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Valley People (Aug. 22, 2018)


There will be a memorial for Larry Smith this Saturday, August 25th, 2018, at 11:00AM at the Evergreen Cemetary in Boonville. All are welcome.

AN INTERIM superintendent has been selected for the Boonville schools. Formal confirmation and identification was made after we went to press at Tuesday night’s meeting of the school board. We are reliably informed, however, that he is a he, that he’s retired, that he’s from Grass Valley, and that he’s looking for housing. The new guy succeeds Mrs. Hutchins, who has won election to Superintendent of all Mendocino County schools.

PALMA TOOHEY REPORTING: This Friday night the Panthers kick off the season against the visiting Cornerstone Christian Cougars of Antioch. The Panthers are young this year, with only 2 players having any high school football experience. Of the 14 players on the roster, there is only a combined 3 seasons of experience between them. The two returning players are Linebacker and Wing back Caleb Devine-Gomes (senior) who is returning after a break out season last year, and Irlene Perez (sophomore) who is moving to Quarterback after seeing limited but impressive time at wide receiver as a freshman. The departure of key players due to transfers and unfortunate influences, has opened the door for this young group to seize the opportunity for playing time and important game experience as the program progresses. Please come support our young team as they represent our school and our community! Go Panthers! Friday Night. 6pm. Mendocino County Fairgrounds 

A BOONVILLE WOMAN of some years received a scam call from a young woman claiming (1) to be her granddaughter and (2) to be in serious trouble that would take $800 to get her out of. The Boonville woman immediately referred the young crook to “your mother, who has a lot more money than I do.” The phone scammer hung up. “Funny thing is,” the Boonville woman says, “she sounded exactly like my granddaughter!” The real granddaughter soon reassured Gran, “I don’t drink or do drugs. No way it could have been me.” This particular swindle is, however, often effective with the elderly. The San Francisco police have often warned the elderly against it.

SCANNER DRAMA: The machine crackled to life at 7:45pm Sunday with a report from the CalFire Station in Boonville that a 35-year-old "10-31" (suicidal) subject was at the station. CalFire requested that the Mendocino Sheriff office respond. A patrol unit asked for the subject's name - he was positively identified and dispatch warned there was a "flag" on the subject as being "hostile to law enforcement." A responding unit acknowledged they've "dealt with him before." A deputy soon reported that a family member had taken their troubled relative in hand. 

TOM TOWEY, publican par excellante, and the popular former proprietor of the Buckhorn Pub in Boonville, is back behind the plank on Sunday mornings at the Buckhorn. Stop in for one of Tom’s classic morning drinks and dependably memorable repartee. 

SIGNS OF THE TIME: The Anderson Valley Food Bank has published an urgent request for donations of money and food. Demand has outstripped the Bank's ability to provide assistance. The collection point is the Boonville Methodist Church in downtown Boonville at 13850 Highway 128. Donations can be mailed to Anderson Valley Food Bank, PO Box 692, Boonville CA 95415.

RENTALS in the Anderson Valley? Don’t even ask, although old timers will remember when you could have rented the whole town for $200 a month, Mary and Joseph themselves could find nary a manger these days.

A SMALL WILDLAND FIRE that broke out on Comptche-Ukiah Road on the Coast end of the old road was quickly extinguished by local firefighters a little after 5pm Friday, but not before spooking the local scanner brigades who, like all of us in the outback, live in a state of perpetual fire-fear these endlessly dry days. By 5:30 a Coast firefighter reported to Howard Forest that they were mopping up and responding units could be canceled.

SO FAR this fraught fire season our volunteers and CalFire, reinforced by inmate crews, managed to efficiently stifle two fires that could easily have blown up into full disasters if it weren’t from the fast and effective local response to them. Both the Octopus Mountain blaze and the Farrer fire on Rays Road in Philo coulda, woulda, shoulda been a lot worse than they were. (Still no announcement as to how these two fires started.)

