I said we’d be happy to print nice things about the wine industry, even though every other media already does that. (cf the Press Democrat) Cesano told me three nice things: The AV Winegrowers have given $2200 to the local school district’s educational foundation; they gave $20,000 to the Health Center; and $10,000 to the AV Housing Association.

WHICH is the least they can do, but without quibbling over industry parsimony, I’ll repeat what I’ve said various ways many times: There’s a difference in industry behavior and responsibility between the wine people who live here and who can be approached directly with complaints, and outside corporations and zillionaires whose only interest in the Anderson Valley is to exploit it.

AS A PERSONAL FRIEND of many of the pioneer AV wine growers — Deron Edmeades, Jed Steele, Tony Husch, Al Green, Michel Salgues (Roederer), and even, kinda, Mary Elke and John Scharffenberger, I happen to know that privately many of them agree with much of our criticism, little of which, by the way, is countered by the wine businesses who claim we libel them, preferring to whine privately about our coverage.

Ken Hurst And Ronnie Vaughan, Circa 1945, Boonville

COMMUNITY, definition of: A crazy guy turned up at Anderson Valley Market this morning. He was unnaturally animated, hopping up and down and babbling incoherently in front of the store. He wore half a bicyclist's outfit, his lower torso covered only by underwear. A Boonville man said he was waiting around to make sure the crazy guy didn't enter the store "and bother the ladies." When the old school guys are gone, who will be left to guarantee public safety with the cops forty-five minutes away over the hill.

SPEAKING OF COPS, our cop, deputy Craig Walker, with whom I enjoyed a brief chat at high school graduation last week, said he hoped to be off desk duty in Ukiah and back on patrol in The Valley inside “a coupla months.” I said other than that incompetent attempt to burglarize Steve Wood’s office in downtown Boonville last month, our “criminal element” seems to also be on the inactive list. The deputy, without elaborating, said there were “some things needing attention.” Deputy Walker, like the legendary Deputy Squires he has succeeded, manages, Argus-like, to see everything without being here.

ENJOYED my first post-Tom Towey lunch at The Buckhorn under new owners Jean and Tom Condon, and had the pleasure of a brief Howdy with Mr. Condon, an Army Reserve Master Sergeant just back from eight months in Kuwait and recently retired from the New York City Fire Department where he’d worked for 30 years. Tom and Jean previously owned a bar in Manhattan. They’re now running the Buckhorn with their daughter Jordana and her boyfriend Chris, known to some of us off their stints at the previous Buckhorn and at Lauren’s Restaurant. The place was humming and, from all reports, much appreciated by us local patrons.

THE PHILO MAN who piled into an AT&T truck a week ago Monday a little before 9am was driving a 1981 Volkswagen pick-up and traveling at a high rate of speed on 128 about at Indian Creek when he rear-ended an AT&T truck which had slowed for a fresh accident in front of him. The Philo man was airlifted outtahere by medi-chopper.

JUST IN. The 128 vic is Caleb Mileham. A gofundme page has been started for Mr. Mileham by Mary O’Brien. Mileham’s a young man with a wife and infant at home.

A JEHOVAH'S WITNESS appeared at my door one day with his apocalyptic lit. It was the same guy who refused to permit his high school-age daughter to intern with the ava on the grounds we would be a bad influence. Undoubtedly, dad, but beating a kid over the head with imminent global death all her youth would probably have acclimated her to anything she might read in the Boonville weekly or hear directly from the paper's alienated staffers.

WHAT WE couldn't help but notice in almost all our interns was their lack of elementary composition skills. It's clear that the basics aren't being taught. These are all smart kids who only had to be corrected once, but nobody at school had corrected them. Among the exceptions was a private school kid. (The other exceptions were young women who had gotten the reading habit, probably on their own.) He already wrote better than us, which we’ll concede is a low bar, but he'd been instructed all along his educational way. Short of isolating young people until about age 25 to inoculate them against the debilitating seductions of this depraved culture, and given the entropic reality of public ed, nothing in the way of pedagogical change is likely.

