THE SAD NEWS reached us Sunday that Carroll Pratt had suffered a terrible fall at his Philo home, injuring himself so severely he had to be airlifted to Ukiah where he remains, as of Tuesday afternoon, on life support systems.
WEDNESDAY, the 17th, beginning at 5:30pm, the Community Services District Board will attempt to resolve the ongoing mini-controversy that some people contend diverts local property tax revenue from fire fighting to, specifically, youth recreation. Not that anyone begrudges youth their organized amusements, but the question has arisen how to pay for it.
WE'RE SORRY to see advertised the CSD general manager position presently occupied by Serina Wallace who commutes to Boonville from her home in Redwood Valley. She has always been a friendly, helpful presence at the Boonville Fire House and we're sorry to see her go.
THE TOLL HOUSE INN will be hosting an open house this Thursday afternoon, November 11th, from 5-7pm. "Everyone," says Jeanne Eliades, "is invited to visit the renovated inn while enjoying wild mushroom appetizers from Boont Berry and wine provided by Handley Cellars."
IT HAD to be a record when the Anderson Valley Panthers defeated Potter Valley, at PV, 68-64 last Friday night. Garrett Mazzanato scored Anderson Valley's clinching touchdowns as Mike Blackburn, who ran wild all night with two long touchdown runs called back, and the rest of the exhausted Panthers considered a game that ran up 132 total points and didn't end until after midnight. Omar Benevides, Jason Sanchez, Junior Mendoza, and Marcos Espinoza also playing outstanding football. The referees, by the way, again failed to show up on time, being an hour and a half late, hence the post-midnight finish. They'd gone to Laytonville, apparently standing around in the dark until someone said, "Hey! The game's in Potter Valley." And when the refs did show up in Potter Valley, they repeatedly hammered Anderson Valley with otherwise invisible penalties. The Panthers finish their season this Friday night in Laytonville, kickoff at 7.
IN OTHER sports news, Coach Steve Sparks boy's soccer team is again in the running for the small school championship. They play Drew School of San Francisco tonight (November 10th) at the Boonville Fairgrounds, 7pm. If the local boys get past Drew, they'll play for the championship here, Saturday, November 13th, 2pm.
RAYMOND SCARAMELLA of Manchester said he saw 30-odd wild pigs near the Piper Ranch turnout last Sunday when he and his wife Sadie came over to see how daughter Shelley’s new business, the Boonville Saloon, was doing. He said he hadn’t seen a herd that big since back in the 1970s. Mr. Scaramella’s old ‘gun-sticks” are hung on the wall of the Saloon. Gun-sticks are an instrument that looks like a giant compass, the kind of compass used to draw circles, not the kind used to find magnetic north. They were used to find the backcut when falling giant redwoods. The old veteran of the woods said the biggest redwood he fell in these parts was over 40,000 board feet of timber. — Bruce McEwen
I ATTENDED the Veteran’s Day services at Evergreen Cemetery Sunday morning, along with well over 60 other locals who have a place of honor in their hearts for fallen soldiers, airmen, seamen, marines. Steve Sparks — one of the most civic-minded men I’ve met — was responsible for initiating the ceremony. In the words of novelist Leslie Marmon Silko, ceremonies are what give communities meaning, continuity and dignity. And this one provided all of the above. It was a bit too religious for me, me being such an inveterate sinner and all. There were lots of hymns to the accompaniment of the marvelous local musician Lynn Archambault on her accordion and the plenty of prayers. A couple of professional actors, Joe Petelle and Patty Liddy, read some letters from soldiers and parents that made me regret leaving my handkerchief at home. An honor guard from the American Legion Post came to attention and shouldered their M-1 Grand rifles for a 21-gun salute. Joe Petelle picked up his trombone and blew Taps. The crowd filed past and set their poppies on the wall where the names of the local veterans’ names are enshrined. We adjourned to Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville – another dedicated champion of the community — and while the others drank coffee and tea, Steve and I held our noses and choked down a salute in the form of beer to all those who didn’t make it. — Bruce McEwen
