KEN HURST of Greenwood Road and a Valley old timer, was perched on the very top rung of a 12-foot ladder last Wednesday morning trying to pluck the last apple of the season when a leg of the ladder gave way, hurling Ken to the ground, where he landed flat on his back. A former football player and Army Ranger famous for leveling a huge and hugely menacing Hells Angel in a headline brawl years ago in Sausalito, Ken's taken a few hits over the years, one of which was a gun shot to his shoulder, the only hit to previously hospitalize him. After he'd fallen from the ladder, Ken was barely able to drag himself some forty yards from his apple orchard back into his house. His back felt like it was broken. Or maybe it was his neck. His body was spasm head to foot. When a guy with a high pain tolerance says he feels like he's broken in a hundred places he probably is. Ken couldn't stand. He couldn't do anything except ask his wife Joanadel to call for help, and pretty soon Ken was surrounded by the AV Rescue Crew who trundled him into a helicopter which had landed next door at the Fashauer Ranch, and within an hour of his fall Ken was flying south to Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, where he remained for almost four full days before being released with a fistful of pain meds. Ken's back at the ranch and worse for the wear. He'll be laid up for some time. Joanadel said Tuesday morning the doctors still aren't sure what's wrong, but spasms continue to wrack her husband's big body, and he spends most of his time asleep.
TONY AND KERRI SANCHEZ are on their way home from Seattle, cutting their Christmas vacation so short they're on their way home before their vacation got started. Why? Their Philo home was broken into sometime late Sunday night and turned upside down. Friends say the ransacking "looked like something tweakers would do" and "whoever did it knew Tony and Kerri were out of town." Guns are missing, but deputies Squires and Walker were immediately on the case, and look for this one to be wrapped up fast.
LORETTA HOUCK WRITES: "Just a quick update on the Give-a-Book tree at Laughing Dog Books: while we have sold many books that will be donated to the Anderson Valley Jr/Hi School Library, there are many titles still on the tree for the AV Elementary School. That being the case, we are extending the time to purchase these for the libraries to the end of the year. We will be closed Christmas and New Year's days, but open on the eves and days after. Thank you! Happy Holidays to all!"
WAS THAT THE URSULA Le Guin playing Trivial Pursuit at Lauren's Restaurant last Thursday night? Quiz maestro Steve Sparks, always a man quick to respond to mysteries, soon reported, "I checked out Ursula La Guinn on Google where there was a photograph of her - it is not the same woman who attends the quiz. That doesn't mean we can't say it is of course. After all, P.J. O'Rourke, Cornell West, and Arianna Huffington have all shown up at one point to test their knowledge against the best.... "
A YOUNG GUY told me he was headed back to Michoacan for the holidays. He's married with two little kids. I said that the Mexican government had just issued a travel advisory that recommended no night travel and armed caravans during daylight hours. He hadn't heard about that but, he said, where he comes from the drug bosses have called a peace so people coming back to his area of Michoacan can safely travel back and forth.
WHEN THE BIG big moon came up over the cold cold Valley early Monday evening it was already shrouded in rain clouds. I thought about staying up to watch the first full lunar eclipse in four hundred years or so but decided not to because the clouds might obscure the big event and Tuesday was a work day. In Asia, at least the parts I'm familiar with, people would run outside during eclipses to ritually beat their fruit trees with sticks. They said if you didn't do that the trees would stop bearing. And when there was lightning the old ladies would run around their houses covering the mirrors with sheets. Why they did that I never did know.
AS THE BIG big moon came up over cold cold Valley, the Christmas lights sparkled on all over Boonville, the only dead spot being Ricard's pile of abandoned, crumbling shop fronts at Haehl Street and 128, and we all wonder, except for Dave Severn and Bill Harper who are into the dilapidation aesthetic in the middle of town, at exactly what point does Ricard's property become an actionable fire hazard? No other community in Mendocino County would allow Ricard to get away with it, certainly not Ricard's home communities of Little River and Mendocino.
TERRY RYDER WRITES: "Luis Serna is a 7th grader at Anderson Valley Junior High who has an inoperable tumor. He is failing but his smile and optimism are unfailing. He and his family could use the community's support in this difficult time. Please make a donation if you possibly can. Checks can be made to: Margarita or Jose Serna P.O. Box 282 Boonville 95415.
DON'T FORGET the quiz Thursday night at Lauren's Restaurant, the last one of 2010.
