BEYOND AWFUL. Monday afternoon, a little after 3pm, an eastbound SUV containing a three-person family of visitors from England was stopped at a bend in Highway 128 about a half-mile from the Boonville CalFire station by a soil spill that was blocking both lanes. The Englishman left his vehicle to ask if he could help the two Mexicans whose trailer containing the soil had overturned, unaware that his car, presumably a rental, was not securely locked in park. It rolled off the side of the road and plummeted some 150 feet down the embankment, killing the visiting Englishman's wife and injuring his 12-year-old son. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Oakland where, at first report, he is expected to recover from his physical injuries. CHP investigators were still at the site of the accident well into the evening.
AS WE GO to press, still no cause of last week's Octopus Mountain Fire.
THE BUCKHORN! Brunch on Sunday July 29th will be extra special due to new, live music in the garden. The San Francisco-based, six-piece funk rock/jazz band, Night Animals, will be playing starting around 11 or 12. "Live performance is the pinnacle of Night Animal's music, combined with a love of improvisation. Seductive vocals, serpentine horn lines, hypnotic rhythms, and hook-laden guitar licks all conspire to put you under their spell." So, hear some new music and kick back with one of our famous Bloody Marys or our Summer Key Lime cocktail, over brunch.
A LARGE crowd celebrated Bastille Day at the French-owned Roederer Winery on Sunday, enjoying music by the Boonville Big Band and a locally-catered lunch.
SOMEONE OR SOMEONES tried to disable Therese Brendlin’s truck last week where it was parked off Lambert Lane. Therese suspects some kind of glue was dumped in her gas tank. She’s offering a small reward for any information leading to the arrest of the baddies who did it, and you can reach her 391-8708.
DESPITE AN UNHINGED campaign to derail her by a determined cadre of female Boonville school employees, supported by several behind-the-scenes men including Mr. Burble Gurble of Boonville, Michelle Hutchins won election as County Superintendent of Schools. According to the County’s individual precinct data for the four Anderson Valley precincts — Boonville, Navarro, Philo and Yorkville — Mrs. Hutchins beat Ukiah Assistant Superintendent Bryan Barrett in Boonville by 49 to 46; in Navarro by 28 to 19, and Yorkville by 18 to 17. Hutchins, for some obscure and unknown reason, lost big in Philo, 37 to 88. So overall in Anderson Valley where her opposition exhausted itself slandering her, Hutchins garnered 132 votes while her slo-mo opponent, Assistant Superintendent of the Ukiah Schools, Bryan Barrett, managed an underwhelming 170 votes.
IN THE REST of the County, Hutchins won 52% of the vote to about 47.5% overall for Barrett. Hutchins’ biggest margins of victory were in Comptche, Laytonville, Cleone, Covelo, Orr Springs, and Point Arena and, I might add, strong sales areas for Boonville’s beloved community newspaper.
BARRETT predictably won in his home town of Ukiah and its ancillary bastion of Potter Valley, but Hutchins won everywhere else.
SO IT SEEMS many voters perceived the election for County Schools Superintendent as an insider vs. outsider race, since most of Hutchins’ votes were — with the exception of Philo — from areas far from Ukiah.
NOW it will be up to Superintendent elect Hutchins to show those outlying districts if she can steer the good ship MCOE into some tangible benefits for all the students of the County.
BOOK SALE! The Unity Club’s AV Community Library's $4 a bag book sale will run until July 31st. That is also our last open day, then we close for the summer. So come on in and stock up on your summer reading. We are open Tuesday from 1:30-4:30, Saturday 2-4, located in the Home Arts Bldg. at the Fairgrounds. —Elizabeth Dusenberry
PLEASED TO SEE this South Coast note on MCN: “The Evergreen Cemetery in Manchester, and like many on the Coast, is a Pioneer Cemetery. Unlike some, however, the Manchester Cemetery is not in a cemetery district and there are no public funds to maintain it. It is on County land, not owned by anyone. The first burials go back before Statehood. There is a cleanup day today (Sunday) starting at 10 am. If you can only help for a few minutes, come on by. Or come by and learn how you can help later. Or just come by and share any history you know of the cemetery and the people buried there. The cemetery is at the intersection of Mountain View Road and Highway 1."
