GO, ERIN! It’s Senior Project time at Anderson Valley High! Erin Lane, an 18-year-old horsewoman, daughter of Tara Evans and Robby Lane of Anderson Valley, has an exhibit at Lauren's Restaurant through Friday, March 29th. Be sure to see it. A couple of years ago, Erin rescued a wild mustang from Shingletown Wild Horse Sanctuary. His name is Nacho. Her exhibit details Nacho's life from a colt with previous owners, through her training time with and ownership of Nacho, until he was returned to the Horse Rescue to be reunited with his original herd. Many silent auction donations are on display at Lauren's, to include a lamp by Karen Ottobani and framed art by Susan Spencer, to name a few. Donations can also be dropped in Erin's old pair of childhood cowgirl boots also on display. Please investigate Erin's silent auction fund raiser, the funds of which Erin plans on donating to the Wild Horse Sanctuary at Shingletown, CA. Let her buck!
TONIGHT! (Wednesday) CELEBRATE SPRING with your neighbors at Anderson Valley’s own local history museum. Spiffed up and rearranged! New displays! Docents on hand! Snacks provided. Wine and other beverages! Free for all. Everyone invited. Information: 895-9020.
SHERIFF ALLMAN recently told a meeting of the County’s emergency services officials that there’s a good chance Mendo can get a grant to cover three-quarters of the cost of emergency warning sirens for most areas of the County. In Anderson Valley, that would probably mean four sirens, one each in Yorkville, Boonville, Philo and Navarro. Allman said that the local communities would have to come up with the other 25% of the cost, which Allman estimated at up roughly not more than $25k each, which he conceded may be high. Local communities would be responsible for operation and maintenance.
WHEN THE POSSIBILITY of sirens was discussed at the Anderson Valley Fire Protection Committee recently they voted 4-2 to decline, citing primarily the possibility of creating a panic and the cost. Fire Chief Andres Avila supports the siren idea but acknowledges the cost and panic problems. Allman told the emergency officials that he needs a “letter of commitment” from organizations who want to participate by the end of March. Avila said that he’s heard that the Yorkville Community Benefit Association likes the idea and will put up 25% for a Yorkville siren. The Rancho Navarro Road Association also agreed to chip in for theirs.
CHIEF AVILA said the protocols for when and who turns them on are yet to be developed but that he understands the Anderson Valley Fire Department will be one of the authorized initiators. When asked about protocols for people who hear the siren, Avila said, “If you hear the siren that’s your cue to get more information,” adding that there’s no automatic evacuation involved.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY CSD'S budget committee looked at its budget reserves on Wednesday and said that their “emergency” reserves of almost $40k could probably cover the Boonville and Philo share of the siren cost. The question is supposed to be on Wednesday’s Community Services District Board agenda when they will have to decide if they want to participate and cover the local share of cost and then, if the grant is awarded, participate in a subsequent effort to acquire, locate, install, provide power, develop protocols, assign responsibility and finally implement what lots of people support in the abstract. But will they support the idea when they have to pay for and implement it?
THEY'D BETTER. What else is there in Anderson Valley in the way of disaster warning systems? If Redwood Valley's siren had been activated at the first sign of its disastrous blaze some of its residents may have been saved. As it stands here in Anderson Valley, with its numerous hill populations, there is no warning system beyond reverse 911 calls, and lots of people aren't connected to those and they aren't particularly effective anyway. Sirens and reverse calls are undoubtedly the best we can do in our little slice of paradise. Anderson Valley has had several near fire misses over the years that could have been absolutely lethal if those fires had broken out at night. The panic concern is a relatively trivial one in AV because our populations are small and dispersed over a wide area. Even if every resident of upper Peachland, for example, hit the road at once it is unlikely they'd be impeded. Ditto for Signal Ridge, the Holmes Ranch, Deer Meadow, the hill muffins of Yorkville, Rancho Navarro and so on. Sirens now!
FRANK'S FIREWOOD, over the years, has removed literal tons of unwanted trees from MRC's vast holdings, but his many Mendo customers, and Frank himself, don't want poisoned firewood as MRC resumes the wholesale chemical removal of non-commercial species instead of selling them to Frank, leaving Frank without the resource to provide for his many customers. One would think, given Frank's years of conscientious industriousness, that MRC would at least allow him access to plots of trees prior to their being hacked and squirted with chemical poisons, but MRC doesn't seem much interested in community relations given their refusal to support the Albion Volunteer Fire Department and a fair tax assessment to support Coast Hospital. Unlike many of our oligarchs, MRC's owners are identifiable. They live in San Francisco in the neighborhood where power lines are buried and there are zero homeless people. Fisher, I believe their name is.
RENEE WYANT, director of the Anderson Valley Senior Center, reports on the Center’s weekend fund raiser: “I think about 80 people showed up. Maybe a little bit more. Seemed kind of flat compared to the crab feed but you can’t really compare corned beef to crab feed. People go nuts over crab. Also, there were a lot St. Patty’s events throughout the Valley this weekend. It was great that they were all on different days but the Valley can get spread a little thin when it comes to events too close together. But we took in about $1,600 from the cake auction alone with Elizabeth Wyant, Marcia Beale and Burt Cohen’s cakes fetching about $150 each. We’re still figuring out our costs. We’re thinking after groceries and other expenses we probably brought in about 3k. We’re looking into producing a family event this summer. Kind of an old-fashioned thing with games, a bouncy house, ice cream sundaes, pie eating contest and the like. There aren’t any firm plans. We just came up with the idea. The center is in need of a few things like a new ice machine, some table clothes, some bookstands etc. since we will be losing revenue we usually get from SNWMF, we are desperately trying to come up with some ideas.”
