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Valley People (April 3, 2019)

GOOD DEAL FOR THE RIGHT PERSON(S): The county is looking for a camp host at Indian Creek in Philo:

Volunteer in Northern California, in the heart of Mendocino County wine country! Enjoy opportunities that abound nearby such as hiking, birding, food, wine and music festivals, sightseeing picturesque towns along the Mendocino coast, and so much more! For more information and to apply Online visit 

Mendocino County’s Indian Creek Campground has a dedicated quiet spot for hosts with full RV hookups (water, sewer, electric) along with a land line telephone and a P.O. Box. Campground host duties would include: greeting visitors, clean-up of 10 campsites and 1 restroom facility. In addition, an $100 stipend will be paid monthly April-October. Apply Online at 

BUENO YABBELOW PRESENTS: Last concert of the season next Sunday! The Bueno Yabbelow Music Series, hosted by the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, presents "Art Song" for those that love opera, featuring two Grammy-winning singers, Soprano Jessica Rivera and baritone Matthew Worth with piano virtuoso Molly Morkoski. As always, our guests will talk about and perform some of their favorite selections. I can promise that these wonderful folks are as warm and friendly as our BYMS guests always are, loving the format where instead of performing to an anonymous blackened-out theater, they can actually see each and every member of the audience. We will also have some special guest appearances from the emerging composers enrolled at GLFCAM who are being mentored by Jessica, Matthew, and Molly as they compose brand new songs of their own.

Rivera, Worth, Morkoski

This will be our third and last concert of the spring before our next concert in November. You are very warmly invited!

Sunday, April 7th, 7pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)

Anderson Valley High School Cafeteria 

$10 at the door

Free for 18 and under; students of AV High and their families

VARIETY SHOW VARIETY PACK. If anyone wants to see the photos I took at the Variety Show, here's the link to my photo album. Hoping to get them up on the Variety Show FB page soon or at least get the link up there! I added 119 photos and a video from March 27 to the album: 28th Annual Variety Show (2019). Debra Eloise.

ART HATCHER, long-time Valley resident, has been appointed manager for the Coast branch of the Mendocino Transit Authority, offices in Fort Bragg.

IN OTHER COAST news, we were sorry to learn that the venerable Oz Farm near Point Arena was virtually destroyed by the late February rains that caused the Garcia to flood, inundating Oz. An expensive clean-up and restoration is underway.

CORRECT ME if I'm wrong, but weren't some of the best wines ever produced, produced from un-irrigated, pre-industrial vineyards? Every year at this time just as God's green earth springs back to green life, so many vineyards dare foul His seasonal miracle with dead, brown herbicide stripes.

ADD to Philo’s many charms the yellow irises beginning to bloom at the entrance to the Scharffenberger Winery, an invasive plant I’m told, but welcome wherever it invades.

A STARTLING STORY by Renee Hanson out of the South Coast's redoubtable weekly, the ICO, describes the absenteeism suffered by the Point Arena schools. The startling part is the statistic that of 156 students enrolled at Point Arena High School, 66 are chronically among the missing, 96 of 325 often don't show up for classes at Point Arena Elementary, 26 young scholars of the 86 on the rolls at the charter school fail to show up, and at the high school's continuation program 11 of the 13 students enrolled don't regularly appear. PA High School is offering "letterman's jackets" as awards for regular attendance while the elementary school is promising missing children ice cream socials if they can get to school on a regular basis.

PA'S Superintendent, Warren Galletti, is quoted in the absentee story as saying, "Some people also don't know the value of education as much as they probably should," a statement one might plausibly apply to Americans generally these days, our culture managing new lows practically on a daily basis. A kid raised by a tv set and Fruit Loops in a fragged home, and there's millions of them, isn't likely to manage regular school attendance. The social consequences are everywhere.

MEANWHILE, in edu-committed Anderson Valley, school attendance remains high, higher than most school districts in the county. According to our interim superintendent, Michael Warych, AV's annual attendance runs about 94 percent, which is way above the statewide attendance stat. "We're pretty aggressive about it," Warych said last week, pointing out that "we have an outreach person on each of the two campuses and an automated telephone system. If a student at the high school, for instance, doesn't show up for first period, his home is notified that he isn't present." And two persons to knock on the doors of the missing.

STILL AND ALL, Superintendent Warych has assumed a difficult school situation here in Anderson Valley, a situation which includes a large budget deficit, a declining enrollment, a three-person school board, and a staff turnover in key positions at both the elementary and high school levels.

THE SCHOOL staff turnover, especially comes at an inopportune time. We have two long-time teachers at the Elementary School, Linnea Totten and Mitch Mendoza, have gallantly taken early retirements to spare younger colleagues being laid off. Our capable high school principal, Jim Snyder, is leaving for a job with the County Office of Education, and long-time staffer and fill-in high school principal, Robert Pinoli, is retiring.

