Valley People (Nov. 8, 2017)


THAT HEAVY RAID by Fish and Wildlife on central Navarro nearly three weeks ago was aimed at this guy, Mathew Holberg. Holberg, who keeps lots of weapons on or about his person was considered armed and dangerous. He appeared in the Anderson Valley two years ago in pursuit of a Navarro-based love interest, lately making his home in MRC-owned forest. The love interest was no longer interested, but Holberg felt at home in the Deepend, what with a steady supply of methamphetamine and a community of persons with similar interests. Fish and Wildlife took him into custody on a variety of charges, including poaching, illegal weapons, trespassing, possession of meth. Holberg is likely going to spend the rainy months in the warm, dry embrace of the County Jail.

RUMORS of the week: Supervisor Hamburg won’t seek another term, and a local landscaper has bought the property in central Boonville that was once the home of Bo and Bobbie Hiatt.

AND superintendent of the local schools, Michelle Hutchins, is fighting off a school board itself in transition but intent on firing her mid-year, a move that ought to be put over until the new school board is seated at the first of the year. Ms. Hutchins came into a district that hadn’t been supervised in any known sense in years, made some tactical errors that made some people very angry unto bitter, especially female people. But AV Unified seems serene this school year, with two capable new site administrators in place and things cooking along just fine. We don’t see any point in changing the captain of the ship mid-voyage. (Just sayin’, but how many times have we all heard women say, “I’d rather work for a man any time? In the Hutchins case, the men all seem fine with her, the women not.)

ONE MORE: inland gadfly John Sakowicz is likely to run for Supervisor, but which seat? I don’t think Sako is a resident of the Fifth District. Here at the bunker, we prefer one or another of two women, but one says absolutely no candidacy for her, the other is “thinking it over.”

DID THE RIVER RISE? Nope, and Mr. McCarthy of Elk and the essential blog, MendocinoSportsPlus sees every ripple. He notes: “The Navarro River sandbar is still standing proudly like a stone wall as the recent half-inch of rain had little to no effect on the river level. The height of the river at the USGS gauge was merely 1.67' and the flow past the gauge was 76.2 gallons per second. And you can see from the NOAA river level forecast - there is NO threat of flooding in the near future. Although, like for the first time last year, the sandbar could refuse to breach and SR-128 would flood like it did last December.”

MARSHALL NEWMAN WONDERS: “By 1:50 p.m. Friday, November 3, the National Weather Service’s Boonville station showed no measured rainfall, while Weather Underground stations in Anderson Valley showed upwards of 0.21 inches thus far. True, the Weather Underground station showed only 0.03 inches for Boonville, but even that differential is puzzling (0.03 inches isn’t mist). Is the National Weather Service’s Boonville station under the eaves of a house? Maybe on a covered porch? Perhaps on vacation? A mystery, for certain.”

HERE it was 5 o'clock in Boonville on Halloween and no sign all day, anywhere, of Halloween. Usually a few adults are togged out in costumes, but not a one did we spy. No kids in Trump masks or any other kind of mask. Five is a little early for the roving bands of little beggars, but we're ready for them, kind of, with a bag of mini-Hersheys. One Halloween, as an experiment, I asked the little ones if they wanted candy or cash. None of them knew what “cash” meant. When I said money, a few said they preferred a dollar bill, the rest still said they preferred candy. At about three bucks I cancelled the experiment. It was getting expensive as older, savvier urchins appeared.

ALSO at 5 o'clock Halloween, the only guy booked into the County Jail so far was Captain Fathom. Last time I saw the Captain, he said Sheriff Allman had given him a "free pass" from arrest, a permanent Get Out of Jail Free card. Looks like Allman revoked it. Seriously, though, booking Fathom for "failure to appear"? Of course he isn't going to appear. At this point the poor guy probably can’t remember his birthday let alone a court date.

Captain Fathom

OUR GENERAL IMPRESSION is that meth use isn't as prevalent as it was a few years ago, but it's readily available in the Anderson Valley and everywhere else in Mendocino County if you're looking. Oxycontin and Oxy’s cousin, heroin? We hear heroin is plentiful but not in the pill form. Whatever, as the young people say, it’s always time to get support to get away from drugs, and booze too, if booze is getting in the way of your life. And here’s a good place to start….