PETIT TETON is about six miles south of Boonville. It's a multi-faceted family farm and a heckuvan interesting little enterprise offering a wide variety of organic items produced on-site. Highly recommended, especially for families with little kids. Their monthly newsletter is always dependable for an inside look at what small scale farming is like:

Petit Teton Farm Report - May 2017 — A lot's been happening...most of it good if one keeps narrow focus on the farm. We just sold Aniyak, our two year old female yak, to a Buddhist nonprofit farm down the coast from us near Stewart's Point, and her transfer went smoothly thanks to Juan's thoughtful expertise. She will have a good life munching grass alongside a gelded male they own. Our newest yak baby, now 6 months old, is soon to be transferred in with her sister, Sisa, her gelded brother, Oppai, and our dinner cow, Vaca, to graze a 5 acre swath alongside Hwy 128. They are herd animals and get along well once they establish a "pecking order" (a "grunting order"?). People like to stop and take photos of the "horned hippy cows".

Our squab is a hit with people who know it and it sells very quickly. King pigeons mate for life and live to breed. We have raised 10 pair and may do more in the future. They are large, pure white and lovely with red rimmed eyes. While the females sit on the nest, the males spend their days courting, cooing, and parading in front of the mirror we put in their quarters. They do switch roles on occasion ;>) Their cage is large and double wired top to ground to keep out critters and sparrows who were getting in to eat the very pricey seed the pigeons require. It is harder to keep out snakes; we once found a gopher snake gorging on a baby on the floor of the coop. Most of the time there are one or two babies in each nest. Since they are processed at 4 weeks of age that means the adults are always busy laying more eggs. A lot of eggs are abandoned for unknown reasons and it often looks as though they've been playing kick ball with them!

On other bird fronts, we were amazed to learn, by counting (duh) that we have, not 100 chickens, but 160! So our oldest are being sold for the stew pot. They're tough birds as a result of all their years of running around up and down hills, but they make the best soup stock. The meat is very flavorful, and if pulled off the bones once it's been boiled for a few hours it makes great salads, tostadas, fried rice, casseroles, and etc. It is nothing like the mushy stuff you buy in most grocery stores.

Welcome to summer - another "hottest on record" perhaps. Record or not, we do know it will be hot, and according to some it's all a figment of your imagination...or is it god's retribution? It couldn't be our lack of self-control could it? We do know it's not going to be pretty and will probably get uglier so take care of yourselves and your piece of this earth. — Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Kreig

IT REACHED 102 IN THE SHADE in Boonville last Thursday. And was higher than that out in the Yorkville direction. 110 in Ukiah where a hot day somehow seems to double down in wrap-around ghastliness. Winds were at or near zero. Some reports even had Fort Bragg around an amazing 90 for Thursday. Temps are supposed to gradually return to more normal 80s for highs in Anderson Valley over the next few days with corresponding reductions in other areas of the County.

Navarro River, June 22, 2017

DAVE SEVERN'S ON THE CASE! Supervisor John McCowen called: “I am told a ‘roll of shag carpet’ is impeding salmonid passage at the confluence of Anderson Creek and the Navarro. I am told this is the location of a popular swimming hole. Do you know if the immediate area of the confluence is accessible by vehicle? I am hoping to help coordinate removal of the obstruction. Thank you.”

SEVERN: “There is a somewhat precarious road on what used to be called Shenoa but is now The Land run by female orgasm people. They are nice but there is a combo-ed gate. I go to the spot you refer to often but not in the last two weeks. Back then there was a group of campers with at least five kids hanging out. I didn't bother them but Anderson Creek seemed to be flowing fine at the time. It is not a popular swimming hole, though Goldeneye Winery gives access through their vineyard to employees. River goers, especially the kids, like to dam the flow to make deeper pools. They usually just use rocks. I'll check it out and deal with whatever I find. I'll let you know what's up.”

SEVERN AGAIN, POST-INVESTIGATION: ”You must have gotten your report from an airplane view. I'm surprised it didn't report a green shag rug.

It is an historical fact that Anderson Creek suffers massive summer algae from nutrient run-off compliments from the invasive wine industry.

At the confluence of Anderson and Rancheria Creeks, where it opens up to more sun light, algae blooms are prolific. That is apparently what someone thought was a rug. I've attached photos to show the algae, which can be viewed on-line at

AND THE LATEST report is that the biologist did not see the carpet in the stream but heard about it from a friend.

THE FRIEND was probably a bright lighter in town for the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival....even so, how stoned must you be to confuse strings of algae with shag carpeting?

