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Valley People (May 9, 2018)

VETERANS! Memorial Day ceremonies commence at 10am at Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville, Sunday, at 10am. We understand this year’s remembrance will include a bugler.

JULIO JOEL PEREZ WRITES: "Two years in a row my daughter, Ahilmar Iliana Pérez, has been cheated in the Boontling Classic Run. I am furious. She is six years old and trains herself for this race all year long and pushes herself to compete in the category of nine-and-under girls to win the first prize in the ears of all whom attend. At this year's race, she beat her last year's time by two minutes, pulling in at 32 minutes 9 seconds, but this year they gave the first place to a runner who came in at 37 minutes. My daughter was in tears for the second time, but I can assure you she will not run a race where she is cheated from her prize again. This is not fair to anyone who works hard to tell herself she can do it and then to be cheated. I am her father and I will always see that my daughter gets what she works for. I hope this goes public, Ahilmar Iliana Pérez came in at 32 minutes and 09 seconds — FIRST PLACE!!!"

CHRISTINE LOPICCOLO died last week when she piled into a tree not far from the Navarro Store at a little after 4 in the morning. A long-time resident of Rancho Navarro, Ms. Lopicollo was driving her distinctive ancient Honda west  towards home when, at the curve near the historic Navarro sign, and for unknown reasons, she careened off the road and on into a redwood tree. The car burst into flames that instantly ignited the portable propane tank and gas can Ms. Lopicollo was carrying. Preliminary estimates have it that Ms. Lopicollo was traveling at a suicidally high rate of speed, too fast for the deceptively severe bend in the road. Ms. Lopicollo's only known relative is a nephew in the LA area. I remember her as a friendly but troubled lady in her middle 60’s who had clearly suffered great losses, including her home in Navarro to fire several years ago.

CALTRANS has steadily refused to put up a speed limit sign at that deceptively treacherous bend in 128 at Navarro, although Ms. Lopiccolo was locally notorious for driving at recklessly high speeds.  That stretch of 128 has seen many accidents over the years.

CHIEF AVILA of the Anderson Valley Fire Department on Sunday’s accident on 128 near Yorkville:  “We responded to a traffic collision on Hwy 128 at mile marker 45.75.  Arrived to find a single vehicle vs a tree blocking the west bound lane. No fire.  The driver who sustained minor injuries was not a local,  and was transported to UVMC by AVFD Ambulance.  Fire units pulled the vehicle out of the roadway.”

A BATTLE IS RAGING between the Boonville superintendent of schools, a woman, and a female posse of Elementary School staffers who don't approve of her for, it seems to me, purely subjective reasons. I know men aren't supposed to make this observation, but here’s my opinion. Ready? Women often find it difficult to work for women. Most would prefer a male boss, at least that's the answer I got from women to my recent, hurry-up survey.

AND Ms. Hutchins’s campaign signs have been vandalized and, in my case, disappeared from my property which, by the way, is a crime which, also by the way, I daresay our DA would prosecute if someone can be caught in the act of defacing or stealing one.

RANDOM BLIPS: Did someone sneak up on KZYX and hit it over the head with a smart stick? The revamped early morning local news presented by Hope McKenney was not only live, it was lively and even informative, and spared us the station’s insanely area-comprehensive weather recitation with the simple statement it would cool and breezy throughout the Northcoast day.

FORT BRAGG has a couple of Uber people, so how about at least one for Mendocino County's most happening community, Anderson Valley? (With Hopland closing fast on Boonville in the happening sweepstakes.)

SOMEONE STOLE DAVE SEVERN’S CAR, which may herald a new wrinkle in car theft — negative Blue Book vehicles. Dave’s Daughter Dandelion Allegra posted last Wednesday: “Hey Friends!! Specifically, Ukiah and surrounding areas: my Daddy’s car was stolen from Friedman’s this afternoon. They saw someone checking the doors in the security camera, but his was just outta view. Please, keep your eyes open for a 1991 champagne colored Subaru. Some serious bum factor going on here, folks. It’d be pretty rad if someone could find his car.”

