SUICIDE ON LAMBERT LANE. Derek Hanes, 51, was found dead Saturday morning on Lambert Lane, Boonville. He had hung himself on the property known locally as the Caretaker's Garden owned by Wendy Blankenheim and Doug Read. The late Mr. Hanes, who also called himself "Free," was a long-time resident of the Hanes Ranch west of Boonville off Mountain View Road. He was said to have been distraught at having been expelled from the sprawling family property of several thousand acres where he'd made his home for many years. The deceased's father, John Hanes, recently opened a fine arts gallery in Boonville. Derek Hanes leaves behind a young daughter and an adult son.
IT'S REDWOOD CLASSIC TIME! The 53rd annual hoops tourney, the oldest on the Northcoast, tips off Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 in the Boonville gym with Bay Area powerhouse Branson pummeling a wholly overmatched Laytonville High School. Perennial favorites from Hoopa, Pinewood, the California School of the Deaf and, of course, our very own Anderson Valley Panthers, a young, inexperience team but one with huge promise. Point Arena also is no pushover, nor is Cloverdale or St. Vincent's of Petaluma. The 53rd shapes up as one of the better Classics of recent years.
CORRECTION: We misspelled local athlete Madelin Gasaway's name a couple of weeks ago. We think we've got it right this time. Ms. Gasaway, a recent AV High graduate, has been training under the supervision of local conditioning coach Logo Tevaseu for another half-marathon race scheduled for Huntington Beach in February. Both she and Coach Logo will compete.
HANDLEY CELLARS kicks off the holiday season with an open house this Friday from 4-6pm. "Treats and libations will be served and special discounts offered." I don't think this event translates to endless glasses of high quality booze for our Valley's finite but plentiful deadbeats, but Ms. Handley is indeed a generous hostess.
ANOTHER FUNSIES open house throws open its doors this Friday at the Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah, from 11-3. Not the most convenient hours for a holiday revel, but it does include some interesting people who've written local histories.
THE POWER flickered on and off Monday about 2pm in the Boonville area, and went out for prolonged periods of time last Saturday in Philo and Navarro. Downed lines at Hendy Woods, they say, caused the Deepend darknesses.
BOONVILLE is already festive-looking as more and more Christmas lights beam merrily out in the frigid dark of winter. Some of the displays are quite elaborate, and Shorty Adams has yet to throw the switch on his annual magnificence. The understated white lights on the tree at the FourSight tasting room down in my South Boonville neighborhood strike me as especially nice, but I like them all.
ALL THAT GOOD STUFF was entered some time very late two Tuesday nights ago. Nothing was taken, but it appeared that burglar or burglars jimmied a door open without damaging it and had attempted to remove a computer, which they did not remove. Deputy Craig Walker speculated that the thief or thieves were scared off.
GOOD TO SEE MANUEL SOTO back behind the wheel of the school bus. Manuel, you will recall, suffered a severe Lyme's Disease attack, so severe it froze his face, and his powers of speech, into immobilization. That immobilization has since thawed, and Manuel is good to go.
IN OTHER PERSONNEL moves, Cheryl Shrader is fixin' to move to the Sierra Foothills, which is bad news for us and the thousands of critters she's tended to all these years. Fortunately, Cheryl has in place a cadre of equivalently committed volunteers who will carry on her animal rescue work.
A READER WRITES: "Last week I was driving back from Laytonville at about midnight. Just south of town it fogged up, like a solid wall of fog. Out of the opacity this huge white dog just came out of nowhere. We missed it — barely. Then we drove about 5 more miles where the road breaks into double lanes going south. My BF (boy friend) pulled into the passing lane and seconds later we rounded a corner and this huge, full-racked buck was sitting, just sitting, in the middle of the slow lane. Must have gotten hit. It was surreal. Then another few minutes went by and this thing — I don't know how else to describe it — it looked like a volleyball with feathers — hurtled down from the sky and smashed into the side of our car. I guess it was an owl, but it looked preternatural. It was as if the thing had additional velocity. At that point I was screaming, "Enough already!" We drove about 25 mph the rest of the way home. I don't believe in spooks, but that area feels as haunted as anywhere I've ever been. Except maybe Covelo..."
WHILE WE'RE OFF on tangents here, the stretch of local road that never fails to at least minimally creep me out is Highway One between Westport and Rockport, probably because unlike the rest of One those few miles are so treelessly desolate and unpopulated, and probably because I'm always reminded of the two old guys murdered and assumed to be buried in the hills not far from Westport, and the young geologist-guy who was murdered for his camera on the perennially unvisited beach just before Rockport. Mountain View Road between Boonville and Manchester at the old cabin on the Piper Ranch where boynapper Kenneth Parnell lived with his two victims still emits an evil vibe, too.