Valley People (Sep. 27, 2017)

NORM CLOW WRITES: This photo is the dedication page of our senior year, 1968 AVHS annual, wherein our first-year librarian was not only the advisor but also the dedicatee. Gloria [Rhoades] is a shirt-tail relative through the Greenwood Road branch of the Clows via the Berry line, and also related to Ruth [Norm's wife] by marriage via the same connection. Absolutely wonderful lady and she is missed by many.

Not to belabor the story, but 18 years earlier, before taking the helm as Annual advisor, Gloria was on the 1949-50 AVHS Annual (Argus) staff as a student: third from right in back row. The circle of life. I realized I left a line out of my earlier message: while Ruth and I can both claim a Clow-Berry-Valenti line kinship, it would be fair to say that Gloria was a part of everybody’s family between Anderson Valley and Elk, or wherever she happened to touch. Austin [Norm's son] is visiting her granddaughter Andrea this week.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY, parts of it anyway, are featured in the October edition of Sunset Magazine. The piece, accompanied by color photos in which some of our fairest damsels dominate, is called “Mendocino Farm Getaways.”

THREE LONG-TIME members of the Anderson Valley Lion’s Club have been de-fanged. One was given the bounce, two quit in solidarity with the bounced, all of which has got to be a first for the local service group. Who gets kicked out of the Lion’s Club? Is it even possible?

RAVE REVIEWS from everyone who attended last week’s Grange concert by violin and cello master, Gabriella Frank. I’m kicking myself for missing it, and certainly won’t miss the next one.

IN THE DISCUSSION following the Grange Hall screening of Anderson Valley's own Jesse Wakeman's film "Donald Cried" I sat silent because I didn't feel I had anything to say. While I did watch the movie, because of bad hearing and a somewhat muffled PA system I had heard practically none of the dialog. But I still have something to say.

FIRST would be that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie even though I got little of the funny stuff of which there was obviously plenty throughout because of the constant laughter and titters from the rest of the audience — enough that I suspect the movie might be a comedy. I did find it humorous, though more subtly so. My experience I attribute both to the precision of the acting and a crispness to the screenplay that gave focus to an otherwise for me muted experience. Refreshingly it wasn't a movie packed with undertones of stirring meaning. Rather it was a believable and humorous vignette that had me at times identifying with and cringing at each of the two personality divergent protagonists brought together by the return of one, after many years, to his youthful home town to straighten out the affairs of his just-passed mother. (Actually I find out later it's his grandmother.) Peter was austere and mufflered and needed help as his wallet was lost (Took me a while to figure this out) and his car wouldn't start. He finds this help in an old friend Donald who is still living in the house just across the street from grandma. Donald is socially exorbitant — over the top in every way and probably because of this, deeply in need of a friend. Both characters were utterly believable. Oh what a delightful romp the two had and the surprises that unfold.

MY ONLY CRITICISM might have been found in the name of the movie "Donald Cried" for it set up in me a tension, an expectation (a mutter of dread) that was not fulfilled in the movie itself. But as I write this I realize a quiet pathos blushing Donald's need was present and the tears not shone on camera were silently in his heart as Peter walked into the bus or train terminal that would whisk Donald's (only?) friend away. Low budget certainly but not low quality - missing but not missed was the surreal gloss of a Hollywood production. Written by Mt. View Rd. resident Jesse Wakeman and another Anderson Valley homeboy Kyle Espeleta. Directed by their buddy Kris Avedisian. Jesse played Peter, Kris Donald, Kyle had a cameo part. I apologize to those of you that feel it isn't fair of me to review a movie that I haven't heard. It's just that I found brilliance and bravura in the silence. Available on Netflix. You should watch it. (David Severn)

ACE BOONVILLE GARDENER, Lucille Estes, tells me that peonies do very well in the Anderson Valley. “They just aren’t on offer at local nurseries much,” she says, before reminiscing about two tree peonies she has seen in Boonville, one behind “a vacant little house” in SoBo, the other somewhere on the Johnson Ranch. Lucille, and no surprise here, has a back yard full of this most beautiful flower, a glimpse of which just might put you off dahlias forever, not that both aren’t high on this incompetent gardener’s most preferred list.

I’LL CONFESS to being highly skeptical of plans to create a water and sewer system for Boonville. I just don’t see many property owners cooperating. Me? Whatever, as the young people say. If my neighbors want it, count me in, although my place is blessed with a copious supply of water so utterly without contaminants I burst into song every time I turn on the tap. Sewage disposal? A state-of-the-art commercial system was here when I bought the place. I don’t need a water and sewage system, but… But here comes a spiffy post card embossed with a very cool, R. Crumb-inspired graphic of a water tap on it, and right behind it here’s a return receipt letter with five bucks postage on it, both from our Community Services District, all of it telling me that the systems are the next thing to inevitable.

