IN A WILDLY diverse community like this one, there isn't much that a large majority of us might agree on. But it's safe to say that almost all of us do not want to lose our resident deputies, both of whom are enormously popular. Not only are they admired on a personal level, their even-handed enforcement of the rules save, and have saved taxpayers many, many thousands of dollars. A tiny example from my own experience, one of several over the years: One weekend afternoon several years ago, my wife was having a garage sale. There was some electronic stuff on a shelf that was not for sale. It was part of our newspaper equipment. Late in the day my wife noticed the equipment was missing. We called deputy Squires. "Who was there?" the deputy asked. We rattled off some names. "I'll take care of it," the deputy said. We assumed, of course, the items were gone forever. A couple of hours later the deputy himself appeared, missing items in hand. "This it?" he asked. It was. Rather than run the thief over the hill and then through the legal labyrinth at disproportionate cost to the public, the deputy who, like Santa Claus always knows exactly who's been naughty or nice, simply retrieved the goods. Multiply this incident by many, many and you have the essential value of resident deputies. Craig Walker is relatively new, but Squires has been here going on forty years, coaching youth sports for many of those years in addition to policing The Valley. To most County residents, deputies and road maintenance are the two essential local services. Law enforcement is in fact mandated in the Mendocino County charter. Newly-elected supervisor Hamburg should get an emphatic message that we simply won't give up our deputies, and a whole bunch of us have noted how rude and unreasonable Supervisor Kendall Smith has been to Sheriff Allman as Allman tries to provide a reasonable, county-wide law enforcement presence in the face of a shrinking public treasury, partially looted, incidentally, by Smith and outgoing Supervisor David Colfax. Hamburg already seems joined at the hip to the egregious Smith and may benefit from vigorous input on this matter. Write, call or e-mail Hamburg to make sure he understands how we feel about our resident deputies.
ON THE SUBJECT of community needs, Dave Severn says our crucial ambulance and its volunteer crew of emergency responders, could disappear unless more people sign up to help out. Like our deputies, the ambulance people save lives.
PLEASE GO to jokes.com so you can vote for Mo Mandel in Comedy Central's Stand-Up showdown. Mo, Boonville born and bred, is a hugely talented young guy who drew from his Mendocino County formative years, the only conclusion that can be drawn — comedy. The son of Dan Mandlebaum and Benna Kolinsky of Boonville, Mo is making quite a name for himself in show biz.
DONNALEE HART, "Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, herbalist and homeopath, serving the people of northern Mendocino County since 2003," will appear on Mary Pat Palmer's always interesting KZYX show next Tuesday (January 18th) from one to two in the afternoon.
THE BRILLIANT and vivacious Cassidy Hollinger is back in The Valley on winter break from her studies at Vassar where Cassidy is majoring in drama with a philosophy minor, and where she also functions as the part-time Assistant Events Coordinator for the Vassar College president. At last Thursday’s Trivia Contest at Lauren’s Restaurant, Cassidy said she much prefers playing the game to serving food to the players as she did as a waitress when she was a Boonville high school student.
AVA CONTRIBUTOR Alex Cockburn was also in The Valley last week to go through our archives as preparation for a book project. On his way back over the hill to Ukiah, and from there on up 101 to his home in Petrolia, Cockburn’s aging Ford Festiva gave out. The Major, driving back to Boonville from a dentist's appointment, discovered the renowned writer standing forlornly beside the road about three miles up from Boonville. Cockburn had called AAA for assistance. By the time Starr Automotive’s affable and efficient tow truck driver, Jesse Hunt, arrived, Cockburn had figured out that he was out of gas. A quick fill from Hunt and Cockburn was on his way.
IT TURNS OUT that Jesse Hunt is the son of Wayne Hunt who owns and operates Ukiah Auto Dismantlers. Some ten years ago Wayne Hunt hired the former manager of Mason Cook’s Willits-based auto salvage operation after Cook, a crusty old boy unaccustomed to employees talking back to him, locked Marcy Barry in his office over a procedures dispute. The DA subsequently charged Cook with false imprisonment. (The poor woman had tried to escape from Cook by climbing out an office window.) Cook had to write a public apology and the rest is history, as they say. Jesse Hunt was a high school student at the time, but he said he remembered the incident quite well.
ROBERT MACKEY, Starr’s primary tow truck driver, has been out of action lately while being treated for kidney stones at the Ukiah Hospital. We wish Bob a quick and pain-free recovery, although we know pain-free is not a phrase that normally accompanies kidney stones. Meanwhile, in Bob's absence, the pleasant and capable Jesse Hunt is filling in just fine.
MORGAN BAYNHAM of Philo is making a nice recovery of his own from hip replacement surgery, and is already mobile with the aid of a cane.
COACH ED SLOTTE'S hoopsters are finally back home tonight (Wednesday) versus Point Arena. Tuesday night, the Panthers were in Geyserville where Boonville, missing its star point guard, Mike Blackburn, took on the Bronchos. Mr. Blackburn is in some kind of disciplinary jam at his group home which itself has suffered the loss of its key counselor Logo Tevaseu. Mr. T. has left LifeWorks and has moved to Ukiah.
OTHER DEPARTURES include Joe Falanga, the Park Department's ace maintenance guy at Hendy Woods and other area parks. Joe has transferred to Donner, the Donner of the Donner Party, now a state park. Joe is unable to take a lot of his household stuff with him so, he says, if you call him at his Hendy Woods home he's got usable items you can have absolutely free. 972-7191.