DECLINING ENROLLMENT means declining revenue. Lots of local gringos say that the declining enrollment is a form of “white flight.” Which I happen to find ironic given that years ago ambitious families sent their children to schools in Ukiah and Mendocino to avoid the “rednecks.” I also don’t think 2019 “white flight” is racially inspired but more to seek out a better quality of education which, because of its small size, Anderson Valley has difficulty providing, although the district has always tried by bringing in qualified people to teach classes like advanced math and physics. The prob here is that we have a large majority Mexican school population overseen by a school board consisting of an ancient gringo male and two young gringa moms. I could name a dozen of local Mexicans who could and should join the school board, but the Mexican community hasn’t lately put anybody forward, and the gringo community won’t even talk about the local racial divide in anything but whispers.

PEOPLE are lately reluctant to serve on the AV school board because it’s (1) a thankless task and (2) a school trustee is often in the painful position of being damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. It isn’t easy to say NO to people in a small community dominated by its largest employer, the local school district. Last year’s turmoil probably scared off potential school board members for the next several years, and the difficulties facing the district will require trustees who, ah, uh, enjoy challenges.

THEREFORE, IF TWO PERSONS do not soon volunteer or sign up to run for the school board please understand the following as not a threat but a promise: The editor of this fine publication will run for election to the Anderson Valley School Board. To that end he has already formed an exploratory committee tentatively called, “Mexicans For Bruce.” If my vow doesn’t terrify the Nice People or the Appropriate Police into stepping up…well, you asked for it!

THE LARGE, lively and colorful paintings of Nancy MacLeod are up for viewing at Mama's Medicinals, 328 N. State Street, Ukiah, from April 5 through the end of the month. First Friday opening is April 5, 5-8pm, with live music: Piano by Michael Wilson, guitar by John Kibrick, and Himalayan bells and bowls by Bill Allen. The smaller, lively and colorful works of Nancy MacLeod are up at Mosswood Market in Boonville for the month of April.

VICTOR GRAY and his brother Chris appeared in the Anderson Valley with their mother, Jeannie Gray, in the late 1970s. I recall the Grays living with the late Bobby and Ada Glover near Navarro. The boys played football at the high school and otherwise integrated themselves into the community, which was then much more of a community than it is now, and also the kind of place that not only kept an eye out for young people who might need some help, but offered that help. As adults, the two boys went in different directions. Chris Gray stayed in the area after miraculously surviving a point blank bullet to his jaw one especially turbulent night in the Boonville Lodge. Last I heard he lives and works in Fort Bragg and is doing well. Victor Gray drifted down to Los Angeles and apparently got into drugs under whose influence he committed the violent crimes that have put him into state prison for many years. Over those many years I've received incoherent letters from him notable only for a nostalgic line or two recalled from the best years of his life as a kid here in the Anderson Valley. In prison, and we know that a large percentage of the incarcerated are mentally ill, Victor has been confined to units set aside to exclusively hold deranged inmates. On the basis of his letters I have assumed Victor was unlikely ever to be restored to either sanity or freedom. But I was encouraged this week to receive from him the first fully intelligible letter ever over a period of at least twenty years. He even has the apostrophe placed correctly in his brother's name: "This is Victor Gray. Upon the move from CDC to Hospice I lost Chris's phone number and address. May I please have you call or look up his number? I need a few things and have absolutely no one to help me."

SOMEONE OUT THERE will know Chris Gray and pass along this message from his brother. Victor's present address is:

California Health Care Facility CDCR K13504

Facility 4 Bldg 3A, Cell 119

Box 32200

Stockton, Ca 95213

DEAR TED: "Dear Ted Williams, What do we need to do to get Mendocino County to properly maintain Philo Greenwood Rd and Cameron Rd? It’s clear that both roads are in utter disrepair and quite dangerous due to the number of potholes. Will it get done when someone gets hurt after an accident? I have many more photos but can only post one on your page. The Elk community is fed up to say the least." (Facebook post)

TED PROMPTLY REPLIED: “Now that the crews have finished the Bailey bridge on Lambert Lane, they will be patching on Philo Greenwood, Cameron, Flynn Creek and Mountain View starting today and throughout the week…” 

APOLOGIES to Bev Dutra for the bizarre typo in her recent letter-to-the-editor that translated “It’s a small, 4” by 6” book only 126 pages" that interpreted "4 by 6" as “a small bi-sexual only 126 pages.” Blame MacSpeech software, but blame The Major pre-software for once typing a for rent ad “No smokers; No poets,” (instead of no pets) forcing the poor woman who placed the ad to explain to callers that she had no problem with poets.

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