Valley People (Oct. 4, 2017)

A PUBLIC SCOPING SESSION on the planning and engineering for a downtown Boonville sewer system will be conducted next Thursday, October 12 at 7pm in the Dining Hall at the County Fairgrounds. The engineers from the Sonoma County outfit preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Report will present preliminary plans and alternative designs and take input from the public on ways to deal with environmental impacts of the possible project should it be approved by property owners in the Boonville “service area,” basically from the Highway 128/253 junction to the Airport. For more information contact Anderson Valley CSD General Manager Joy Andrews at: 895-2075 or email:

FIRE CHIEF AVILA tells us that there was a “small vegetation fire behind the railcars in Boonville Saturday evening between 7-8pm. It was kept to less than a quarter acre with no property loss or damage. The juveniles who started it have been contacted and referred to the appropriate authorities. At about the same time there was a medical aid on Ornbaun Lane with a chopper that landed at the Airport for transport. Later that evening an SUV caught fire on Whipple Ridge, which extended to about half an acre nearby. But the weather was cool and wind was light so it was kept small.”

SPEAKING of fire hazards, it’s absolutely mystifying why the estate of the late Mike Shapiro will not permit the family of Shorty Adams to clear up the brush behind Shorty’s place. That vegetation build-up, which spills over Shorty’s back fence, presents a clear and present fire hazard. If juvenile fire bugs set it on fire when the winds are up in the afternoon, it could wipe out not only Shorty’s house but the entire east side of Boonville, from the junction of 128 and Mountain View all the way to Pic ’N Pay. The Adams’ will clear it out for free, and do a thoroughly neat job into the bargain. A petition to our local fire department and CalFire is circulating to get ‘er done with or without the permission of the property owner.

A JUSTLY PROUD Adrian Maldonado, coach of the AV boys’ soccer team, tells us that his diminished squad was still able to beat Tomales in Tomales, 2-0 “with only 9 players due to lack of drivers to legally haul the rest of the team.” The coach must have had to launch into full triage mode to decide who would get on the bus, who would have to stay home. Worse, “We played the last 20 mins of the game with only 8 player due to injury,” it was, the coach says, “a very impressive team effort by the boys. To put it in perspective, Roseland, who is leading the our league right now, only beat Tomales 3-1 with a full squad. Our record is 10-1-2, and we have 3 home games this week (M W F).”

THAT WAS FUTBOL. In the other football last Friday night, the AV varsity football team lost to Laytonville in Laytonville by a score of 58-36. Upcoming: Anderson Valley vs. Upper Lake, Friday, Oct 6 at 7:00 PM in Upper Lake.

CALEB SILVER, 26, has rejected an offer from the DA of 15-to-life for his presumed murder of Dennis Boardman. Silver has opted for trial. Jury selection begins this week, testimony may begin as early as October 10.

SILVER was arrested near Ventura a year ago in April and brought back to Mendocino County where he has since been held in the County Jail, unable to post bail. He is also being held for several felony burglaries along the Mendocino Coast and in Lake County.

BOARDMAN, 40 years Silver's senior, had lived in Boonville for many years on the same properties as Silver when Silver was a child. After many years as a hopelessly impaired alcoholic, "Dennis," as we all knew him, had been sober for nearly ten years when he was found bludgeoned to death in his Fort Bragg home on January 2nd of 2016. He was 67.

CALEB SILVER was soon identified as "a person of interest." He had been staying with Dennis in Dennis's modest Fort Bragg home. When Dennis's truck, with its distinctive handcrafted camper, was found abandoned in Carpenteria within two weeks of the popular Fort Bragg man's death, Silver was arrested in nearby Ventura soon after.

TIM STOEN is prosecuting the case. Eric Rennert of the Public Defender’s Office is representing Silver.

IT IS STOEN’S contention that Silver had waited for Boardman — a vigorous man in his sixties still quite capable of defending himself — to fall asleep before bashing in his head with a hammer.

