THE ANNUAL LION'S CLUB Halloween costume parade is this Saturday night, October 31 at 7pm at the high school gym. Everyone welcome. There will be with costume prizes awarded little kids preschool through fourth grade, and one prize to the adult kid with the best costume. Information at 895-2928.
THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT is still considering the acquisition of the Boonville Methodist Church as a potential community center or public employee (deputy) residence. There are so few active Methodists left in The Valley that Methodist Central wants to sell off its local real estate. Exactly what form the acquisition would take, and how much it would cost to buy, then maintain, the church property is still unclear.
THE LOCAL PHONEBOOK update is nearing completion, meaning the deceased, the people who long ago moved away, and even a few folks who never existed have been edited out, leaving those who are known still to be with us who also possess working telephones, a viable address or both. The ad hoc group working on the update of the crucial little tome say they should have them for sale by December, just in time for Christmas. We consult our old directories almost every day, and look forward to the new version, this update so many of us have wanted for several years now. The guides are invaluable because they contain the names and contact information for lots of people who aren't listed in the County directories.
FIRE CHIEF Colin Wilson is proceeding with the acquisition of a costly new fire engine for Yorkville. The Chief is proceeding apace. Apace-apace, it could be said. Wilson said if we don’t get our order for the truck in soon, new federal air quality regulations will kick in and the price will go up. We're one of five potential bidders for the truck which, firefighting experts say, is specially designed to fight structure fires and fires occurring on open land. Most older engines, it seems, do one better than the other. Bids are expected to be opened sometime next month. The current cost estimate for the new engine is in the $250k-$270k range. The District plans to pay cash out of accumulated reserves, plus a donation from the Volunteer Firefighters Association and another donation from the Yorkville Community Benefit Association. Critics, all of whom insist on anonymity rather than take the formidable chief on directly, say the engine purchase is, to put it gently, “extravagant.”
SEVERAL MEMBERS of the Community Services District Board attended last week's community discussion about how recent funding cuts have affected the primary public agencies in The Valley. The schools and the Health Center have suffered major cuts in funding, but so far the fire department's cuts have been relatively small, leaving it in pretty good financial shape. The school district has mailed us all a flier outlining its plans to persuade the community to pass a bond measure in 2010 that would raise serious money for the big repairs the school structures need, structures which are now 50 years old.
THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT BOARD is scheduling a “mission statement development workshop” to discuss what it is that they're doing, who they are and where they're headed which, if successful, will put them ahead of most of us.
MAYBE when CSD is finished puzzling out their mission they might move to condemn Glen Ricard's rambling tinderbox at the corner of Haehl and 128, Boonville. One has to wonder how much more of a flagrant fire hazard and pustulating toxic eyesore than that unmaintained collection of abandoned store fronts has to become before official Mendocino County moves to abate it. No other community in the county has had to tolerate a comparable mess. Ricard probably laughs every time he drives through Boonville to and from his immaculately posh home on the bluff at Little River next door to Mendocino where he also owns property of the non-eyesore type. Ricard's appalling mess ruins the south approach to town, causing people who might otherwise stop to scurry on out to the Mendocino Coast. Why the Chamber of Commerce hasn't demanded abatement is another mystery. Ricard won't maintain the property and he won't sell it.
THE CHANGING rule mentioned here last week has been rescinded. Someone had complained that the apparently erotic sight of the soccer team pulling their uniforms on and off over their boxer shorts was simply too salacious to bare (sic). An edict came down that the boys would have to do all their changing out of view. Some people wondered why if modesty was the issue, well, how about the girls volleyball team and their short-shorts, not to mention the Vegas-like gyrations of keen-teen cheerleaders long known to make grown men weep?
LOTS OF LOCALS have complained that they were slow to get their sample and absentee ballots. The County Clerk confirmed Monday that a printer's prob had delayed outgoing mail from her office but, she said, all ballots should have reached Valley voters by now. Some recipients of sample ballots who desire an absentee ballot cannot dawdle in getting that request in, but if you're too slow on the draw you can always vote in person at the Fairgrounds on election day. The totally confused can also vote at the County Clerk's Office, Low Gap Road, where the pleasant and always accommodating ladies who staff that office will walk you through the process.
“LAST FRIDAY’S Grange Groove turned into a Burning Man ‘afterburn’ affair. It started slowly with DJ Pete playing tunes and Mike Crutcher providing the visuals. Then, the Burners started to roll in, most in full costume. The tunes and moves continued inside with Mike blending Doug Read's burn photos into his psychedelica, while in the parking lot the fire dancers (Wendy, Amy and Julianne) put on quite a show, accentuated by the light show provided by John Pitts. Perhaps 30 folks from all over the Valley showed up. Remember, The Groove happens at the Grange on the third Friday of the month. It will keep you warm all winter.” — Bruce Hering
THE FAIR BOARD met Monday night to discuss last summer's Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. They, plus the inevitable critics of the event, supplemented by public safety people, critiqued the three-day affair which, considering the mobs of people it draws to Boonville, has always been a peaceful event. Except when it hasn't been peaceful, but even when it hasn't been peaceful the distress is invariably caused by an isolated someone going berserkers from a drug overdose or from consumption of the wrong drug. This year a guy ate some broken glass, injuring only himself and not attempting to force-feed it to passersby. The year before a guy on the wrong dope went off and slashed a few of his friends and random campers before he was subdued. But these have been isolated episodes uncharacteristic of the crowd. Considering that thousands of people annually commingle for three days in Boonville without incident any more violent than Sister Yasmin in serial disputes with local shopkeepers is a measure of the terrific job Jim Brown and crew do in managing the rastafarians most of whom arrive in Boonville sedated by their smoke and mesmerized by the monotonous rhythms and simple minded lyrics of their tunes. Neighbors of the event, which is everyone in Boonville, complain about the noise and the occasional disoriented stoner wandering into an unwelcoming yard, but even the complaints are minimal and tend to originate with the few Boonville persons who still haven't recovered from the traumatizing sight of their first hippie back in 1966. The cops say the annual beer fest presents a crowd much more given to disorderly conduct because it tends to draw the more belligerent beefoid types, those former high school linebackers and miscellaneous bench press boys who tend to violence when they've had a few. But again, Jim Brown and his Fairgrounds crew brought this year's beerfest off with minimal unpleasantness. These mob scenes are so well managed that they're much more a community blessing than curse.
