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Valley People (Jan. 9, 2019)

NO FLOODING OF HWY. 128, SANDBAR OPEN as of late Monday afternoon. Sunday’s deluge dropped nearly three inches of badly needed rain on the Anderson Valley, also nicely flushing out the battered Navarro.


"It's that time of the year again and I'll be sitting in my broken camp chair at the corner of Redwood & Franklin Streets in Fort Bragg, starting at 11pm.  The New Year’s celebration in Fort Bragg's central business district is always fun to watch, with three bars within 200 feet of each other.  I don't drink alcohol (I do partake of cannabis) and don't go to bars, but want to be out around people when the New Year starts.  Being alone on New Year’s doesn't have to be a drag; last year, it was a fun mix of folks from all walks of life, a real positive community experience.  Everyone is friendly, if not a bit inebriated, stopping by to say hello and have a short chat, it's pretty darn cool.  Perhaps I'll see you there, and if you come, bring a chair and warm clothing.  Wishing everyone positive happenings in the coming year.  

Derek, Celebrating my 20th year as a resident of Fort Bragg."

HERE IN BOONVILLE there were two large gatherings, one at Lauren's for Taunia Green, the other the annual bash at Bert Cohen's, Bert as in Boont Berry Bert. My colleague, The Major, who holds down the night shift at the ava, said he heard several muffled explosions coming from SoBo (South Boonville), "which were either gunshots or cherry bombs." Used to sound like the Battle of the Somme on New Years back in the day, but we're a much tamer population any more. When I arose before dawn to greet the new year a celebrant was slumped in his car next door, his headlights on, radio playing. I lit out for a brisk walk along AV Way where I met the other two early risers and regular exercisers, Alicia Perez and Jan Wasson Smith. It occurred to me to that the ladies, devoted as they are to strenuous movement, might be interested in a Christmas gift I received called, "Walt Whitman's Guide to Manly Health & Training." The old boy was always male oriented, but I could blot out "Manly" to bring the advice up to date. Walt recommended lots of beef, walking, swimming, fresh air in the morning, an assault on a punching bag for an hour or so in the afternoon. As the great poet put it, "To you, clerk, literary man, sedentary person, man of fortune, idler... Up! The world (perhaps you now look upon it with pallid and disgusted eyes) is full of zest and beauty for you, if you approach it in the right spirit!" All in all, not bad advice, although the price of beef being what it is you might have to substitute another protein.

A HARD FREEZE overnight last week didn't unfreeze the water line to our office until 2pm. 

ON-LINE COMMENT RE THE PARADISE FIRE: "The many towns along highway 49 that have the same setup. All you have to do is drive through them. Twain Harte, Sonora, Placerville, Auburn, Grass Valley/Nevada City, some towns around Lake Tahoe, and others. People thinking about moving to these areas should do some research on the risk of living in a wildland with highly flammable trees and brush and grass and narrow roads. When I moved out of Redwood City, I thought for about five minutes about the Sierra foothills and Lake Tahoe (Nevada side) but then I saw the millions of dead and dying trees in the forests and remembered the Oakland hills fire which I watched from the west side of the bay. People need to look at where they want to live and it shouldn't be based just on price. I moved to an urban area because I wanted fire protection, access to health care. It's pretty to live among the trees in a forest, but there has to be a way out. Politicians can be blamed, but so can people building in these areas and not funding better infrastructure. Shouldn't have to tell them not to rebuild there... insurance companies should just not insure or set the rates high enough to cover the losses that they are now having to finance. Fires used to burn the forest but few people were there to lose their cabins or recreation homes. Now, hundreds of thousands live in these areas. Too many people."

JERRY PHILBRICK is right to point out that many areas of Mendocino County are not prepared for a fire storm, an event that was all but inconceivable until recently. The LA Times story analyzing the Paradise Fire makes it obvious that whole Mendo neighborhoods and subdivisions are smaller versions of Paradise, and even Paradise had a disaster plan in place, albeit inadequate to the unimaginable catastrophe that actually happened. Planners simply couldn't imagine the fire storm that destroyed Paradise, although there were people, as you can read in the LA Times piece, who tracked occasional summer winds of up to 200 miles an hour (!) roaring up out of the Feather River Canyon below Paradise, and the town had only one street outta there etc. and etc. Right here in Anderson Valley hundreds of people live in bone dry, heavily forested hills with one road out, and in some cases that one road could become quickly impassable with stalled vehicles, down trees and power lines. I'm a siren guy — five of those industrial typhoon warning sirens like many of the small towns in the Middle West and South maintain ought to be strategically placed from Yorkville to Navarro. Sirens would likely work a lot better than the reverse phone systems that failed so miserably in Paradise. Our Supervisors really ought to make emergency plans for the next big fire that kicks off here to keep casualties to a minimum. They've been talking for what seems like years about emergency exits from the Brooktrails subdivision northwest of Willits. Brooktrails, as presently constituted with one narrow road out, is one more local disaster waiting to happen.