SUPERVISOR McCOWEN sent along his thanks and added a gratuitous plug for MSWMA (Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority), which neither manages solid waste nor has authority, being another of the endless alphabet soup of local agencies that function mainly to provide good paying jobs for the people who run them:

"Thanks to Dave Severn for a quick and comprehensive response. I got a call from a Fish and Wildlife warden who had gotten a call from a local citizen, who was described to me as a retired biologist, reporting the non-existent shag carpet. I'm glad it was a false alarm but it’s a bit of a concern that a biologist mistook an algae bloom for a shag carpet! I had already contacted Louisa Morris, General Manager of MSWMA, to arrange for cleanup, but wanted to get an idea of the access. When I spoke to Louisa she immediately agreed that MSWMA could handle it, and without knowing the access conditions, she said they would deal with it no matter what. I know you like to take shots at MSWMA, but our creeks and roadsides would be a lot dirtier without them.

“MSWMA was formed in 1990 by the County and the cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits and provides countywide services more efficiently and cost effectively than the individual jurisdictions could do on their own. MSWMA is funded by grants that it obtains and by a surcharge on each ton of solid waste generated in the county. MSWMA was instrumental in starting local recycling programs and specializes in household hazardous waste collection, including the Hazmobile which holds regular collections around the county. MSWMA also obtains state grants to fund free tire recycling events countywide.

“AND GETTING BACK to the algae masquerading as shag carpet, if there had been a carpet in the creek, MSWMA would have removed it and disposed of it at no additional charge. Since 1992 MSWMA has taken on the task of cleaning up illegal roadside dumps, including several locations off Mountain View Road and many others around the county where thoughtless people have not just illegally dumped garbage, furniture, and appliances, but have gone out of their way to dump it down steep hillsides, sometimes winding up in the creek. In many cases, if MSWMA were not cleaning up illegal dump sites they would not be getting cleaned up at all. MSWMA also participates in most of the organized cleanups that take place around the county, either by sending a crew, picking up the trash, paying for disposal or all of the above.

“FINALLY, MSWMA provides independent analysis and oversight of many of the solid waste franchise contracts that local jurisdictions have with private companies that have been granted monopolies in the areas in which they operate. In most cases, without MSWMA, there would be no effective counterbalance to the private companies who naturally seek to increase their profits at the expense of the ratepayers.

“PS: You probably know that Ms. Morris has now given notice (for the second time) and MSWMA is in search of a new General Manager.”

A READER sent along an AirB&B ad link this morning. I wondered at the relevance but opened it anyway to find my old house on Anderson Valley Way for rent at $450 a night. Twenty or so burble-gushing commenters said they were delighted with the accommodations. The place now has a hot tub, which we were and are politically opposed to, not that hot tubs occasionally didn't visit, if you get my drift. The interior of this $450-a-night made-over tract house has been blanded wayyyyyy down, with corporate art on the walls and furniture that looks like it came out of a dentist's office.

WE WERE STRICTLY garage sale decor when we lived there for forty years but, overall, I think the place was at least interesting, intriguing even, to the discerning visitor although, truth to tell, we got the periodic, overheard exclamation, "Jayzus, look at all this crap!" The late Charmian Blattner routinely talked to the lady mannequin at the door until she was re-directed to a human-type person. And there was the time… Well, let’s say few homes its size saw what that home saw.

WHO OWNS IT NOW? I don't know them. Absentees. I tried to buy the old homestead back but got out-bid. Someone told me "Irish yuppies." I didn't know there was such a thing. But these present Irish owners of 12451 might be interested in knowing that Pol Brennan, an IRA man, was a frequent visitor. And he was hardly the only person on the FBI's Watch List welcomed onto the premises. These motel-size rooms once rang with sedition!

I'M GOING to save up and buy a night in my old house and invite all the people who used to live there for a full day of rue and lamentations that our old home has come to this.

AIR B&B'S local geography is also way off. A lot of the places they have listed for this area, of which there are well over a hundred in the Anderson Valley from Yorkville to Navarro, are misplaced. Some of the Yorkville spas are actually in Cloverdale, and another Yorkville retreat is on the Boonville-Ukiah Road. The whole show is sold as "wine country." All these Air B&B places are supposed to be registered with the County and pay their fair share of the bed tax, but who's looking, let alone counting?