SUBSTANCE ABUSE SUPPORT GROUP at the Anderson Valley Health Center

This group will serve as a space for participants to address substance use issues and examine core issues that drive substance abuse. The group will utilize a client-centered, collaborative approach and participants will be encouraged to identify individual goals. For example, one participant may have a goal to reduce use of one substance, while another participant may have a goal to maintain a longstanding abstinence from multiple substances. Additionally, the group welcomes those entering into or maintaining a medication assisted treatment (MAT) for substance abuse. In the group format, participants will have the opportunity to experience a sense of community, develop their communication skills, and give and receive feedback from others. Participants will receive support and a safe space to explore their relationship to substances and will be taught skills to assist in reducing and managing substance use while working toward their individual goals. Wednesdays from 5:30 - 6:45 PM, beginning November 29th

The group will be limited in size and we ask all participants to make a commitment to attending the group weekly for a three month module To join the group or for more information, please contact Stephanie Shreve at 707-895-3477 ext. 240 or

HOMELESS IN ANDERSON VALLEY? At least two persons are sleeping in their cars every night that we know of, but the lack of affordable rentals is occurring throughout California, but here in The Valley it’s exacerbated by so many conversions to Air B&B’s. When the local superintendent of schools can’t find a rental, and when my old totally non-code, iron and sulphur tap water place on Anderson Valley Way is Air B&Beed for $400 a night…

BURN PERMIT SUSPENSION LIFTED. Effective Friday, November 3, 2017 at 12:01 AM the burn permit suspension in Mendocino County will be lifted. Residents wishing to burn MUST verify it is a permissive burn day prior to burning. For more information regarding winter burning regulations go to the MCQAMD website Recorded Burn Day status is available 24/7 on the Burn Information Line at (707) 463-4391.

ATTENTION VETERANS! Steve Sparks writes: “Next Saturday, 11th November, 2017, at 10.30am prompt, the American Legion’s Kirk Wilder and myself will be presenting a special Veterans Day service alongside the Remembrance Wall at the Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way just north of Boonville. I have been involved with such an event for much of my adult life, both in the UK and San Francisco, and initiated the local event in the Valley eight years ago, before taking a break for a couple of years ago as others organized the ceremony. A month or so ago, Kirk approached me about working on this again and we have done so together and will hopefully present a meaningful Remembrance Day gathering next weekend. Valley folks like yourselves are encouraged to attend. It should be emphasized that this is not an overtly political or religious event. It is simply an opportunity for the community of Anderson Valley to show its support and gratitude for both the men and women who have given their lives or were wounded in the service of their country, and also those who have served or continue to serve, so that we may have the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy today… We hope to see you there.”

RAN INTO DON SUMMIT at the Redwood Valley Store on Wednesday. Don is the youngest Summit brother of the family clan whose home base was once Boonville. Like his brothers, an outstanding all-round athlete, Don, for many years, wore AV High School's all-time points-scored crown. These days he's best known as a high school hoops ref, and a good one. For a guy who lost his home in the devastating fire that whipped through Redwood Valley, the irrepressible Summit was in good spirits. "I was lucky," he said. "We got a warning that gave us about thirty minutes to get out. I thought maybe I could out-run it if I had to, but no way I could have outrun that monster. I grabbed my guns and we took off." I asked him if he was getting the assistance he needed to upright his life. "So far, so good," he said, and laughed, ”I’ll let you know if I have any trouble with them."

"ALTHOUGH there are numerous problematic aspects of many charter schools that rightfully garner a great deal of public attention—their growing for-profit nature, their inability to accommodate students with special needs, the low pay for their teachers, etc.—one rarely hears that charter schooling, as it is currently practiced, is essentially an inferior version of traditional public schooling with uniforms. This fixation on school uniforms—which, despite the rhetoric of educational innovation, is often the only thing noticeably distinct about many charters—emerged as different aspects of the school choice movement converged and points to the underlying and unsound logic of charter schooling."