ALICE CHOUTEAU WRITES: “RE: the Boardman murder – Dennis Boardman, having been homeless during his drinking days, tried to help out and shelter some of the FB transients, including Caleb Silver. In the months before he was viciously killed, the Fort Bragg Police Department admitted they had received numerous phone calls from neighbors of concern and complaints about the situation at Boardman’s home. Which were ignored before it was too late. Boardman had cancer BTW, and was weak and fairly helpless. A quicker response from the PD might possibly have saved his life. Tragic.”

WEDNESDAY NIGHT, the Quincy Engineering reps out of Sacramento described what they said were the three main options for replacing the storm-damaged Lambert Lane bridge over Robinson Creek near downtown Boonville. The original bridge was raised over the creek in 1954, and its concrete abutments battered every winter since. In the 2015-16 winter the heavy rains undercut much of the second sharp turn under the bridge and then in 2016-17 more heavy rain toppled the large retaining wall on the south side of the bridge. One option would be to try to replace the relatively small existing bridge more or less in place. Another would be to move the bridge downstream a bit and replace it with a longer one to cover the wider span at that point in the creek. And the third would be an even bigger bridge with an entire new superstructure under the replaced roadway. All three options would include some streambed recontouring to reduce the two steep near-90 degree turns in the already narrow channel which speeds up high water to the point that it “scours” the support structure over time, causing it to erode and crumble as anyone walking by can plainly see. All three options involve an estimated four month construction period during which time some kind of detour will be necessary, perhaps through the Fairgrounds, perhaps with a temporary summer-only small bridge down in the streambed, or perhaps one half/one-lane of a newly widened larger bridge. Of the three options, the engineers seem to preliminarily prefer the second option with the temporary streambed detour. Questions from the public involved the extent to which construction would interfere with fair activities and parking during the larger events, what kind of emergency vehicle access would be accommodated, what consideration would be given to fish passage during and after construction, and the cost, estimated to be several million depending on which option is ultimately selected. All three options also involved road improvements on both sides of the approaches to the bridge. Questions or comments can be addressed to Howard Deshield, the County’s Transportation Director.

THE WINE INDUSTRY, via its stenographers at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, is celebrating a Wine Institute-funded “study” by John Dunham & Associates out of New York that claims the industry “pumps” $220 billion a year into the US economy from more than 10,000 wineries supplied by 680,000 acres of vineyard, 85% of the largesse flowing from California.

BUT THE STUDY’S CLAIM that “The wine industry supports 1.74 million American jobs” sounds fishy. We went to the site where they said they provided their “methodology,” but the link to the “methodology” was (surprise!) dead.

HOWEVER, the 2015 version of the original study claims that the wine industry produced 786,000 “full-time equivalent” jobs. But here we are based on 2016 data, one year’s study later, and the “full-time equivalent” number has magically risen to 1.74 million?

MOST of the wine industry’s employees are either seasonal or part-time, so the “full-time equivalent” number doesn’t reflect anything like the reality. The 2015 study also says the industry paid $17.2 billion in wages. So if we use the 2015 employment numbers that’s $17.2 billion for 786,000 “full time equivalent” jobs which calculates to an average of about $22k per year, an easily calculated number they don’t bother to mention in any of their reports.

ASSUMING that the $22k is the mean, not the median, and that the median is well south of $22k, we see that the wine industry pays poverty wages to most of its part-time and seasonal workers.

THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL for a family of four in California is about $24k/year. Most of those part-time and seasonal wine jobs come with very few if any benefits. The workers’ families qualify for huge poverty subsidies direct and indirect (medical care, housing, food, etc.) which are conveniently not factored into the billions that the wine industry “pumps” into the economy. Locally, that translates to most of the kids in AV qualifying for free school lunches, and most of those kids are the sons and daughters of the local wine industry’s underpaid workers. Local health care is provided by the Anderson Valley Health Center, much of it free to farm labor, none of it subsidized by the wine industry. The Anderson Valley Housing Association deploys federal housing grants to build and rent low cost housing to single vineyard workers and small families. And the local school system provides free education — some might say free childcare in the higher grades — to those same local children. The wine industry serves nicely as Exhibit A of the old saw, “Socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the poor.”