IT SOON WAS. ”I’m back home with my car,” Severn reported. "It ended up in the Lowe’s parking lot in Cotati. It cost me $305 to pay for towing and storage. Everything was still in the car and when I filled the gas tank it was obvious the thief had put some gas in."

FROM the updated Anderson Valley Fire Department Long Range Plan: Mendocino County has directed staff to implement an inland Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) to one ambulance service. The intent of this EOA is to fix an ambulance conflict and issues arising from the competing private ambulance providers in the Ukiah area. The county will impose new increased EMS care and transport standards throughout all of inland Mendocino County, including Anderson Valley, and allow a legal monopoly for a single ambulance service to fulfill these higher contract requirements. The assumption is that the awardee of the EOA would gain the profits of the large population areas, along with interfacility transfers, but be responsible to support the remote areas of the county by increasing their level of EMS service.

THE BOONVILLE FARMERS' MARKET will take place Saturdays from 9:30-12:00 in the Boonville Hotel parking lot. Petit Teton will be at market in the Boonville Hotel parking lot from 9:30-noon along with Yorkville Olive Ranch and perhaps Natural Products, the mushroom vendor. We will have our usual large display of processed foods...jams, krauts, soups, pickles, relishes and sauces; meats...pork, beef and squab; and in-season vegetables including baby artichokes, greens of different varieties, and herbs.

The Yorkville Olive Ranch will be at the Boonville Farmers Market on Saturday with the 2016 and 2017 Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Tuscan Field Blend. We will have both the 375 ml and 750 ml bottles. The2016 EVOO won a Gold Medal in the California Olive Oil Council's competition, and the 2017 EVOO won Silver Medals at the California State Fair and the COOC competition. This year we have a Meyer lemon infused Tuscan olive oil for the first time in the 375 ml bottles only.

OPEN HOUSE, BBQ, AND FARM TOURS, SUNDAY MAY 13. (Boonville, off Lambert Lane)

Free farm tours @ 10 AM and 2:30 PM with a focus on soil building and alternative garden preparation methods.

Farm-to-(picnic)Table BBQ lunch, by chef Farmer Tim, featuring AVCF meat, vegetables, eggs, and olive oil. Lunch served from 11:30 A.M.-2 P.M., $ by donation.

Free gift from the farm for all Mothers on their official day of recognition.

This is our favorite season on the farm, it May be at its most beautiful right now in mid-spring: lush green and flowers everywhere, veggie fields planted and getting prepped, and days warm and perfect. Sounds like time for a party. We hope you can make it!

THE BOONVILLE FAIRGROUNDS, with the County acting as contracting agent, is charging the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival $27.5k, plus an additional 5.5% of ticket sales over $500k to rent the facility for the three day event (June 22-24, 2018). The festival organizers must also put up a $15k security deposit, and pay an unspecified hourly (typically overtime) rate for Sheriff’s deputies and their vehicles, which will add tens of thousands more to the cost. (The Festival provides its own security inside the event.) The festival must also pay all permitting costs.

ACCORDING to the Festival’s permit, ticket sales are not to exceed 5,000, and total occupancy during the three days is not to exceed 6500. The permit states that music is to cease at midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10pm on Sunday. The finances for the festival are not entirely clear. But a three day ticket costs $190 (about $63 per day), with an additional $90 for car-camping and $250 for bus/rv camping. Day tickets range between $70 and $85 per day. A limited number of RVs with hook-ups are paying $350 for three days of camping. The festival also gets revenues from the many food vendors who provide Caribbean-style vittles. Back of the envelope numbers would indicate that if the tickets average $70 per day, that would translate to a little over $1 million in ticket sales if the event sells out. So under the terms of the rental agreement the festival would have to pay up to an additional $25k-$30k to the Fairgrounds for the event. That's all in addition to whatever the organizers have to pay for their impressive lineup of famous and near famous musicians, plus staff, security, medical, set-up and take-down crew, technicians, equipment, etc. etc.