SHAMROCKS & SALSA, A MEMOIR by Gerald F. Cox, is highly recommended reading for several reasons. (1) the author is known to most residents of the Anderson Valley where he was known (much less formally as 'Jerry' Cox) whose imprint on Valley life was large, (2) it's the story of a most unusual man whose interesting, and often funny, account of moving through his youth to middle age as a Catholic priest before resigning to marry was not unprecedented but certainly unusual, (3) he almost offhandedly relates the significance of his work as a ground floor stalwart of the Farm Worker's movement led by Cesar Chavez, who Cox introduced to the crucial activist, church-related network then dominant in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Monsignor's life was, to say the least, various, and it came as no surprise that his services were held in Santa Rosa in the church Cox himself got built to accommodate all the people who knew him. This memoir can also be read as a kind of history of the Bay Area, from the Depression years — the padre was 92 when he died — through contemporary times, with a wonderful account of his summers as a kid on the Russian River. As a life history, given his experience as a Catholic priest, Cox's life in NorCal was a life lived parallel to those of us who have lived more or less contemporaneously with him in the same place until, that is, the priest and his nun, the formidable Kathy Cox, arrived in the Anderson Valley, where they quickly became ubiquitous as, at first, proprietors of the Floodgate Cafe, then as free range social workers for the county's helping agencies and the local schools. As a bi-lingual couple, the Coxes were invaluable in helping Anderson Valley's burgeoning immigrant Mexican community adjust to their new lives as Americans. 'Monsignor' implies power and wealth, but as a married couple the priest and the nun certainly had their years with the wolf at the door. I loved the anecdotes, especially the one about the rigged Sonoma County beauty contest based on the number of raffle tickets sold. The girl who sold the most sold the most because her wealthy father bought up most of them, but the other girls brought off a conspiracy against the ostensible winner with her father becoming so irate he threatened an official with murder! I picked the book up expecting to log a few pages before I tottered off to Dreamland, but I didn't put it down until 3am or so where this remarkable man's daughters signed off with moving tributes to their father, a man successful at two very different kinds of fatherhood.
SAY IT ISN’T SO, Jim. Jim Snyder, high school principal, can’t say it isn’t so because it is so. The capable school administrator is leaving AV Unified for a job with the Mendocino County Office of Education where his old boss, Michelle Hutchins, is ensconced as Superintendent. AV Unified is suffering a rather significant turnover everywhere one looks. The school board is down to three persons of the desired five, enrollment is down, there’s a yawning budget deficit, and an interim Superintendent doing yeoman’s work keeping it all together.
ON THIS WEEK’S Supe’s agenda we find Jim Roberts’ and William Adkinson’s proposal to develop a parcel just southeast of downtown Philo, “The Brambles”: “The proposed project is for a General Plan Land Use amendment and a Rezone to C-2:CR[FP] (General Commercial: Contract Rezone and Flood Plain combining districts). The applicants intend to develop a resort and recreation use on the property with 16-19 short term rental cabins, bungalows, pole houses and possibly a restaurant, an event center and small retail outlet.” We are not aware of any opposition to the Roberts/Adkinson proposal, and the Planning Commission recommends approval with only a few minor mitigations.
ROBERTS has done a nice job developing the long-abandoned parcels he owns between the old mill site and the nice makeover at what is now known as The Madrones.
BETH SWEHLA announces that the AVHS Ag. Dept. will order pullet (females) chicks and brood them for you. At the end of 6 weeks they will be ready to go. We plan to have chicks delivered the last week of April/first week of May. They will be ready to go the second week of June. The pullets should start laying in the Fall. Birds will be $15 each. Payment is due at time of pick up. Last day to order is Friday, March 29th.
WINDY as it was last week I remember March as the month we flew kites, way back in a different time. We did everything by seasons, football, basketball, baseball and flew, or attempted to fly, dime store kites when March rolled around. We paid a quarter for an assemble yourself, skein of tissue paper and slivers of balsa wood. The spool of string was separate, another dime maybe. Talk about planned obsolescence! These things, assuming you even got it up in the air, lasted, at best, one flight. The fun was in the trying. But every March every kid in the neighborhood bought one of these kites, or a bunch of kites over the length of kite-flying time.
THE MAJOR RECALLS a kindly Japanese neighbor who seemed to enjoy recovering his neighborhood’s kites when they inevitably drifted into the trees on Cowper Street, Palo Alto. If the man was outside, which he was most of the daytime working in his impressive garden, and saw that one of our kites had drifted into the trees he'd laugh and immediately start climbing, soon descending with the tangled, sometimes reparable mass. “I don’t recall him ever being unable to retrieve one of our kites,” said the Major, “either the standard diamond shaped or the ‘box’ kites. But I do recall a few that we lost when he wasn’t around. After a few of those losses my brother and I decided to move our kite flying to the baseball diamond down at the high school where we could tie multiple spools of string together and let them go really, really high.”