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Valley People (Nov. 21, 2018)

THE GREENWOOD ROAD HOME of Ken and Joanadell Hurst was destroyed by fire early Friday morning. The Hursts are Valley old timers. Ken Hurst is a frequent contributor and a long time friend of the ava. Neither Ken nor Joanadel were injured in the blaze, which also destroyed outbuildings. We haven’t been able to reach the Hursts, but they’ve got to know their many friends in the Anderson Valley are standing by to provide whatever help they may need.

YOUR COMMUNITY HOLIDAY DINNER is about to be served. Call Rainbow, 895-3807 or email to volunteer and make this a smooth and pleasant community dinner. Announcing the 2018 Annual Holiday Community Potluck Dinner sponsored by the AV Grange and AV Foodshed. Sunday, December 9, 5:30pm. At the AV Grange Hall.

BOONVILLE’S CASSIDY HOLLINGER has been very sick and needs the support of her home community. Cassidy writes: “As many of you know - especially if you followed my social media meme journey - this past spring I entered Kings County Hospital for what I thought was a minor infection...and boy was I in for a treat. Here's the tea: we found a congenital defect in my right kidney harboring a staph infection, requiring an emergency surgery that night and a 4-day stint in the ICU (105.7 degree fever is FEELIN' HOT HOT HOT). That's when we found the good stuff: a fatal heart infection (endocarditis, just like on "House"!) requiring six weeks of daily IV treatments. I spent 44 days in that palace, and returned for a total kidney reconstruction a few days later. I have since had another surgery, and will have to continue to have follow-ups for the next year/the rest of my life.

As you might imagine, this is not cheap, and IT'S TIME: the bills unfortunately are coming due. I'm raising funds to cover the medical bills and the regular bills that incurred while I was stuck in there (ain't no party like a Brooklyn-rent party cuz a Brooklyn-rent party don't stop). I know everyone says this, but every little bit helps, especially if you can share this on social media with your friends. And there will be prizes (TBA) - including but not limited to: a narrated slideshow of hospital memes, me cooking for you (I'm good!), and even stand-up performance(s)! Love to you all, and thank you in advance!

A MOUNTAIN LION has been spotted, and heard, in the area of the Philo Grange, reminding us all that as soon as we’re off the pavement in the Anderson Valley, it’s still a wild, wild place.

ANDERSON VALLEY’S Future Farmers of America, spearheaded by the 8th grade FFA members, are starting 2 community service projects. Both begin now and end on Dec 14th. The first project is called $5 for Life. They are seeking donations of $5 or more from community members. The donations will be used to purchase gift cards for victims of the #CampFire. The FFA members will be putting containers around the valley for donations. You may also bring monetary donations to the high school. You may purchase gift cards and donate those. We want to make sure fire victims receive the donations before Christmas. Our FFA chapter is working with the California FFA on this project. The second project is a Canned Food Drive for the Food Bank. The members plan to put collection boxes at various locations around the valley. They are hoping you will donate non-perishable food and/or pairs of new warm socks. If you have questions you may message me, Beth Swehla, or call my classroom at 895-2514.

Thank you for continuing to support the AVHS Agriculture Program and students. The FFA members look forward to helping our community.

TAKE a shorthanded rural ambulance service and add Tom Melcher, a guy truly deserving of an Above and Beyond award, not that any of Anderson Valley's ambulance volunteers are any less deserving.

HERE'S THE STORY: Antoinette von Grone and Thom Elkjer, the seemingly indefatigable husband and wife team who are on-call for days at a time, took a rare break from their grinding ambulance duties for some rare time off, leaving town for three weeks. Melcher, a former resident of Navarro and a fully certified emergency services provider with the perennially short-handed Anderson Valley Ambulance, flew back to The Valley from his new home in Vermont to fill in for Antoinette and Thom while they were away, staying in their Boonville home while he made himself available round-the-clock to respond to the usual variety of local disasters.