THE STATE'S educational scores are in. Asian-Americans and, of course, wealthier students of whatever race test out much higher than low income young people, especially low income black and hispanic kids.

NOW WHAT? Sea-to-sea handwringing by the edu-establishment with no mention, or even recognition of, the class nature of American society which creates the social-psycho-economic circumstances that make it virtually impossible for the children of the poor to do well in school, as those schools are presently constituted in a class-based society.

THE EDU-ESTABLISHMENT is already issuing their usual disclaimer that the tests "don't take into account the broader metric" and so on, all of it boiling down to, "Give us more money and we'll do gooder. Er, more better?"

ANYONE ATTENDING a meeting of the Mendocino County School Board is certain to come away vowing, "By the goddess, if these people are going to teach their funding units, aka ‘the kids,’ to become dedicated NPR listeners we just better get a lot more money to them. Pronto!”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOLS remain well below the 50th percentile in math and English, but tested out a little better in the basics than last year.

FACT IS, except for some wealthy suburbs where there's parental pressure on the edu-mob to maintain at least a facsimile of standards, the wealthy have abandoned the public schools, and are trying to abandon them even more completely via publicly-funded charter schools for the less wealthy.

NOT TO LAUNCH into a prolonged rant about what's wrong with the public schools, but there are many ways to improve them that wouldn't cost any money, every one of them certain to be resisted by the edu-blob.

WHEN MY CHILDREN were wending their disinterested ways through the Boonville schools, my wife and I did what a lot of young parents still do — our own tutorials, reading material selected to the kid's interests, correspondence courses, and a standing house rule: "You don't have to go to school if you don't want to, but if you don't want to you'll be reading for at least four hours here at home. And working when you aren't reading." They usually went to school.

THIS GUY calls up the other day to ask if we'd promote a forthcoming "clean and sober concert" at the Boonville Fairgrounds. I promised him I would, and told him I'd wear a clean shirt into the bargain. The Fairgrounds has the event on their billboard for a coupla weeks hence, but so far that's all we know about it.

SELDOM good news on the scanner. Last night (Tuesday) a little before 10, we learned that there was a possible suicide in Yorkville. A few minutes later came the terse report, "Confirmed 11-44 (deceased)." Yorkville is a large area. The suicide had occurred in the vicinity of mile sign post 43, which translates as not far from the Yorkville Market. The name of the deceased has not been released.

THE HEF IS GONE. Best send-off I saw was "HUGH HEFNER DEAD AT 91. BREAST IN PEACE." Even as a kid it occurred to me that Playboy managed to make nude women boring. Hef himself, and his "playboy philosophy," was beyond silly, but he was a strong free speech guy, and some of the interviews in Playboy, and an occasional short story, always made the magazine worth a look.

Donna Michelle (Ronne)

THE LOCAL ANGLE: Donna Ronne, a former centerfold and Playmate of the Year, became a long-time resident of the Anderson Valley at the Holmes Ranch until her unexpected death from a heart attack. A dedicated horse person, Ms. R was lively company, and an inexhaustible source of really good jokes. She wouldn't talk, at least to me, about her experience with Playboy, but she seemed to have emerged from it in robust psychological health.

TWO BOONVILLE BUSINESSES are looking for employees, but when it's trim time in the Emerald Triangle why work for $15 an hour when you can make $30 preparing Mendocino County's primary ag product for export?


Saturday, October 14th at 6:00 PM

The Shed in Boonville (Behind Paysanne Ice Cream Shop)

An evening of great food, farmers & community. And a Pie Auction!