COMMUNITY HOLIDAY DINNER. AV Foodshed and the Grange have continued the tradition of filling the entire Grange for the Community Holiday Dinner. The grange and the Woodshed share the cost of providing local turkeys, meat, potatoes, and gravy, and the rest of the feast is an incredible potluck. The excellent turkeys were from Sisters' Ridge Ranch in Redwood Valley -- local, but not as local as they could be. Boont Berry helped us get potatoes sourced from Northern California. For next year, we are hoping both the turkeys and the potatoes can be purchased from an Anderson Valley source. Please send an e-mail to if you are willing to raise 80 pounds worth of turkeys and/or 50 pounds of Anderson Valley-grown potatoes.

MEGA MILLIONS was worth about $450,000,000 this week when I invested my dollar, which I do every week regardless of the huge payout. It's a national lottery so even the minimum is huge. And a couple of times a month I get the lottery lecture. Boiled down, it's "Your odds of winning are the same as not playing." And "Don't you understand that gambling exploits the poor?" I do know that. Probably most people who plunk down their dollar twice a week know that, but we enjoy the Big Win fantasy, and I'm sure most of us are happy when a person who truly needs the money has magically selected the correct numbers. A few weeks ago, a young single mom working two jobs hit the jackpot. She said she thought she might buy a new car. She'd won something like 200 million. I'm happy for her and hope the wolves don't get her. Every week I think about what I'd do with Big Money. Apart from having a few people killed and laying in a supply of Planter's Mixed Nuts without the peanuts, I'd turn the AVA into a daily paper with headquarters at the refurbished Palace Hotel, Ukiah, a mammoth neon sign on the roof reading, "Who's Laughing Now?"

A READER sends along a clipping from a HumCo paper featuring the "Rev. Papa Bruce Anderson." A small photo of The Rev. depicts him as a portly, bald guy propping himself up with a cane who says he's a "Reiki Master/Teacher; a Holistic Health Practitioner; a State Certified Massage Therapist; a Umbanda Spiritualist, Orno Ogun; and Founder of the American Holistic Umbanda House." 

THE READER ASKS, "Is this you, Bruce?"

HAR DE HAR, dear reader, I forgive your impertinence. An obese old guy wouldn't seem to offer much in the way of "holistic health" advice given the visual he presents, but I doubt his "practice" is heavy on critical thinkers.

THE LATE RICHARD JOHNSON, aka The One True Green, used to publish something called "The Confluence Directory.” Printed in newspaper format, one issue appeared the same week Johnson was busted in Ukiah for riding his bike drunk. A brown rice, macrobiotic dude, he was another guy who never quite connected all his dots.

I used to marvel at the sheer number of quacks Johnson gulled into advertising in his Confluence Directory, but always admired his ability to get these charlatans to pay for expensive displays heralding their dubious services. There must be a couple of hundred non-scheduled "healers" in Mendocino County alone, population 90,000. How could their potential customer base be that large in such a small population? Maybe, I thought, it's like some kind of oracular musical chairs, with all of them taking turns re-birthing and tantric massaging each other. Then you read stats like 80 percent of Americans are down with astrology, 30 percent believing the moon landings were faked, Another thirty percent knowing in their bones that vaccination causes autism.

GREG KRAUSE WILL spare you this task: "Tired of getting wet and cold, trying to read and funky combination to open your gate and then getting out to close it. I can install, fix or install new motors on failed gate openers using dependable Liftmaster openers. I can install gates as well."

I'LL TAKE A CASE: A drinkable drug cocktail that shows promise for blocking Alzheimer's-related decline and even restoring memory has allegedly been discovered by researchers at Yale University. An estimated 44 million Americans suffer dementia or signs thereof, but those signs are purely in the biased eyes of the beholder. A lot of us oldies fake it. "Oh, well, you know he's old," they'll say as you get them to leave you alone rather than repeat a dumb question, or persuade them to carry something you're perfectly capable of carrying, blurt out insults, pull off little manipulations simply to get your way. By any truly objective standard most of us are Alzheimer's cases all our lives. Like, whatever, as the young people say, but the Yalies are claiming the magic ingredient is an old antibiotic called Suprax, or cefixime. This stuff apparently has elderly lab rats reciting the Greek alphabet backwards.

THE AV VILLAGE GROUP — “Empowering older adults to remain active, connected and independent in the place they call home while enhancing the quality of life in our community” — is launching their volunteer program with a meeting at Lauren’s Restaurant in downtown Boonville on Sunday, January 13, from 4-5:30pm. Local rides, pet-sitting, meal assistance, injuries-help, social outings, movies, seminars, advice on where to get help and more. All are welcome, from interested volunteers and organizers to recipients.

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