NOTICING a small burial disturbance in her garden on Ray's Road, the gardener quickly uncovered a roasted chicken from which one slice of choice breast meat had been carefully cut. A neighborhood dog had snagged it off an inattentive dinner table, run down the street and buried it to be enjoyed at a later date. The gardener, hoping to foil and fool the four-footed thief, dug the chicken up and re-buried it two hundred feet away. Next morning, there were a series of large, indignant holes in the garlic bed, and the chicken was gone.
CHARGES AGAINST MATT EVANS have been dropped. The Comptche man was arrested when a computer repairman allegedly found child pornography on Evans' compute. Appearing Monday in Judge Clay Brennan's superior court in Ukiah with his attorney David Eyster, Evans was informed that the DA would not, at this time, be pursuing the case against him. But the bail arrangement for Evans stays in place, meaning if he is re-arrested he's automatically released.
THE RECENTLY FORMED Boonville chess club meets every Tuesday evening at 7:30 at the Anderson Valley Senior Center in Boonville. All ages welcome. Bring your game board or come without one. They have some extras. — Ray Langevin
KEN HURST stopped by last week with a bag of Sierra Beauty apples from his family's ancient orchard on Greenwood Road. Monday, Darius of Julie and Darius of the Boonville General Store, appeared with a Black Arkansas fresh off a tree Darius planted at his place in Philo, more of which are for sale at Boont Berry Farm. These gifts again reminded me how blessed we are in this bountiful place, that heirloom apples are generally unavailable most places in the country.
A PAIR of fine eating places have opened in Fort Bragg, both eponymous, both garnering rave reviews. There's the Fort Bragg Bakery on Franklin near Laurel complete with that site's fully restored brick ovens, its address having been a bakery back to the early part of the 20th century. And there's the Franklin Street Cafe, also on Franklin near the Fort Bragg Post Office. Friends gave me a three-grain loaf from the Bakery, and I'm hear to tell you it was the real stuff. Haven't tried the Cafe, but I understand a hundred people turned up for lunch the other day, all of them raving about quality and the surprisingly modest prices.
SEED MONEY for a community swimming pool, to the tune of nearly $10,000 and raised over many years, has been de-allocated and placed in the Community Services District’s Recreation Committee’s unrestricted account. The deed was done last Wednesday by a unanimous vote of the Community Services District board. There was no public comment because, as always, no public was present. There’s a good chance at least some of the money will be used to finance either a walking trail or a parking lot at the Community Park next door to the Health Clinic in West Boonville.
WHICH means it's time for the annual historical reminder of what happened to Anderson Valley's original plan for a Community Swimming Pool. Come, take my hand for a brief walk down Memory Lane. The Boonville Fairgrounds was, back in the middle 1970s, directed to install a sprinkler system for fire safety. Lots of people said, “Let's do what Cloverdale has done. Let's store the water for the sprinkler system in a community swimming pool, thus satisfying at once, in one big pool and plumbing job, a recreational and fire safety demand. It was not to be. A petition to the Fair Board was quickly circulated among the still sizable sectors of the community unreconciled to hippies. (There are said to be remnant populations of hippies in the deep hills east of Laytonville, but there hasn't been one in the Anderson Valley since, oh, 1980 or so. Neo-hippies don't count.) The anti-swimming pool petition couldn't come right out and say, “We don't want a community swimming pool because those shaggy, unwashed beasts who have suddenly descended upon our little rural paradise will also swim in a community pool, and the innocent, clean children of us good people will sicken and die from one or another of the many communicable diseases the hippies maintain in oozing open sores to feed their pet lice.” No, the petition formally concerned itself only with inaccurate projections of costs. But informally the signature gatherers said, “We don't want hundreds of diseased hippies lounging around all summer in a big public bathtub at the Boonville Fairgrounds.” A decade later, the hippies were at the power levers everywhere in Mendocino County, but that's another story, your honor. The upshot of the swimming pool controversy was that the Fairgrounds erected the big buckeroo holding tank you see today at the south end of the grandstand overlooking the thirty handicapped parking spots, the most parking set asides in America for a venue our size. The hippies soon inter-married with the rednecks to produce a whole new beast called the “hipneck,” and hippies, rednecks and hipnecks all now team up to complain about Mexicans.