Certified Organic - Certified Biodynamic
11750 Anderson Valley Way,
Boonville, CA 95415

Open Friday-Monday from 10am till 4pm

Maiden's Blush Apples, Red Gravenstein Apples, Asian Pears, Blueberries, Cherry Tomatoes, Early Girl Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Kohlrabi, Lemon Cucumbers, Melons, Watermelons, Green Beans, Celery, Olive Oil, Hot Peppers…

MARY PAT PALMER dines out: "Poleeko: Philo. The second largest town in Anderson Valley, located 6 miles west of Boonville. (During elections in the early days, town issues were decided by a narrow margin of votes. Boonters said they 'eeked it out at the polls' hence they became known as 'poll eekers'.) And the Poleeko RoadHouse makes a very fine fish and chips. Grilled fish was excellent."

THE ‘GREAT DAY IN ELK’ is August 25, 2018: Parade at noon, followed by afternoon carnival, food, activities and live entertainment. Barbecued Tri-tip or veggie dinner 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. benefit for the Greenwood Community Center in Elk. For more information go to or email No dogs please.


  • Cherry, Early Girl & Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Zucchini, Zappallito & Patty Pan Squash
  • Corno di Toro, Gypsy, Bells, Pimiento Sweet Peppers
  • Padron, Jalapeno, Anaheim, Poblano Chilis
  • Rosa Bianca, Black & Asian Eggplant
  • Basil, Parsley, Purslane, Garlic & Cucumbers
  • Strawberries, Sunflowers & Zinnias

Blue Meadow Farm 3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo 707- 895-2071

KAREN OTTOBONI, a long-time member of the Anderson Valley Elderhome Board of Directors, and a pioneer Back-to-the-Lander, attended last Wednesday night's Community Services District board meeting to address a complaint about the community garden at the Elderhome filed by Jeff and Donna Pugh of Boonville. The Pughs are worried that the gardens at the Elderhome’s Community Garden — rented by locals to grow their own produce — are too close to the Elderhome’s leach field, thus posing a possible threat to the health of the people who might consume the vegetables grown in the planters and small gardens adjacent to the drainage.

THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT is only tangentially related to the operation of the Elderhome or the community garden project, but does provides basic liability insurance under the district's insurance umbrella, thus saving the garden project about $275 a year in insurance fees. (The Community Garden offers 20 raised beds for gardeners “with low mobility” and 10 in-ground beds for local, primarily low-income families with limited garden space of their own.)

MS. OTTOBONI took the Pughs’ complaint seriously and looked into the issue at length, doing extensive research and speaking to several local former environmental health officials, all of whom said there was no cause for concern. Nevertheless, the Elderhome has arranged to have the gardens inspected by the consultant who designed the gardens and annual tests will continue to be conducted by the County to make sure the Elderhome’s septic system is functioning properly and does not contaminate the vegetables being grown in the planter boxes.

THE PUGHS — Mr. Pugh is a retired local water and pump system installer; Ms. Pugh is the retired elementary school principal — have been working with semi-retired Philo attorney Bill ‘Wild Bill’ Sterling who wrote what Ms. Ottoboni described as “a lawyer letter” to the Elderhome expressing similar concerns about the garden project’s proximity to the leachfield.

ACCORDING to a memo written by Ms. Ottoboni for the Elderhome in response to the Pughs, "We have been able to find no scientific evidence that plants uptake pathogens through the root systems. The studies indicate that plants do not update pathogens through their roots. Standing black water is what poses a threat of contamination. The Elderhome septic system is functioning well as designed. Therefore one can conclude that there is no potential contamination. We have and will continue to inform the community gardeners of our findings if any new information may arise. And we will address all the recommendations and continue with regular inspections.”

THE COMMUNITY SERVICES board of directors was satisfied with Ms. Ottoboni’s presentation and unanimously agreed to continue covering the garden project under the district's insurance policy.

THIS IS ALL rather ironic given the nearby Haehl Street neighborhood whose residents seem none the worse for living on top of each other’s wells and septic arrangements that pre-date World War Two. (Mark Scaramella)

AT LAST REPORT, the long-delayed request for proposals (RFP) for the Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) for ambulance services in the Highway 101 corridor and Anderson Valley has been reviewed and approved by state emergency services and has been returned to the Sonoma County-based semi-private emergency services outfit called Coastal Valley Emergency Medical Services.