GRIZZLY MAMA FOR OBAMA. Robert Mailer Anderson of the East Hills and San Francisco writes: "Because Nicola Miner had the bright idea (and fashion sense?) to co-opt Sarah Palin's rhetoric for the Dem cause, we've created The “Grizzly Mama for Obama” T-shirt campaign and a website — http://grizzlymamaforobama.com/. Please check it out and support the Cause. Stand up and ROAR! in the spirit of the Bear Republic.”
LYNDA McCLURE, the well-known multiple-listing political activist has bought Charlie Hiatt's old house off Lambert Lane, Boonville, behind the Fairgrounds.
CAN YOU IDENTIFY this prominent Valley person from a photo of him taken sometime early in the last century?
THE PHOTO in this week's paper attached to Bruce Patterson's fine piece on his adventures in the high desert of Nevada depicts ancient Native American hieroglyphics quite reminiscent (to these untrained eyes) of those one finds on "spirit rocks" at Cloverdale and Hopland. I haven't seen the spirit rock at Cloverdale, but I understand it is a registered archeological site sequestered from vandals behind a formidable fence not far from the Russian River. The spirit rock I have seen rests at the headwaters of Feliz Creek west of Hopland, east of Anderson Valley. It goes back, the experts say, at least ten thousand years. It's more of a boulder than a rock, huge and covered with symbols carved into it. Feliz Creek where we see it at Hopland is a desolate, battered, lunar-like streambed that comes briefly to life only after a big rain. But at its beginnings deep in the hills between the Anderson Valley and Hopland it is a lush, Edenic stream with landlocked fish. It flows through a large meadow bordered by the acorn-bearing old oak that partially sustained the thousands of years of Indians who lingered there one of these rare magic places where one is instantly aware of the ingenious people who lived successfully in Mendocino County for thousands of years without destroying any part of the natural world. Some years ago, supervisor Pinches invited me and several friends to view a spirit rock Pinches said rested deep in the Eel River Canyon but accessible through his place, which itself is a very long haul east from Highway 101 through wild country with the wild people who fit nicely into the terrain. The supervisor led us down to the abandoned rail tracks of the long-gone Northwestern Pacific R&R, then left us with directions to the site while he, in the hundred degree heat, retreated back up the hill to his ranch house. We trudged along the tracks as it occurred to me that we just might be on a snipe hunt, my first since I was seven or so when a cousin left me holding a paper bag over a hole in the ground waiting to trap the creature that never appeared and didn't exist. But we soon forded the hip-deep Eel and there they were, cryptic signs carved deep into the stone on a boulder beside the river at an unsustaining juncture of vertical hillsides and rushing water. Why would the Indians have gathered here? The abundance of the Feliz Creek headwaters, by contrast to the Eel River spirit rock, made Feliz an obvious place to settle in; I understand that when white settlers were hunting Indians like deer circa 1850 remnant inland tribes had fled to the hills west of Hopland, east of Yorkville, and may have also sought earlier sanctuary at the bountiful headwaters of Feliz when the Spanish soldiers attached to the missions at San Rafael and Sonoma rode north to capture Indians for work and salvation. Unaffiliated slave traders also beleaguered the Indians as early as 1840, carrying off children to sell in the Sacramento Valley. From the time of the missions until today, Indians are besieged, a huge irony considering that the rest of us in Mendocino County are a mere 200 years old. If you can get permission from the property owners, a visit to the Feliz Creek spirit rock will put you in total perspective.
THE MENDO-LAKE Cancer Society reminds us that they "are focusing on educating women about the importance of the Pap test as a screening tool for cervical cancer/HPV and about vaccines that can further reduce the burden of this devastating disease.... In Anderson Valley, the Anderson Valley Health Center offers Pap tests. If you are over 25, have low income, and your insurance does not cover cervical cancer screenings or has a high deductible or co-payment, you may be eligible for a free pap test. To see if you qualify for free services, please call the California Department of Public Health Every Woman Counts Program at 1-800-511-2300.
JERRY COX never fails us. "An Irishman was driving home drunk and got stopped by the police. “Sir,” the policeman asked, “have you been drinking?” “Aye,” the Irishman admitted. “I've had me a few, but I'm OK.” “But did you notice your wife tumbled out the car two blocks ago?” “Thank God for that,” the Irishman replied. “I thought I was going deaf.”
JUST IN FROM VAL MUCHOWSKI: "Congressman Mike Thompson will be on hand to hear from members of our community on Thursday, January 13th from 10-11am at the Ukiah Conference Center, in the Chenin Blanc Room, 200 School Street."
O YEA. Congressman Cork Top is sooooo interested in hearing from "members of our community" he's stopping off at the wine room for an hour when everyone's at work except him. Well, Val will be there anyway.
OUR REPS are far less public-friendly than the unfortunate Mrs. Giffords of Tucson. Bless her. She stood right out in front of a Safeway chatting with all and sundry. The last time I can recall a Northcoast congressman appearing at anything resembling a convenient public forum was Doug Bosco's sole public appearance during his years in office at the federal building in Santa Rosa around 1988, if memory serves and serves not particularly well anymore. It was a wonderful and wonderfully hilarious event. A packed house literally lined up to tee off on Bosco who manfully stood up front absorbing serial denunciations, several of them concluding with highly personal remarks about this or that aspect of the Congressman's personality. After about a half hour of unrelieved criticism of his job performance, Bosco became increasingly angry, and before long he was swapping random insults with hecklers. Thompson's a lot less articulate than Bosco, a lot less defensible than Bosco. Bosco was a me-to Gephardt liberal where Thompson is more like the last Republican to hold down the Northcoast slot, Frank Riggs. No way you'll catch Thompson at any forum where he might have to defend his wine industry toadying, his support for the Obama-Bush foreign policy and the rest of the bi-partisan disaster agenda.
ATTENTION DENNIS HUDSON. Your cool-o t-shirts are here at the office.