OUR NEWLY ELECTED supervisor, Dan Hamburg, earned my respect by attending the Memorial Day service. I should probably add that my newspaper is staffed by three veterans: The editor and I served in the Marines, Mark Scaramella in the Air Force. As for Hamburg, the campaign was over. He needn’t have turned out to help commemorate a tradition whose constituency probably voted for his opponent, but there he was, and good on him. I had attended his victory party at the Boonville Hotel on Tuesday night. I had seen Dan and his lovely wife Carrie at Lauren’s earlier that day, but had no idea what was afoot. I went to the Saloon to see if any election returns were on the TV, but Vince and Marsha were watching Marie Osmond Dancing with the Stars. Along comes Dan’s wife Carrie who sits down beside me. Carrie had her son and daughter in tow. They had a drink and graciously invited me to the Hotel to join the party. What the hey! The place was packed! I was warmly received by Dan’s campaign manager, daughter Laura Hamburg, whom I’d met before, at the County Fair, our booths being adjacent, and met dozens of people I’d only heretofore heard of: local celebs like writer Carol Brodsky and Beth ‘The Relentless’ Bosk, to name a couple I’d been dying to meet. I was wined and dined and repaired outside for some air where I discovered my own kind — a clutch of journalists smoking cigarettes around a campfire. They worked for a food magazine based in San Francisco. I bummed a cigarette and we chatted excitedly about the difference between cut-lines and captions, call-outs and color separations, paperweights and pressruns. Suddenly, there was a bunch of people standing around us, calling for quiet; hushing us like librarians with their tortoiseshell half-frame reading glasses on ends of their snoots and their forefingers to their lips. Someone threw wood on the fire and everyone formed a huge ring. Then they joined hands. The woman on my left fumbled for mine, and the fellow to my right extended his. I joined up, against my better judgment. There was some head hanging and silence, which was fine, I guess. Then a reassuring squeeze from each of my neighbors. Somebody started singing the chorus to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Ok, fine. But then some fanatic got hung up on the verse about the Lord and wanted it sung again, “this time with *feeling!” she insisted. At this point, I got scared. An emotional current charged through the joined hands. It was like standing in a puddle by the flooded washing machine and trying to pull the plug on a 220 volt dryer. I threw both hands in the air and said. “Oh no you don’t!” Then the speeches started. I noticed that the photojournalist seated next me seemed unconscious. I touched her foot and asked if she were asleep. “No, just bored,” she said. So was I. I got up and went home. A guy can stand only so much of this kind of thing. — Bruce McEwen
YOU WON'T want to miss the student piano recital this Saturday afternoon at Lauren's, 3pm. She's wayyyyyy too modest to advertise her gifts, but Lynn Archambault's superior teaching ability is always obvious in her students who will perform Saturday at Lauren's.
DEPUTY SQUIRES, working with the Ukiah police, quickly figured out who had broken into a Yorkville house in the hills east of Meyer Family Cellars. The two perps, assumed to be strung out on methamphetamine, took several rifles, a shotgun and two handguns. They have been identified as James Miller, 23, of Ukiah; and David Andrews, 25, also of Ukiah. Miller had recently worked as a painter at the home. He was heavily charged and is being held on $105,000 bail. Andrews' bail was set at $35,000.
A CALLER DEMANDED, "What happened on Halloween? You guys didn't even mention it." Nothing happened on Halloween, which is why we didn't mention it. Both deputies, Squires and Walker, said all was quiet.
PAULLEN SEVERN-WALSH, son of David Severn and Mary Walsh, recently married and now a father himself, impressed stunned onlookers at Navarro last Friday about 3pm when a Coast-bound vehicle suddenly tumbled off Highway 128 at Navarro not far from where Paullen and several other Deependers stood. Paullen rushed to the car where a woman, subsequently identified as Sandra Baldocchi, 69, sat stunned in the wreckage. Paullen yanked open the now hatch-like passenger-side door and helped the conscious but shaken senior out of the calamitous remains of her car, then assisted her to the roadside to await help. Other Deependers offered the driver assistance. She'd apparently suffered little more than a seatbelt burn sustained in the assistance, transferring her car full of belongings and recent purchases to other cars, then drove them to the woman's Little River home. “It was nothing short of heroic,” said Deepender David Jones of Severn-Walsh’s quick response. “It puts the lie to the negative image some people have of Navarro, too,” adding, “I guess the lesson is, if you’re going to have an accident, have it in Navarro.”
MELISSA DAVIS, formerly of Philo, reports that her son, Steve Davis, an Army Staff Sergeant, is doing well as a paratrooper squad leader, having recently returned from his second tour in Afghanistan. Sgt. Davis is now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he lives with his wife, Julianne. He’s put in his papers for helicopter pilot training and, with any luck, will be a warrant officer chopper pilot in a few years.