MY OLD FRIEND Arline Day rests at this cemetery. She descended from one of first settler families at Point Arena, and had been married to Richard Day of the Day Ranch at Philo, now the Standish Winery. Between the two of them there was a world of early Mendocino County history. Mr. Day, for instance, remembers, as a small boy, Daniel Jeans, a former slave, pulling up his shirt to show the Valley young 'uns the legacy whip marks on his back.
THE JEANS family homesteaded the area called Ham Canyon due west of the Anderson Valley Elementary School, now part of the June Ranch. Daniel Jeans arrived in Boonville in 1870, married a Native American woman whose name is lost to history, cleared the land where the Little Red School House now sits, and lived out his days on his thriving little farm.
ALSO INTERRED at Manchester are Mary and Gene Scaramella, parents of the redoubtable Mark Scaramella of Boonville. From the post-clean-up photos at the indispensable MendocinoSportPlus the volunteer crew who performed this invaluable public service did a fine job.
FROM THE AVA ARCHIVE: Charmian Blattner remembers meeting the granddaughter of Henry Wightman, the man who built Reilly Heights and what used to be known as the Banks House on the south side of the Elementary School. The Banks House became the residence of John Scharffenberger and is now the home of Michael and Susan Addison. “Not only was this house,” Charmian writes, “and the Reilly Heights home built by Henry Wightman, but he built the Con Creek School and assisted in the building of the New Boonville Hotel and Boonville's Methodist Church. Wightman's wife Julia died in 1900, leaving her husband with their daughter Pearl, 3, to raise. According to his granddaughter Virginia, her grandfather stayed in this community until about 1903 when he moved to Chico and later Briceland (Humboldt County) where he continued as a contractor specializing in distinctive buildings.” Wightman's descendants included William and Marianne Pinches of Willits. The Pinches' are related to supervisor John Pinches who also maintains a home in Willits and the family's pioneer ranch east of Laytonville overlooking the Eel River.
THE CON CREEK SCHOOL Charmian refers to is now The Valley's museum housed in what is known locally as “the little red school house.” When Wightman built it he was assisted by Daniel Jeans, a former slave, who arrived in Anderson Valley in 1870. Jeans homesteaded the area off Ornbaun Road called Ham Canyon, probably an Old Testament reference to black people as the sons of Ham.
BUT THE ANDERSON VALLEY is more and more transient, long time residents here today seemingly gone the same afternoon. Attorney Geraldine Rose's home on the lower Peachland has been sold and Geraldine whisked away by her sister to a care home in the East. Gene and Richard Herr are also being cared for out of the Valley. The Herrs were prominent in the life of this place for many years, as was Anna Taylor of Navarro who now lives in a care home in Sonoma County.
THE CALTRANS STRIPING on our end of the Ukiah Road is kinda dizzying, wobbling this way and that to where I was asking myself, "Am I woozy or are the freshly painted center lines wandering all over the place?" I think it's the stripes.
DEPENDING on your weather report, it was between 99 and 102 in Boonville by 3pm most days since last Wednesday. A brisk, gusting breeze was blowing and you could almost hear a collective prayer go up, "No fire today, please Lord."
YOU'RE AN OLD TIMER IF....
…You remember when the Little Red Schoolhouse faced Highway 128 (now Anderson Valley Way) and served as the kindergarten classroom.
…You were a customer of the pharmacy situated at the south end of Boonville.
…You were a patient of Dr. Bradford.
…You drank water or filled your car’s radiator from the “1912” water trough situated on Highway 128 a mile south of the Mendocino County line. (After a long hiatus, it again had water a few years back, but has since gone dry).
MARGARET ANDERSON WRITES: "We had our 40th AV Jr High reunion this past Saturday at Hendy Woods! Sarah’s (Morrisette) visiting from Vienna and we’d concected with folks on Facebook and arranged a gathering. Just seven of us and some spouses were there, but it was really nice. Some of us are going to get together at the fair in September and potentially make it an annual event because others were interested in meeting but couldn’t. Gregory Price almost came with his wife. He’s going to attempt to come up for the fair. There are some photos on Facebook Panthers Middle School Reunion 1978. Some funny before and after images…"
JULIE LIEBENBAUM is one among many locals raving, nay rapturous, about the Flynn Creek Circus, and, no, this is not a couple of hippie kids from Rancho Navarro doing sommersaults, but as wonderful a big time circus as any you'll see. Might be one more local performance on the Coast, but if you get a chance, go!