SO, IT'S A HUNDRED DEGREES in the Anderson Valley one day last week and the Roederer Winery is running their sprinklers all afternoon on a quarter mile of vineyard, the water dying in the sun before it gets to the vines, water extravagance in a valley whose streams need every drop.

BILL ALLEN OF PHILO wondered at this public-private partnership: “This morning I stopped by Blue Meadow Farm to pick up a tool Roy Laird had repaired for me. At the beginning of Holmes Ranch Road a CalFire crew was clearing brush along the road side. CalFire? Clearing brush? On a private road? I asked Roy (who's a Captain in the AV Fire Dept.) about it and he said it's some kind of PR stunt to mollify peoples' anger about that annual CalFire fee, probably thought up "by some mid-level manager." Apparently the rank & file firefighters have been getting a lot of flak from the public about the fee. But here's the rub: Laird said CalFire's annual budget was cut in approximate proportion to the estimated revenue from the new fee. If true, that means CalFire's net budgetary gain from the fee is $0. Seems like yet another legislative scam…a stealth tax designed to fatten state coffers without public input (just like the lottery scheme.)


Good afternoon Bill,

I was forwarded an email from Anderson Valley Fire Chief Avila in regards to some questions or concerns about our recent work on the Holmes Ranch Road. My hope is to answer any questions you may have and to also explain the history and scope of the project.

The project was identified a couple of years ago by Chief Avila and myself as an area that would greatly benefit from some fuels reduction work for many reasons. Some of these reasons include:

Creation of a fuel break in a strategic location as well as a potential fire control line.

Fuel reduction near structures or assets at risk from wildfire.

Removal of dead and dying material as well as removal of ladder fuels along roadways.

Vegetation modification along roadways which provides safer ingress/egress for emergency personnel or evacuation purposes.

The Holmes Ranch project is one of several that were identified within Anderson Valley. Other projects that are still being considered are portions of Rancho Navarro, Nash Mill and the Yorkville Highlands.

Prior to starting any project, there are several layers of review and boxes to check to ensure we are complying with all rules and regulations. These include environmental review, mapping, type of work to be performed and how it will be accomplished, landowner permission, project scope, financial requirements, duration, etc.

The Holmes Ranch project has been funded through the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fee (SRAFPF) program for the last 2 years. Each year, our local Unit (MEU) submits project funding requests to Sacramento for approval. These projects are identified county wide and have gone through the review process as stated above (they are shovel ready so to speak). If approved, funds are allocated to our Unit (MEU) based on the number of SRA fee payers paid within our respective County. This last fiscal year, funds were allocated for Holmes Ranch and a fuels reduction project in Brooktrails.

From our perspective, we have been very diligent in our focus of completing this project while always taking into consideration each homeowners concern or feedback. For the most part, everything has been extremely positive with minimal issues. We are working within the parameters of the road association and frequently adjust based on terrain, fuel types or other infrastructure/improvements.

I can assure you that this project is not intended as a PR stunt. We are also not attempting to mollify anger that may have been created by the fee. While we can't always avoid some of these scenarios, we address them to the best of our ability and offer any assistance possible.

The Holmes Ranch project is an actual example of how some of these funds are coming back to our community and being utilized for important projects. We were funded for the Rancho Navarro project also but winter took its toll on their road infrastructure and precluded us from performing any work.

This may be more information than you were looking for but I feel it's important to explain the history of how this was developed. CAL FIRE has recently taken an aggressive approach towards fuels reduction and the Vegetation Management Program (VMP). We will be actively seeking new projects within the Valley which will help reduce the risk of wildfire to SRA lands, habitable structures or community infrastructure. Please feel free to offer any ideas or thoughts on additional locations or potential projects.

I hope this helps with some of your questions. If you would like to discuss anything further, please don't hesitate to give a call, send an email or stop by the local CAL FIRE facility.

Thank you,

Jeff Schlafer, Boonville Battalion Chief

One Comment

  1. Matt B June 29, 2017

    Couple of things regarding dogs and dining… 1. I own Stone & Embers, not The Bewildered Pig.
    2. Regarding the response by Mr Dunlap…What value would it be for me to question and make a judgement call on the medical reason someone has a service dog? Let’s say I get it wrong, disallow a service dog, and it turns out to be for a legitimate situation. The storm of negative reviews on Yelp alone is reason enough just to smile and say “welcome to you and your dog.”

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