MELCHER covered 18 shifts over the three weeks, keeping the ambulance in full response mode when it would otherwise have been mostly out of service. Fortunately, there were not many calls and things worked out just fine. But it wouldn't have worked out well if it weren't for Melcher.

IT ALL GOES to show how difficult it is to recruit, train and keep EMTs and to keep our struggling ambulance service alive if a magnanimous dude has to fly clear across the country to respond to our emergencies.

AMBULANCE MANAGER Clay Eubank covers a lot of shifts himself, much as Dave Severn did not long ago, the whole of it being that Anderson Valley Ambulance needs people to step up to keep this invaluable life saving service fully alive — if not as an EMT, then as a driver.

WE'VE BEEN COMPLAINING about Glen Ricard's kindling pile at the south end of Boonville for many years, yowling on and on about how it was once home to six separate small businesses, including the fledgling Anderson Valley Health Center prior to its present incarnation as Taj Ma Medico. That once thriving little hive of mostly free enterprise at the corner of Haehl Street and 128 wound down and down and finally collapsed. Enter Ricard who, as I recall, bought the property from Fred Ottoboni. Ricard submitted a viable plan for a whole new structure with several apartments on a second floor, shop space below. And this is the part we didn't know, and I'm taking this opportunity to apologize to the old buzzard, er, Mendocino property investor. We didn't know that Planning and Building demanded that Ricard install an elevator to reach his proposed second floor! An elevator for a minor project in Boonville? How about an escalator for Philo? A helipad for the Navarro Store? A ski lift for Yorkville? And that was the end of Ricard's plans for a major improvement for SoBo, and the rambling, abandoned structure has lain a'mouldering ever since.

THE CONSENSUS opinion here at Boonville's beloved weekly about the proposed water and sewage project is that we think it all depends on how much these services are likely to cost individual property owners per month. Anything over $50 bucks for both is going to be a hard sell because monthly rates that climb much over that amount will be onerous for many of us.

REGINE BOUDOURES moved to Anderson Valley from Santa Rosa in 2010 to be closer to family and community. "I had talked to Colin [about joining the fire department] when I moved to Yorkville but with a young son it didn't seem possible. After Cyrus was born and he started having his seizures and where we were living was so isolated, I decided to take the EMT class. When we moved up on Greenwood I joined the Elk Fire Department and worked as an EMT there and it snowballed to AV. I just love it. It's something I never think twice about, I just really enjoy doing it."


MIKE MANNIX is a familiar face in Boonville, with family ties to AVFD (his uncle Homer Mannix was once the department Chief). He joined the Ambulance crew in 2014 after taking the EMT class in Boonville. He did it for the challenge, to connect with the community, and out of a sense of civic responsibility. When AVFD and AV Ambulance merged last year, he came on board as a water tender operator. He'd been an EMT and firefighter in Colorado in the early '90s, first training as a fire fighter. "Before, it was 'drive the red truck with the lights flashing.' Then I became an EMT and it was less fun but more serious, more satisfying. You get an immediate sense of being a helpful person."


WHY NOT DISNEYLAND? Georgeanne Croskey, our lame duck Third District Supervisor, recently received a warm and costly sendoff from county taxpayers in the form of an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC, where she learned lots of important cool stuff about running local government operations. Ms. Croskey will be able to share all this with her new friends and neighbors in Dayton, Ohio, where she long ago notified the county she’d be heading when her term ended, which is now. Cost to citizens? A lot. Benefit to citizens? Zero, but who cares? 

— Tommy Wayne Kramer

NEGATIVE FEEDBACK re the introduction of a possible water and sewer system for Boonville meeting back on November 1 has our Community Services District board on its heels.

Board Chair Valerie Hanelt opened the water/sewer discussion at CSD’s regular Board meeting Wednesday night with, “We have the community's attention now!" — nevermind that the Board has been working on and publicizing their plans for several years now.

The bulk of the complaints seem to be focused on the proposed sewer system and assumptions of the odor that would come with it even though the engineers have tried to assure the locals that the processed effluent will not only be odor free, but covered by a tarp most of the time.