SONYA GILL WRITES: “I invite you, your staff and all the wonderful residents of Anderson Valley and beyond to visit my current one-person shows of art at Yorkville Cellars and the Yorkville Market. I have this unusual but very fortunate opportunity to show my work in our tiny town of Yorkville. At the market I have 19 oil paintings of our Yorkville orchard. And at Yorkville Cellars I have 23 paper collages of my family, friends and pets. Please stop by. I would love to share these with you and everyone else in the Valley.”


ED NOTE: Ms. Gill’s art is quite beautiful, as I can verify having seen it myself at the Yorkville Market, assuming you trust my aesthetic judgement.



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"2018 is here! Get your grow on! Remarkable cannabis property in beautiful Anderson Valley. Permitted last season, easily qualify for 2018 permit. Drilled well, public electric, 9000g water storage, raised beds with developed soil and enough room for 250-400 plants, hoop house for light dep, 2 bedroom worker housing, and more. Property could pay for itself in one year. Planting season is almost here, get it now to plant and grow!"

THE 16TH ANNUAL "Anderson Valley Open Studios Tour," and can it be 16 years already? An abundance of talent in the Anderson Valley, isn't there? And here are 14 artists, all of them known to us as our friends and neighbors, opening their homes to us and to total strangers over the long Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28) where we can view, and even buy, an array of life-enhancing art. We count our blessings.

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Finally! - The first ever music festival that proves that you CAN be clean, sober and still have a rockin’ good time. Just 2 hours north of San Francisco at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville, Clean & Sober Music Fest is sure to be a weekend full of music, comedy, friends, family and fellowship. Many may recall, the inaugural event was cancelled as a result of the tragic wildfires of last October. This year, the festival has been expanded to a two-day event - June 9th & 10th. A wonderful way to spend the weekend with good friends old & new, while celebrating the community of sobriety with others who have been on the same journey. All ages are welcome and there is plenty of space available for tent or RV camping, so make a weekend of it - get your tickets now at Eventbrite!

We are proud to welcome back some of our original performers, as well as some new ones. Many of whom are also on the program. The 2018 entertainers include:

  • Tommy Odetto [just added]
  • Comedian Michael Pritchard
  • Stefanie Keys Band
  • The Cole Tate Band
  • Kevin Griffin & Laughing Buddha
  • Deep Blue Jam
  • Clean Sweep
  • The Real Sarahs

HAD A TWO O’CLOCK appointment at the Health Center a week ago Monday but, after a 45-minute wait, I had to bolt for the office, Mondays being busy days for us. I’m not angry about it because I know the Center is short a doctor, and I’ve decided to live without regular cortisone shots in my knees anyway. But….But appointments are appointments, and if things are that backed up someone oughta emerge from the Center’s inner-sanctum and give people in the waiting room the option of a re-schedule. I felt like an idiot waiting that long, and had forgotten to bring anything to read.

THE SCARY MONSTER bike race scheduled for June 12th, and starts at Mendo College at the north end of Ukiah, thence to Hopland on Old River Road, over Mountain House Road and through the quaint town of Boonville and on through highway 128 to Flynn Creek Road. Then from Flynn Creek Road, you go to Comptche and on to Orr Springs Road where you will finish the scenic ride at Mendocino College. Along this ride you will encounter many gigantic redwood trees and vineyards for viewing pleasure. This route is 105 miles long and has approximately 8800 feet of climbing.

"QUAINT" is the ill-chosen word deployed by race organizers to describe Boonville, which might plausibly be called quaint if you stood maybe twenty feet in front of the Boonville Hotel without rolling your eyeballs in any other direction and looked straight at its old-timey facade. Hopland is quaint, kinda, so is Mendocino if you visit at 3am.

MATT BARNES WRITES: I have no side to take on the school situation. I don’t have kids. I don’t know local school politics, but it’s pretty rich when the AVA calls out perceived meanness. In the 13 years I’ve lived in Anderson Valley, the worst displays and highest frequency of meanness I’ve experienced are at the hands of your publication. While I’ve seen your publication soften over the years, it’s still the height hypocrisy for your editorial to be calling anyone mean, unless it first comes with an apology to the many, many people who have been slandered by the AVA over the years.

Mark Scaramella replies: Name one person who has been “slandered,” please, and the nature of the “slander.” PS. Boo-hoo. PPS. Our records show that your name has never been mentioned in the AVA in anything other than a positive, complimentary way.

