MARIANO LOPEZ FERNANDEZ, 31, was shot and killed by deputies last Wednesday morning at a marijuana garden near Branscomb, west of Laytonville. Mr. Fernandez had lived in Boonville at Airport Estates with his wife Jessica and the couple's year-old son. Mrs. Fernandez, apparently responding to the boorish jubilation at her husband's death as expressed on the Ukiah Daily Journal's comment line, “The man is my husband. We have been together for 3 years and have a 1-year-old son together who had his first birthday 5 days before his daddy was shot down. I know the real truth. I have talked to the other guys that were there with him...I will not give names ever to anyone, but they say they were lying down, still asleep, and they heard something and looked up and saw what they describe as helmets and flung the covers open to get up and run. My husband, Mariano Lopez, was the first and only person shot because he stayed sitting down and began to put on his boots, getting ready to turn himself in to deputies. This is the person he is, a peaceful, gentle, loving man. He was shot in the legs, stomach, arm, and back. I had always told him that if anything happened to turn himself in, I would be there to visit him in jail and if he got deported, to follow him to Mexico. He would never have fired at deputies, and didn't. He has a family to think about, and that's exactly what he was doing, but now I will do what I promised. He's got into trouble, and now he's going to Mexico but not in the way he ever would have imagined. I'm going to say good-bye to the one true love of my life and the father of my son, the only person who never said a harsh word to me or abused me in any way. All I have is memories and my son. This is such a huge injustice! And the five deputies will all see me in court! They will see my face, and the face of my son, Mariano's son, and know that what they did was destroy not only one life, but many lives.”
HELEN LIBEU called Tuesday to say that her Peachland Road property is not for sale. Mrs. Libeu, presently a resident of West Sonoma County, was once a member of the State Board of Forestry and, for years, she and her late husband Leon, functioned as the conscience of Northcoast Democrats when that organization at least pretended to have one. Formidable does not begin to describe this lady. She certainly put the fear in the outside timber corporations, and three generations of Congressmen never failed to return her phone calls. These days, Helen might be described as “frail-elderly,” not that I would dare describe her that way in her hearing. Helen said Tuesday morning that she suspects certain younger relatives of hers are attempting to sell her Peachland place without her permission. I asked Mike Shapiro if he'd seen the property listed anywhere. Mike said he hadn't, but he also said he hadn't found any property on Peachland owned by a Libeu, and when I called Helen back at a number she confessed might not be correct, the phone rang and rang and rang.
FREE MANILA file folders anyone? Wallen Summers has a bunch, and they're yours if you call him at 895-2340.
MONDAY NIGHT I wrote about our first really hot day in a long time, “Blink and you might miss summer,” I tapped, chuckling to myself, the reference being to the cool summer we've had this year. I thought “Blink and you might miss summer” was at least medium-witty by the standards of outback journalism, but I picked up Tuesday's Chronicle and darned if their front pager on Monday's Frisco scorcher wasn't called, “Summer is here — don't blink.” Wit having died with Herb Caen at the Chron, I wondered if the paper was channeling the old boy. Anyway it was a hundred in the shade at my house by 2pm Tuesday afternoon, but the “marine layer,” as the Press Democrat calls fog, will surely roll in Wednesday evening, and if there's a more salubrious climate anywhere on our dying planet, well, name it.
STEVE SPARKS really knows how to throw a fund-raiser. Steve's dinner and dance at the Philo Grange Saturday night not only raised all the money Steve needs for this season's high school soccer team's uniforms, it fed and entertained a full house. The food prepared by the Soccer Moms was so good my missus had to restrain me from going back for thirds. The team's assistant coach this year is my old neighbor, Eddie Ferrerya, whom I remember as a little guy always kicking a soccer ball around his front yard with his two brothers.
HER MANY FANS, none more devoted than this one, will be happy to hear that Dayla Hepting will soon re-appear in this pages with a horse story she calls, “Miss Millie.” Dayla's former husband, Rick, has organized a website for the talented writer at daylahepting.com. “I do miss the valley,” Dayla writes, “but it has changed so much and I love Montana and I can afford to live here. I am retired from horses. Too old to keep up with them. I am 68 and feeling it.”
CONGRESSMAN MIKE THOMPSON, D-Handley Cellars, will appear in the Anderson Valley High School gym from 12:45-1:45 on Friday, August 27th for what the Congressman's flacks describe as a “Town Meeting,” by which the Congressman seems to mean that the students, the only persons in the community who can be compelled to be there, will assemble in the Boonville gym as the Congressman, undoubtedly accompanied by Mendocino County's lead educator and nationally renowned lexicographer, Paul Tichinin, descends on them in a cavalcade of SUV's and smiley faces. This captive audience will sit there, compulsory like, wondering, “This guy's the government? No wonder everything's gone wrong.” And why wouldn't the Congressional delegation be grinning, what with their big pay days and lite work loads? Everyone else in the Anderson Valley can and will avoid this flurry of elected splendor, but it'll be back, you can be sure, next election cycle.
HERE'S A CIVICS lesson for you, kids: Why does Congressman Thompson make his public appearances at schools and Senior Centers? Answer: Because these audiences can't run away from him.