So, Hanelt said, they have started looking at different spray areas for processed effluent farther from downtown Boonville but perhaps closer to the south some distance from the intersection of Highways 128 and 253.

Several commenters complained that they were not personally notified of the water and sewer plans even though they have been covered at length in this newspaper, on the District’s website, on the posted meeting agendas, and discussed at length at several prior public meetings. Several trustees have also gone door-to-door to many of the houses in the proposed service area, discussing plans, talking about possible water sources, and doing water tests and surveys.

Trustee Francois Christian suggested that the district set up a "public information committee" to try to further inform people about the project, especially those outside the interior Boonville boundaries of the proposed sewer district who have somehow successfully avoided the years of previous outreach.

Clearly, the Board is not responsible for people who voluntarily and willingly don’t pay attention to local public affairs, then complain that they have not been notified. Nor is the CSD board responsible for erroneous information some locals get from equivalently misinformed friends, or that unending fountain of misinformation, social media.

Another sticking point for the proposed sewer system is that state funding for the sewer system comes with a condition that all parcels in the proposed service area be required to be hooked up to it. This is not the case with the drinking water system, which would allow parcel owners in the proposed service area opt out.

However, the fewer people hooked up, the higher the per parcel rates would be for operation and maintenance of the water infrastructure. (The district is actively pursuing a state grant funds to cover the system design and construction of both the water and sewer systems and has insisted several times that they would not proceed if estimated water and septic rates exceeded 2% of an average household’s annual income.)

For now, the District and the engineering outfit are preparing answers to the questions and comments submitted this month and will include them in the Draft Environmental Impact Report expected to be released for further comment in February.

* * *

In other Community Services District news, the board decided to send a letter to the Redwood Credit Union asking them to consider installing a full service ATM machine in Boonville. Trustee Francois Christian, a retired banker, said that although he completely agreed with the need for such a convenience in Anderson Valley, the likelihood that a bank or credit union would go to the trouble and cost of setting up and servicing such a facility is remote.

Fire Chief Andres Avila told the board that it looks like the County is going to abandon plans to set up their own Emergency Services Authority for cost reasons and revert back to the Sonoma County-based Coastal Valley EMS operation at — a somewhat higher cost. Accordingly, the long-delayed request for proposals for “exclusive” ambulance service in inland Mendocino County is again expected to be issued soon. "However, we've heard that several times before," added the Chief.

Chief Avila also told the board that he recommends the District officially adopt the State Fire Code, pointing out that recent legislation says that any fire department with a paid chief is now required to adopt the code and that it simply authorizes the district to enforce what they have already been doing voluntarily. Chief Avila and Administrative Assistant Angela Dewitt have been notifying local commercial establishments that they will be conducting courtesy inspections in the next few months, providing them with a checklist of the kinds of fire safety related items they will be looking at. The inspections are free courtesy inspections and no official action is expected unless someone refuses to correct a problem.

There was some brief and very informal discussion of using Caltrans "rest stop" funds to convert the grandstand bathroom at the Fairgrounds into a public restroom, particularly if the water and sewer system project goes forward. Convenient as that might be for many travelers, it’s pure speculation at this point.

For more information on the water or sewer project go to the District’s website:

(Mark Scaramella)

One Comment

  1. Lazarus November 24, 2018

    Being a resident of the 3rd District I have wondered if Ms. Croskey would be giving a lecture to her constituency, and others, on what she learned on her trip to DC, so far I have seen nothing, but perhaps I missed it.

    Perhaps unrelated but I did see that The Sheriff was Washington DC about the same time. I was told, he was photographed, likely a selfie… smiling from ear to ear in the White House, Washington Monument in the background, very impressive.

    Is he going to give a report to the County? If so when and where? I’d love to attend or view the Youtube, perhaps he and Ms. Croskey could do a tag team/joint event of some kind…That would really be nice.
    As always,

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