George Hollister adds: What is libel? The definition is so narrow that no newspaper, that I am aware of, has ever been successfully prosecuted for it. At least not in the USA. In the name of the 1st amendment, anything goes. As it should be. Of course, there is a potential price paid in terms of the credibility of the subject newspaper. But credibility of media is always in question, anyway.

Mark Scaramella replies: Sorry George, but we can think of some successful defamation cases against newspapers or media organizations. Boilea v. Gawker, Burnett v. Inquirer, Lesher v. Topix, to name a few. It’s true it can be hard to win, especially if the alleged “defamation” involves a “public figure.” There are hurdles, yes, but if you can prove actual malice, intentional or reckless falsity, and demonstrable damages, and can afford an attorney, there’s a good chance you’ll either win or settle out of court. Generally speaking, “opinion” is not actionable. Another difficulty some people have is with notice. You have to first notify the person or entity you feel has libeled you of the specific offense (date, time, quote, source, etc.) and you have to specify exactly what offended you about it, something our critics seem incapable of. Then the media organization has an opportunity to respond, clarify, correct, retract, etc. Just casually claiming “libel” (or incorrectly “slander” which is not libel) without particulars is borderline libel itself. Not that such niceties stop people like Mr. Barnes from tossing the terms around irresponsibly.

Matt Barnes continues: My apologies, the word ‘slander’ lends itself to a technical definition. I should use such a word more carefully. To clarify, I am referring to the many selective ‘hit pieces’ I’ve read over the years. Calling out people in this Valley while letting favorable others slide for similar perceived offenses.

Furthermore, I’m not sure how the paper has or hasn’t treated me personally over the years has anything to do with my point, but since we’re on the subject…I once wrote a rebuttal to just such a selective ‘hit piece’ where the author not only replied to my rebuttal with an admission that he was, in fact, targeting a wealthy Valley resident because he didn’t like the wine industry (and w/o any recognition of all the charitable work he’s done or choosing to ask his side of the story) and you then let him publish his response to me with my full name, address and name of my business. None of which had anything to do with the conversation at hand. That was not common practice for your paper. The point was clear…’say something we don’t like, and we’ll throw you under the bus too.’

I’m a regular reader of the paper. I have an online subscription and often buy hard copies at Lemons. I enjoy the paper, but I’m hardly the only member of this community that shares my perspective.

Mark Scaramella replies: You must be referring to Balo’s Barn. Which was not a hit piece. It was a legitimate complaint that clearly did not need to include any alleged charitable contributions. If someone wants to mention any, they are free to, of course. Just because you and your wine friends didn’t like the piece or the writer hardly rises to the general “point” you seem to want to make, much less slander. It’s typical of wine people to react like this. I remember a planning commission meeting here in AV at the Fairgrounds back when they were updating the General Plan. One of the mild recommendations from the women who prepared AV’s input was that tasting rooms require minor use permits. Predictably, this very reasonable suggestion was met with a parade of wine people in opposition. But one wine guy in a nice hawaiian shirt rose to the podium and asked the Commission Chair (another wine guy from Hopland Greg Nelson), “Why do they hate us so much?” The wine people in the room all cheered his question.

Or, how about this? When my wind fan lawsuit appeared in court a couple of years ago Judge Henderson opened by saying that he assumed many people in the room were there because they were upset about being kept awake all night. And before he could even finish his sentence, about how others were worried about their crop, the wine people in the room, Supervisor Carre Brown among them, all rudely bellowed, “NOOOOOOOO!” Need I go on? The wine people are so precious and self-admiring that even minor complaints about their activities are described as “slander,” or “libel,” then ratcheted down to “hit pieces” when their hyperbolic thin-skinned language is corrected.


The System Cost Me More Than The Thief! 