DA MEREDITH LINTOTT, in her final days as Mendocino County's top law enforcement officer, has announced that the shooting death of Mariano Lopez-Fernandez, 31, by the Sheriff's Department's SWAT team was justified. The Boonville man was shot numerous times when he appeared behind a tree and pointed a loaded rifle at three officers as the SWAT team raided a pot garden west of Laytonville. Lopez-Fernandez had lived at Airport Estates with his young family.
LYNN KIESEWETTER WRITES: “You may know that our friend Doug Roycroft had a very serious car accident over two weeks ago on Highway 128. He is currently in Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with seven broken ribs and a broken pelvis that has been plated and screwed back together. Soon he will be transferred to Fort Bragg, hopefully to the hospital there or Sherwood Oaks. Recuperation will take several months. An Emergency Benefits Account will be set up for him in the next few days and I'll have more on that then. Meanwhile, since Santa Rosa is too far for most of us to just drop in, you can call Doug at Memorial, 546-3210. Someone was kind enough to bring him his computer, so you can also email him at email@example.com.”
MR. ROYCROFT is now at Coast Hospital, room 114, where he says he is resting comfortably and looks forward to visitors.
THE PANTHER basketball team badly missed point guard Mike Richardson in the opening round Monday of the Fort Bragg tournament. The Panthers fell hard to Arcata, last year's small school state champs, 67-25. Mike was out of action because of a school disciplinary veto so vague it doesn't seem to me worth holding a kid out of a wholesome activity over.
SARAH PALIN calls Joe Lieberman. "Hello, is Joe there?" No, it's Yom Kippur so Joe's out of the office. "Well, Yom, tell him Sarah called."
A READER wanted to know why the DA hadn't pursued charges in an event that ordinarily would be prosecuted as major felonies. The reader was worried that right here in the Anderson Valley a man was loose who'd fired a shotgun blast at another local man but had gotten away with it. The reader gave me a name. Hanes. Hanes is a prominent Anderson Valley family whose Mountain View Ranch is large enough to make them also a prominent Mendocino County family. "Please do what you can to encourage an investigation," the reader begged. "There may have been a child involved." Well, sure, I said, it's my job. I called around assuming I was in for the usual futile telephonic shuffle, but I was surprised by how many people wanted to talk about it, but what I found is rather anti-climactic. Here it is. Back in August of 2009, Ross Hanes, 19, and Mark Hanes, 47, both of Redwood Valley, were booked into the County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. The two Hanes' had discovered the late Derek Hanes and his son, Elijah, in a Hanes cabin on Feliz Creek near Hopland where they were apparently unwelcome. An all-Hanes fight broke out. Derek and Elijah Hanes, especially Derek, got thumped around pretty thoroughly. During the struggle, either Ross or Mark Hanes fired a shotgun blast over Derek Hanes' head. Police investigated and found that Ross and Mark Hanes were the culpable parties. Somehow, the case then disappeared. It was not pursued. The DA's office, and this is pure gossip, decided that Derek Hanes' accounts of these events were too contradictory to haul into court. Was Derek Hanes' little girl present when her dad was getting beat up and shot at? Nobody I asked knew.
JOY ANDREWS has been hired as the new Community Services District General Manager. Ms. Andrews was appointed at a special closed session of the District Board on December 8. She will begin her official duties in early January. Her office hours have yet to be established but will be roughly the same amount of time per month as former General Manager Serina Wallace. Ms. Andrews currently functions as an administrative staffer at the Highland Ranch, Philo.
DEPUTY AND DEBBIE SQUIRES are just back from a vacation in Texas where they toured the Cowboys billion dollar new stadium and saw the home team take on the New York Jets. "I'm not a fan of either the Cowboys or the Jets, but that place is amazing," the deputy exclaimed. "We had a great time."
MARY PAT PALMER brings us up to date with the Chamber of Commerce: "The beautiful 'Shop Locally' posters around town were made by artist Susan Gross for the Chamber of Commerce. Local merchants can pick them up at Boont Berry to display in their stores. The Chamber asked local architect Sharon Lloyd to draw up plans for a Chamber of Commerce informational kiosk. Drawings are completed and Chris Chilcott will do the kiosk construction. The Chamber meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 5:30, alternating board meetings are held at Lauren's with Chamber Mixers. All valley merchants are encouraged to join, but anyone can attend the meetings. Current board members include: Burt Cohen, John Kuhry, Mary Pat Palmer, Darius Richmond, Lisa deMelogue, Naomi Ansbergs, and Loretta Houck. Dawn Emery Ballantine keeps us organized."