LOCAL FIRE OFFICIALS remain skeptical that the RFP will be issued anytime soon, even though County officials — who decided last year to discontinue their arrangement with Coastal Valley EMS because of their unavailability during last fall’s devastating wildfires in Redwood and Potter Valley — seem to think that the RFP will be issued soon and the potential bidders for the ambulance services in the Ukiah Valley area can begin to prepare their bids.

SO FAR AS WE KNOW only two companies have expressed interest in bidding to do the awful business of transporting the medically imperiled — MedStar (formerly Ukiah) Ambulance Service, the longtime service provider in the Ukiah area, and Verihealth Ambulance Service, a subsidiary of the huge Falck conglomerate out of Denmark, which began competing for ambulance calls in the Ukiah area a few years ago, precipitating the need for the exclusive operating area contract.

NO ONE OUTSIDE the preparers of the RFP at Coastal Valley EMS and the state authorities who reviewed it has seen the RFP. So no one knows the degree to which it might affect the Anderson Valley ambulance. It will probably depend upon how the RFP is structured, what relationship is called for with Anderson Valley, and who wins the exclusive contract. The AV Ambulance has had a long-standing good relationship with MedStar and their staff, but not with Verihealth. (Whoever thought the Danes, of all people, would be regarded with suspicion.)

MY FAVE HEALDSBURG RESTAURANT is Carl's Jr., the only place downtown where there's always parking in the tourist-clogged little gem of a town, and the coffee is quite good without your suffering behind some narcissist ordering a triple decaf latte. Yeah, yeah, I know there are a lot of entitled people around these days, people who behave like they're the very cynosure of all the world's attention, but Healdsburg being a kind of rural headquarters of the nouveau accumulating classes, there's more of them there than Mendocino, even. I do my halfway pit stop to and from the city at Carl's in Healdsburg where the counter people are also Senior Citizens whose citizenship has bought them post-retirement employment with big bills to pay raising grandkids whose parents are on dope. One old girl, at least my age, shuffles around so painfully she makes my feet hurt.

THE SEA OF MACADAM in which Carl Jr. and his ancient staff float stretches from his hamburger emporium north about a quarter mile to include some forty businesses, anchored by a mammoth Safeway. Pulling in, I spot a bumpersticker that makes me laugh. "Fuckin' kids," it says. I remember that one often being yelled at me and my friends when, during various teen hijinks, some spoil sport of a male adult (women didn't swear in those days) would invariably lay it on us. One night, piling over the fence of a midnight motel to go for a swim, the night clerk comes hustling out. "Outtahere now or I'm calling the cops!" One of my comrades, famous for his initiative and regarded by all adults as a major pain, leaped from the pool, ran right up to the guy and screamed in his face, "Weren't you ever a kid, you prick?"

MY OLDEST FRIEND all the way back to kindergarden and I happened to touch on the Catholics we went to school with, priestly predation being much in the news. None of the young papists in my memory were given to piety, but every Friday they were dismissed early for "catechism," instruction in the faith theoretically, but viewed by them simply as an unsupervised few minutes to dick off as they slowly made their way down the street to the church. "I wonder if any of those guys were molested by the priests?" I mused. My friend replied, “Those guys? If anything, they molested the priests!”

THE BIG SENIOR CENTER LABOR DAY FLEA MARKET is set for Aug. 31 to Sep. 3 Spaces can be reserved through the Center (895-3609) or Dave at 895-2325.)

HERE’S A REPEAT from Mr. Ideas: The sad news that Laytonville High School is unable to field a football team this season is another sign that small school football in Mendocino County is dying, as are some of the schools themselves who suffer declining enrollment. My idea, which I hope will be considered and then sponsored by the County Office of Education, is for the small schools to field a combined team that would compete up a league with Cloverdale, Fort Bragg, Willits and so on. In every school district, there are a few kids who really want to play and have a gift for the game. A combined small school team would be able to hold its own with the larger schools, maybe even dominate them from time to time.

ANNOYED OPINION shared by millions: NFL pre-season games and NFL refs. The season should just start without a bunch of fake games that are really only scrimmages, and the refs are ruining the game with endless and endlessly disruptive petty calls, like they did during the Niner’s game Saturday night.

QUESTIONNAIRE OF THE WEEK from the Anderson Valley Health Center:

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