In any parking lot my 1991 rusting, cracked windshielded, unlockable, unsmogable Subaru would stand out as the prime beater. At about 3:15 last Wednesday I pulled into Friedman Brothers, Ukiah, for a quick purchase, placing my key in a non-visible location as I ususally do. 20 minutes later I returned and my car was gone. A Ukiah Police officer responded in a dog catcher truck and in short order had a BOLO out. (Be On the Lookout). In determining loss amount the officer reckoned that a two year old iPad I hardly ever use was worth more than the $300 value I placed on the vehicle. I hitch-hiked home. 

At 11:30 that night I got a call from an officer with the Cotati Police saying he found my car in the Lowe’s parking lot — could I come down and get it? I wasn’t about to wake friend or family so I tried to get Triple A to tow it but they wouldn’t without me at the car with a photo ID. The officer regretfully told me he couldn’t honor my request to just leave it there in the parking lot and would have to have it towed to a secure lot — “liability” issues. Oh well! 

In the morning my daughter Glad and I had a pleasant two and a half hour conversation on the state of the world on the way first to the Cotati Police Department for a release form and then back to Santa Rosa to the tow yard where I was charge $260 for the tow and $45 for storage. 

Everything except the key was present in my car, the iPad and even two packages of unknown contents that I was to return to the Post Office for a friend. I always keep a spare key in my wallet so I was good to go. 

Because the gas gauge doesn’t work I keep track by the trip mileage and fill up every 300 miles. On the way back home with the trip odometer saying 220 miles I stopped to get gas to get the out-of-Valley lower price. When the tank would only take 5 gallons I realized the thief had put in about 4 gallons or $10 worth so he wasn’t completely broke. 

Except for the $305 outlay the whole affair was a somewhat humorous event. I got to spend time with my daughter and I got to meet a nice guy Chris who lives up on Signal Ridge who gave me a ride back home. The thief did no damage to my beat up old car and took nothing — he just seemed to be desperate for a way out of town. 

Part of any amusement I got out of the situation was how so many, many people heard about it — I guess from Facebook. While itself rather funny, too, I feel somewhat violated, kind of naked in front of a global security camera and wonder if there are people in France who now know of that stupid guy in Boonville who left his key in his car and without locking it. 


  1. Matt B May 9, 2018

    Not quite sure how owning up the the careless use of an impactful word on a lazy Sunday afternoon, replaced for accuracy by an equally hard-hard hitting, but more accurate, word counts a sniveling, but I’d expect nothing less from the AVA to see it taken at less than face value. The only people around here that lack backbone are you slithering old hags…subscription cancelled.

    • George Hollister May 9, 2018

      Forgiveness is required here. What the AVA does is human, in every way, and to some extent we are all guilty. Likely more than we know or admit to. Is the AVA hypocritical? Absolutely. But as Jesus said, “Let the person who has not sinned throw the first stone”. BTW, forgiving does not mean forgetting. Forgetting is for fools.

  2. Bruce Anderson May 9, 2018

    Hypocrisy? Moi? Examples, please. Not that I’m denying mine, but elementary argument requires specifics, not this We’re all guilty blah-blah. And Jesus did indeed recommend forgiveness, as I recall from Sunday School.

    • George Hollister May 9, 2018

      The one that is hard for me to forget, was the rant against John Cimolino, after he died. Beyond the pail, way beyond. There were many more.

      • George Hollister May 9, 2018

        Oh, yea and the running feud and rant against the Navarro woman, I can’t remember her name. She might have even passed. Her name has not been mentioned in many years. I remember this woman as being mentally, emotionally, and intellectually impaired. Not a person to attack in print regardless of her actions, as long as they were not physical. Of course, if she is reading this, she will consider me in the same vain as she considered Bruce Anderson. Well, what the hay.

      • George Hollister May 9, 2018

        And there was the long running rant against the man who had the troubled children’s home just West of Morgan Baynham’s place. Did the guy deserve any of it? I don’t know. Maybe he did. But Bruce was in the same business. Same business as Mr. Skyhawk, too. We could add that one to the list, as well.

        So, yea. Bruce, you are a hypocrite. But I say this with the knowledge that I am at least your equal in being arrogant, condescending, and certain of my righteousness. So even though I don’t forget, you are forgiven. One has to be. It is in the interest of one’s mental well being, and necessary to somewhat get along with neighbors.

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