DAVE EVANS of The Navarro Store reminds everyone that a very big name band will play the Deepend this Friday night (the 27th), 7pm, and that very big name band is called Asleep at the Wheel, winner of 9 Grammies and America's consensus number one cowboy swing band. “This is a very big deal,” Dave said Monday. “We're honored they're going to be here, and everyone in The Valley should know it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to see something really great.” All Dave's shows are really great, amazing actually considering their quality and our tiny demographic, but most of them are on Saturday nights. Asleep at the Wheel, however, appears at Navarro this Friday night with the popular Roger Wood Band opening what promises to be a most memorable evening at 5pm.
SATURDAY, a huge broken down school bus, “Happy Days Are Here Again, All Aboard” inscribed on its sides, sat forlornly beside 128 between Goldeneye Winery and Jim Ball's Buy Six Get Six Free Vineyards. “Hmmm,” I thought, “must be waiting for George Gowan and English John to rescue it.” The bus, which I'd hoped would become a permanent fixture to bum out the wine tourists, was gone within hours, and last seen headed towards Boonville, not towards George's and English John's Gschwend Road redoubt on Floodgate Creek, Navarro.
SPEAKING OF ART, Caltrans must have bulldozed them, but those fetching displays of carefully arrayed vertical rock at the Boonville gravel pits were enjoyed by all who saw them, so rare is pure whimsy at Big Orange. Locals called the stone displays “tweeker art,” but who knows for sure. It was nice while it lasted, and if tweek was the inspiration keep on tweekin'.
MARTIN TEVASEU has made the big time. The AVHS grad is on the roster of the NFL's New York Jets as a defensive tackle. Mr. T is 22 years old. He's listed at 6'2” and 325 pounds. Martin played his college ball at Santa Rosa JC and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Martin's older brother Logo, football coach at Boonville High School, is also a graduate of AVHS. He played his college football at Division One TCU. First year NFL players are paid a minimum of $285,000 a season. Jets coach Rex Ryan says of Martin, whose teammates call him MTV, “I think MTV is playing well. He has a broken hand, but he's playing well. He's getting active so I was happy with what he was doing.”
JACOB GOWAN is expected to get lots of playing time for Stanford at nose tackle and defensive end. Jacob, a sophomore, has already lettered in rugby and track and field. Jacob, an A student, is the son of Don and Sharon Gowan, Philo and Santa Rosa respectively.
LOCAL DEER HUNTERS confirm Fish and Game studies that show the state's deer population is down, way down. “I know it's way off around here,” Deputy Squires said. A long time outdoorsman, the deputy said he'd seen “a couple of spikes but that's about it.” Fish and Game is rigging up mountain lions and other predators with electronic devices to see if these creatures are eating more deer or if deer feed is being choked out of existence by invasive weeds.
MARK BEDH is in business in Yorkville with Spirit Ridge Medicinals as free enterprise continues to thrive in the Anderson Valley.
DO YOU SUFFER from LPS, Leaky Pond Syndrome? Want to find out how you can get help to pay for your pond? Interested in Constructed Wetlands? The Redwood Valley County Water District invites you to hear Ken Seckora explain all about why ponds leak and the latest techniques to stop them from leaking and keep them from leaking. Carol Mandel will show you how the Agriculture Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) can help you pay for improving your pond. The leaky pond seminar will be held at Parducci Wine Cellars on Tuesday, August 31, from 1-3pm, followed by a guided tour of Parducci’s constructed wetland led by Tim Thornhill. Refreshments provided. To get there from Highway 101, take the Lake Mendocino Drive exit. Turn west and immediately north. When the street ends in a T, turn left. Someone will show you where to park. (— Anna Birkas)
YURI’S, the new restaurant in Boonville next door to the about-to-be-reopened Boonville Saloon, formerly the Boonville Lodge, is the enterprise of Brenda “Yuri” Orozco. She's the niece of my neighbor Jose Orozco, who often gives me a lift over the hill to the Courthouse in Ukiah. With a little help from her parents, Yuri does the cooking and waits on tables, too. Right now, she offers a menu limited to tacos, burritos and quesadillas, but this will change as she picks up momentum, she says. Yuri also hopes to be serving beer and wine soon. The decor is minimal, but there's seating for about 40. I enjoyed a couple of carne asada tacos which were very good, reminding me of the wildly popular Chavez Market in Ukiah, the tacos are generous portions of steak or chicken with lots of chopped cilantro and onion for only $2 accompanied by the traditional basket of freshly made corn chips and cup of fresh salsa. The AVA gives Yuri's an enthusiastic thumbs up. (— Bruce McEwen)
HERBAL Health Perspectives! New Show, KZYX, 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 1-2pm; Sept 7th Tieraona Low Dog, MD: Matthew Wood Apprenticeship Samhain to Beltane. Mary Pat Palmer and Karin Uphoff are beginning a new radio show on KZYX called Holistic Health Perspectives which will air the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month from 1-2pm. Our first guest on September 7th is the amazing Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, herbalist and MD. Dr. Low Dog is the Fellowship Director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine who has been practicing for 30 years. She trained as a midwife, herbalist, massage therapist and holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. (Mary Pat Palmer)
THE LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT will hold a big open house at our newly completed fire station on Rancho Navarro this coming Saturday between 1pm and 4pm. The station is on the same parcel with the Rancho Navarro Clubhouse at 19100 Appian Way. (AV Fire Chief Colin Wilson)