NAVARRO RESIDENTS Paullen Severn-Walsh and Liz Knight welcomed their first-born son, Forrest Dean Severn, on October 23rd, 2010. The healthy infant has a shock of jet black hair and is now happily at home. The grandparents are Mary Walsh, Albion; David Severn, Philo; and Ann and Adrian Knight of Navarro.
WE HAVE NOT yet received the agenda for the November 17 Community Services District Board meeting but Board Chair Diane Paget has requested that an item described as “Starting in Fiscal Year 2011-2012, the basic administrative costs of the Anderson Valley Community Services District should be funded with Property Tax revenue.” If you’re like us, you might think that this is already the case. But apparently not. This is part of the CSD Board’s ongoing discussion of how to handle the cost of administration of the Recreation Committee and the Teen Center and whether a small amount of the money now allocated to the Fire Department should be used to cover general administration including administration of the Recreation Committee and Teen Center.
OH DEAR. San Francisco Chronicle wine writer Jon Bonne, in a recent article about the problems facing Anderson Valley pinot grape growers, said that besides some pinot grapes from the 2008 vintage — the ones which were hit by the lightning fires all over the area — having “smoky scents and flavors,” some wines “were also saddled with an ashy, bitter aftertaste not entirely unlike gargling the remnants of an ashtray.”
SURELY, the Mendocino County Promotional Alliance, which is supposed to be playing up the wonders of Mendocino and its wines, didn’t approve of such a description of Anderson Valley’s pinot wines. They’re having enough of a problem with the general economic downturn, and don’t need such negativity from the Chronicle wine writers. “The situation was worsened,” Bonne went on, “as winemakers tell it, by media chatter about the smoke, including a page-one Wall Street Journal story in March that divulged the Valley's ashy little secret. Tasters inevitably were swayed by the power of suggestion, finding smoke in every glass.” Bonne also noted that some wineries “declassified their entire production,” and “the ever-popular Navarro Vineyards shifted their red wines under a second label, Indian Creek, slashing prices and even unveiling a ‘Wildfire Offering’.” Boonville vintner Mary Elke is quoted saying that she bottled magnums of her 2008 single-vineyard Donnelly Creek “just to thumb my nose at everybody.” Mrs. Elke “put her wines through reverse osmosis to remove some smoke effects, and toned down the new oak, but she too found prejudice from most buyers. So she's selling a lot of Pinot to pour by the glass. Of an initial 1,200 cases of her Anderson Valley bottling, she has just 300 left. But she'd rather put the vintage, and the wines, behind her. “Some of them are delicious, and it's just a shame that we're stuck,” she told the Chronicle.
STILL NEED local vegetables? Come to the Boonville Winter Market on Lauren’s Porch (inside if it's too wet or cold) from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday mornings, beginning November 13. (There will not be a market on Saturday, November 27th, due to the Thanksgiving weekend.) Have garden produce, other food or crafts to sell? Try the Winter Market. Call Diane (895-3354) or Cindy (895-2949) for information about selling at this informal market. (This market is in place of the AV Grange Mart.) — Cindy Wilder
THAT HOT PURSUIT through downtown Boonville Monday night commenced about 6pm and ended an hour later when the suspected drunk driver was located at an Airport Estates address.
WE'RE LOOKING forward to seeing the smallest cow in the world, born right here in the Anderson Valley on Signal Ridge. The Guinness Book of Records says a tiny cow born in England measuring 33 and one-half inches, is the smallest. Nope, Alex Waldron of Philo says his 32-inch bovine is clearly the smallest in the world. Alex has invited us and other media to see for ourselves on Thursday. Stay tuned.
THE TOLL HOUSE INN will host an open house this Thursday, tomorrow, November 11th from 5-7pm. Stop by and check out the newly renovated Inn while enjoying wild mushroom appetizers from Boont Berry and wine from Handley Cellars. — Jeanne Eliades
FROM MONDAY'S SF CHRON: “Robert Mailer Anderson, who attended that recent Palo Alto fundraiser with President Obama, says he used the occasion to chew the president's ear (those ears are funny looking, said Michelle Obama in her speech a few days later) about SFJazz, and problems of homelessness and joblessness in Boonville, Anderson's home town. As the president began to make his way from the table, Anderson stood to say goodbye, ‘and all I could muster for the leader of the free world was a heavy sigh and, “Take care, man.” He patted me on the shoulder commiseratively and said, “You take care, bro”.’”