THE LIMPING, soporific prose of the above could only be the work of (1) an academic or (2) an academic "teacher/educator." Sure enough, Paul J. Ramsey, writing for CounterPunch, is all three.

LIKE MOST LIB LABS, I'm hostile to charter schools, especially the ones run by for-profit crooks like the guy who owns a rural charter adjunct here in the Anderson Valley called Blackbird Farm. Charter schools were originally formed by parents desperate to get their children away from failed public schools, and there are thousands of those — failed public schools, several right here in Mendo County. If the public schools didn't resist all reform, and they were adequately and uniformly funded, charter schools probably wouldn't exist. School uniforms? An idea whose time came years ago and, predictably, was ignored by the immovable blob of public ed. Uniforms save parents a lot of money in not keeping up with two hundred dollar sneakers and see-through designer tights, and school people don't have to waste a lot of time arguing with our nation's future about "appropriate" dress.

SILENT MUSICAL. If you missed it last weekend, this rave reviewed production is on again for this weekend, Friday and Saturday night. A locally written and directed show. Live actors and silent musicians. A unique theatrical production staged at the Anderson Valley Solar Grange. This tale is a bow to the silent film era, and is told without dialogue. Mood and plot are carried by physical gestures coupled to music, with emphasis placed on vaudeville-style comedy. Conceived of and written by local resident and director Cob, and scored by Daniel McDonnell. The score will be performed live accompanying each performance. Tickets at the door or in advance through

THE SILENT MUSICAL performed this past Friday and Saturday evening at the Philo Grange is simply wonderful. How in the world does one justifiably present a snapshot introduction to a work of art with such depth as The Silent Musical was so thought provoking and so brilliant that it is hard to come up even with an opening for this review. But here's the best I can do. Wow! Brilliant on many levels. Having known Cob aka Aaron Martin for a few years I have been aware of at least some of his many aptitudes and talents but this one took me by surprise. He wrote, directed, produced and acted in "The Silent Musical" that was performed this passed weekend at the Philo Grange. I write this review hoping that many more of you will be called to attend repeat stagings of the performance next Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th at the Philo Grange - 7pm. I truly believe that right here in Anderson Valley we are being presented with a work worthy of national if not global attention. On stage we had: Freudish Denver Tuttle as Doctor Weaver a psycotherapist who himself was infused with not only self-importance but a good dollop of the dark. The Flower Lady Sheila Leighton who, ever-present though in the background through much of the play , represented through her flowers the infinitely larger and more powerful natural world that often is overlooked in our human absorbtion with ourselves. Please excuse this aging Hippie's reference but onstage it is Flower Power that ultimately sets the "ordinary day" run amok back on happy track. Bernadette Rustuccio as Destiny and Seasha Rose (Robb) as Chance are two young women involved in an early stage, exploratory relationship. The dark entity impacts them at first pleasantly and then plays havoc. As in any ordinary town on an ordinary day there is a cop, The Constable played by Angela DeWitt and a Gambler, Keevan Labowitz, both of whom are titillated into risque episodes by the untethered dark entity. In the earlier days of the play's setting there would always be a Newsboy on the street informing people of the latest SCANDAL - Derek Roseboom was he and yes even he got caught up in manipulations manifested by the innocent. That innocence was portrayed by a gender ambiguous young Dolly played by EJ Hanes who was in the dubious care of Doctor Weaver. Yet even in her innocense was he able to reject thoughtless imposition. Whether it was the quality of the written play or magic, the cohesive and masterful performance by all actors was remarkable. The "Silent Ochestra" was brilliant in its own right. Scored by Daniel McDonnell and composed of Janet Booygarn, Lawrence McCarter, Daniel McDonnell, Michael O'Brien & Alice Wolfle-Erskine it was itself a gifted collaboration of talent and empathy with the stagework which, for me, promoted the evening pleasure beyond "musical" into the realm of opera where music and action melted together in one flowing unforgetable experience. Though no one on stage spoke a word the ochestra was pleasantly and fully audible to even my weakened ears. If I missed a note I didn't miss a beat of the cohesion. The enthusiastic standing ovation along with exuberant conversation following the event proved that all attendees share my exhilaration and if you miss it you will regret it. (David Severn)

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