Pie bakers needed, great opportunity to show off your pie baking skills! (featuring local ingredients). BYO beverages to share! $25 donation.

END OF LIFE PLANNING: On Sunday, October 8 at 4pm, the AV Village group has invited Maggie Watson, author of “A Graceful Farewell: Putting Your Affairs in Order,” to discuss positive ways to prepare for the end of your life, regarding finances, health, and after death in a mini-workshop format. The presentation will be held at the AV Senior Center, 14470 Highway 128, Boonville. Ms. Watson is a private fiduciary. “Using her book, Ms. Watson will touch on the reasons why one’s life that should be organized and information that should be made locatable to support and assist loved ones and caregivers. The promise of this book is that it will give you peace of mind.” The book will be for sale, but the workshop is free and everyone is welcome.

BOONVILLE’S BELOVED WEEKLY is the work product of two persons of advanced age, one of them, The Editor, older than the other. We’ve discussed death and succession, as in final rites and who will carry on our noble task. The Editor says he wants his remains hoisted into a tree “out back” and simply left there for a bird banquet, the way some Indian tribes disposed of departed persons. His colleague, The Major, seems more inclined to the contemporary comforts of an air conditioned casket, ball games on an eternal loop, the Eversole boys unctuous over his grave site. Succession is trickier. I’d prefer someone other than an NPR-brained zomboid, but beyond that modest desire I’m only now beginning to give it some serious thought. I look around at this county’s young “journalists” and despair, and would much prefer a non-trained young person, a young person who still reads books, is intellectually interested, can write a little, comes with old school discipline —meaning the job gets done even if you’re badly hung over or half-dead.

ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING held its 6th annual Mowkeef, which means "Fall Harvest Celebration" in Boontling. Many folks enjoyed a day of Music and BBQ.  Serving up the Suds were Ginny Hallam and Ronnie Righter.

(photo by Bonnie Clarke Johnson)

CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN was at Pennyroyal Farms, Boonville, Sunday, to bounce cliches off an echo chamber of active Mendo Democrats. What did he say? Who could possibly care other than Rachel Binah and Val Muchowski? The mere mention of his name carries me instantly off into a deep, coma-like slumber. Dr. Apfel says I've got a rare form of political apnea that was first noted in persons who mysteriously nodded off whenever Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons, and the national Democratic Party were mentioned. Dr. Apfel said so far as he knew I was the first local person to seize-up at Huffman, but he thought increased doses B-12 might help.

A SOLO PIANO CONCERT of classical music, classical-crossover music and original compositions by Gabriela Lena Frank at the AV Grange in Philo. Sat. Oct. 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Grammy-winning composer/pianist Gabriela Lena Frank's music explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own. Ms. Frank and her husband, Jeremy, have relocated to Boonville where she has created the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music which grooms young emerging composers from around the world for professional music careers. Tickets for this concert can be purchased at the door. $15 General Admission and FREE to young musicians. All proceeds for this concert will support the AV Solar Grange and the AV Theater Guild. Contact or 707-895-3883.

GREG KROUSE ADDS: Gabriela Lena Frank’s Bueno Yabbelow at the Grange (Sept 19th) was pretty impressive. Joshua Roman, Cellist and Johnny Gandelsman, Violinist, are world class performers. Gabriela named her series carefully including our mixed culture with the notion of a conversation. Yabellow (boontling) means ‘active excited chatter’ with bueno good active chatter. Gabriela Frank’s Creative Academy of Music has with many objectives: to find seed ideas, realize these with evolving skills of notation, develop community within musicians, and exchange with musicians. This Bueno Yabbelow introduces the fruit of a year’s pieces. Unlike a traditional recital, where most music is solely interpreted by listeners, we were provided a kernel of the seed thoughts from the composers. The first piece was composed by Gabriela. A provocative piece, with lots of breath and sweeping sounds from both instruments.

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