SHOULDA SET THE ALARM, BOYS: Last Thursday, a little after 1pm, deputies were called out to a possible burglary in progress in the 18000 block of Hutsell Road, Boonville. A cleaning lady had arrived at a vacation rental where she found “a white Ford Mustang at the location and a small group of young Hispanic males.” She called the owner who called the Sheriff's Office. Deputies soon discovered four young home invaders who had “gone through drawers and cabinets, opened storage sheds, drank the owner's alcoholic beverages, bottled water, and had eaten the food they’d found, charged their cell phones, iPads, watched TV, set up their gaming system to play video games.” The young men had been in the home since about 2am. They’d slept in the posh, bower-like beds, rising late to enjoy long showers and “the owner's towels.” The boys “also had done their laundry at the location, and their clothes were located in the dryer.” Juan Rebolla-Medina, 19, of Philo, the apparent host and lead invader “was found to have possession of metal knuckles attached to a folding knife.” All four subjects were arrested for burglary and conspiracy. (Conspiracy to do what? Pass themselves off as Air B&B people? The brass knucks were a dead giveaway.) Rebolla-Medina is being held at the Mendocino County Jail on $50,000 bail. The three juveniles were transported to the Mendocino County Juvenile Detention Center.

A HOUSE FIRE last Thursday night broke out in the attic of a building on The Land, as the property on the Navarro River is now called. It prompted a major turnout of Boonville's firefighting capacity to the deep end of Ray's Road, Philo. The fast response to the blaze apparently confined it to the upper story of one of the buildings on the place. Chief Avila said the prompt action of both residents and firefighters had saved the structure from further damage. No word yet on cause.

“THE LAND’S” PROPERTY began its human life as a ranch, then it became a summer camp, than an “intentional community” called Shenoa, then a billionaire’s “retreat center” owned by Jeffrey Skoll, a youngish eBay tycoon. Skoll, perhaps having found more convenient locales to retreat to, sold the property for somewhere around $6 million.

THE BUYERS? Orgasmic Meditation, aka One Taste, a business “researching and teaching the practices of orgasmic meditation and slow sex….” Founded in San Francisco (where else?) by orgasmic meditators Robert Kandell and Nicole Daedone, the clever couple has parlayed biological imperative into a kind of high-end hoochie-koochie center.

THE ORGASMICS now arrive in Philo in droves, many of them traveling in charter buses from the Bay Area and paying lots and lots to orgasmically meditate, which seems to me some pretty darn tricky multi-tasking, but I guess that’s why you need lessons.

NATHAN DELMER of Mountain View Road, Boonville, is the first local to apply for a County pot growing permit in Anderson Valley. Delmer seeks approval for a 10,000 square-foot pot garden on a parcel owned by Albert Williams of Berkeley. Delmer wants to expand an existing grow site at 23000 Mountain View Road under the name “Redwood Heritage Inc.” to a maximum of 10,000 square feet (the max allowed by Mendo). His application (AP_2017-0035) says that he might build a processing structure for curing and drying on site at some point, but if not he will contract with a licensed off-site processor.

ALSO APPLYING FOR AN ANDERSON VALLEY pot grow is William Gawthrop who wants to install a similar sized up-to-10k square-foot pot garden a couple of miles north of Yorkville. Gawthrop’s application appears to involve only a grow site. No mention of any processing facilities at the Gawthrop Grow.

JUST IN: Anderson Valley 70, Roseland Collegiate Prep 28. The Panthers journey to Laytonville this Friday, kick-off at 6pm.

THE UPGRADE of the Philo-Greenwood Bridge is based on the arch design the community saw when it was first proposed three years ago. The design has been approved by all the relevant agencies and may begin construction as early as Spring of 2020.

LAST WEDNESDAY NIGHT at the Philo Grange, the engineers from Quincy Engineering in Sacramento updated some 40 locals. The graceful concrete arch, which now holds up the Philo Greenwood Bridge over the Navarro near Hendy Woods State Park, will be retained, reinforced and widened as initially proposed. If approvals are received in a reasonably timely manner, the project will get underway with Phase I in the Spring of 2020.

PHASE ONE will involve the installation of an arched segment beside the existing bridge while traffic is routed over the unaffected lane. Phase II, the following spring, will connect the new half to the existing half. The original bridge, which dates back to the mid-1950s, was installed at a point in the river where there’s solid bedrock on both sides, convenient supports for he widened bridge structure.

THE PRESENTATION met with few formal questions other than Kathy Bailey’s inquiry about parking for people enjoying the swimming hole who customarily park north of the bridge. The engineers replied that the shoulders on both sides of the bridge should provide at least as much parking as there is now, but that all such questions can be addressed when the draft Environmental Impact Report is circulated for comment. County Transportation Director Howard Deshield said that there will be a few short periods (a day or two at a time) when the road will have to be closed during construction but these closures will be well advertised in advance.

TONIGHT, (Wednesday, September 27) at 5pm, a second presentation from the same engineering outfit, is scheduled at the Grange to discuss the Lambert Lane Bridge over Robinson Creek near the center of Boonville. It suffered storm damage in 2015-16 and again in 2016-17. A large section of the bridge support on the Boonville side was washed away after being scoured and undermined by heavy flows. Emergency rip-rap installed by the County’s road crew has held up nicely so far. After last Wednesday’s presentation at the Grange, the Quincy Engineers indicated that something much larger than the present support structure over Robinson Creek will have to be installed at the tight curve in the creek where the old bridge’s support was. It will be interesting to see what the designers have in mind tonight.

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