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Valley People (Jan. 16, 2019)

ANDREAS ALVARADO, the older man noted by many for his distinctive military gait as he passed through Boonville on his daily errands, suffered a bad fall over Thanksgiving, which became a pneumonia that has kept him hospitalized ever since. A gifted gardener, Andreas had lately worked for Lauren at Lauren’s Restaurant and in the gardens of Airport Estates. He is presently recuperating at the Lakeport post-acute facility.


SHOUT OUT to all my old friends in the Anderson Valley and Ukiah from Chris CJ Jones. I've moved from Eugene, Oregon to Portland, Oregon where I live in the downtown Portland area called the Pearl District. Chris Jones 2250 NW Thurman St. Apt B09, Portland OR 97210


In Boonville in June. The Real Sarahs will be there.

May 31-June 2 at the Boonville Fairgrounds. “An outstanding music and arts festival enjoyed in in a safe, family friendly environment, free of drugs and alcohol. Supporting a sobser lifestyle through performing arts, music, meditation, physical activity and embracing the outdoors.” Adult weekend pass $40. Kids: $20. $15 for single day passes. On site camping available for additional fee. For more information email or call 415/578-0125. Or write: Shakespeare at Stinson, PO Box 593, Stinson Beach CA 94970, 

ST. ELIZABETH SETON CRAB FEED is only 3 weeks away! Feb. 2, 2019, 6 pm social hour and dinner at 7 pm. - $45 - tickets are still available. Mendocino County Fairgrounds. All you can eat crab & salad plus wine to drink. (Tickets: John Schultz 895-9552, Jorge Mejia 895-2778, Colleen Schenck 895-3053)

HERE’S A NAME that may be familiar to you: Lorraine Dechter. Many of you remember her program “The Good Old Fashioned Folk Music Show” which aired for 30 years on KCHO.

She came to Northern California in 1978, and since then she’s worked throughout the North State, delivering the news to communities through public television, newspapers, and, of course, radio. 

Now Lorraine could use our help. After returning to Butte County from Mendocino County where she worked for community radio station KZYX, she moved to Paradise and yes, you guessed it— her home and possessions were all incinerated in the Camp Fire. She was renting and is now having difficulty getting FEMA assistance. Please donate to her through PayPal if you have a PayPal account you can just select pay and put in her email

You can also send assistance directly to: Lorraine Dechter, 5721 Scottwood Rd, Paradise Ca 95969

 The Paradise post office is open so she will receive mail at that address. (Shelley Mariposa)

OUR FIRST POP UP CHORUS at Lauren's. We're hoping this becomes a regular event, but now that we have the time, place, leader/teachers and song, we need the singers. You don't need to read music or have a great voice, you just need to commit to a bit of time on Wednesday evening (1/16) and I promise wonderful things can happen. We're learning and singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.


February 9th is the date for the all-day 2019 Winter Abundance Fair at the Fairgrounds in Boonville. Featured are free workshops for beginning and advanced fruit tree grafting techniques, hands-on fruit tree grafting, and seed saving; seed, scion, and plant exchanges; rootstock and plant sales; and featured speaker Robert Kourik talking about how to create healthy soil organisms. The Fair Boosters will have an organic, local-as-possible lunch for sale. And more! The all-volunteer organizing team is from Mendocino Permaculture, AV Foodshed, UC Master Gardeners, AV Adult School, and others who would like to help. If you are willing to assist with publicity, set-up (Friday afternoon/or and Saturday morning), registration, helping with workshops, or clean up, please email Barbara at or call 895-3897.


Longtime organic gardening and farming family, looking for gardening and farming space. Housing on site (cabin/small house) or the ability to have a tiny home on the land or just farming land are possibilities we are considering. We have references and enjoy growing healthy food for the region and contributing to the local food supply.

Photos of gardens/references available, Dog Friendly (one dog)

Skills include: land crafts, farmer's market experience, farm to table cuisine and more. 

Much Gratitude and Happy New Year,

BALO WINERY of Philo is up for sale at $4,690,000, and had been in escrow for close to that amount for a while. Many people in the Anderson Valley are much more interested in the fate of the nicely re-habbed garage from the 1920s that was also the work of the Balo people. That old garage, now called the Live Oak Building, sits in central Boonville. We hear rumors that something's in the works for the building which, ever since its tune-up, has sat only periodically occupied by a weekend wine sales booth.

FROM ITS MODEST BEGINNINGS as a handful of young, resident Anderson Valley winemakers in the early 1970s, the wine industry now dominates not only the Anderson Valley but Mendocino County, and has also inspired a large ancillary food and accommodations juggernaut pegged to wine tourism. Unlike the unorganized marijuana business, the in-County wine people jealously guard what they assume are their political perquisites, a fact of local life we knew only in theory until we got mugged by its reality when we sued to quiet Anderson Valley's frost fans. The entire industry mobilized against us, as we should have known it would, but has since worked to tune down the annual spring time din.

THOSE LONG ROWS of $20-$40 bottles of wine we see in the supermarkets remain a mystery to me because I seldom see anybody buying a bottle or two at the checkout stand. The economics of wine is a larger mystery. I know grape growers get big Ag tax breaks, but as soon as Two Buck Chuck surfaced those mysterious wine economics came into sharp focus. As Chuck bluntly put in the famous New Yorker story about him, "All this stuff is pretty much the same. I'll sell a forty dollar bottle for three dollars." And he's made a literal fortune doing just that, meaning Chuck cashed in on the glut, which is ongoing.

I'M SURE BALO was and is some kind of massive tax write-off, and I'm just as sure another mini-mogul will soon snap up the property. It comes with a home built by a local guy, Johnny Peterson, who raised apples and sheep and cattle and worked on a road crew to supplement his farm earnings. Perched up a hill above Indian Creek, you can be sure Peterson built his modest retirement home for a lot less than the million dollar kitchen it now features.

AND CRAFT BEER is a mystery equivalent to wine. Breweries are popping up everywhere, and who would have thought the small brewery movement began right here in Boonville. (And a little earlier in Hopland.) We'll make the first claim whether or not Ken Allen and David Norfleet's quality brew was the absolute first to revive community-based beer production, but from its modest beginnings in the basement of the Buckhorn Saloon, Boonville beer was soon on shelves everywhere in America, and on many shelves abroad. But the competition seems awfully crowded anymore, with several relatively new breweries in lightly populated Mendocino County competing with at least a hundred more in NorCal alone.


AMONG OUR MANY blessings right here in Boonville are our annual crab feeds, which also serve as annual meet and greets for lots of people we don't get to see very often. This very Saturday, the 19th of January, and for the very best of community reasons, the Anderson Valley Senior Center brings us its Crab Feed at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Happy Hour at 5:30 (gigantico margaritas!), mounds of crab at 6:30. A hugely great deal at $40 pre-paid, $45 at the door, especially considering the most scintillating company in all of Mendocino County. Forty dollar tickets available at AV Market, Lemons Market and the Senior Center. Or $45 at the door if you decide at the last minute.

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