The Talented Mr. Black

Check that. How about The Omni-Talented Mr. Black? Or The Mysterious Mr. Black? Or The Charismatic Mr. Black? They all apply. A tall, fit-looking man who looks like one of the good guy gun slingers at the OK Corral, Ron Black, a man of many parts, works his artist’s magic out of an unlikely studio […]

Jerry Coffman, Arky Vaughan & Joe Dimaggio

When I first met Jerry Coffman I had just bought a two-bedroom, one bath house in Boonville. The half-acre was set back off what is now called Anderson Valley Way, conferring on its two-mile length a bland, suburban anonymity which belied the road’s improbably vivid history of Indians, five distinct waves of immigrants, freed slaves, […]

Shooting In The Anderson Valley

A young Philo man was forced to shoot a knife-wielding drunk Saturday night when the man attacked his mother and another woman in a home near Hendy Woods. Details are just now becoming known, but the shooting occurred about 8pm on property owned by the Gowan family and occupied by Cathy Gowan, 26, and just […]

Oaky Joe Munson Soldiers On

Oaky Joe Munson stopped by last week. On the marijuana fame meter, Oaky is about a 9 headed for 10 where he’ll join the legends of the Northcoast business — Eddy Lepp, Pebbles ‘Pebs’ Trippet, Matt Graves, Denis Peron, and Tim Blake. “I’m 52 and I’ve been growing for 30 years,” Joe booms. “I’ve never been […]

Boonville To Host First Ever State Championship Game

In a game last week he’ll remember forever, and a game that still has the Anderson Valley buzzing, Tony Pardini Jr., with seconds left in overtime, intercepted a Hanna pass, quickly drew a foul, and coolly sank the second of his two free throws, sealing the third round sectional championship for Anderson Valley last Wednesday […]

The Theory & Practice Of Redwood

Long before wine grapes and marijuana, family farms were Mendocino County’s dominant feature. Timber sustained several thousand families who were able to take home enough money from the woods and the mills to create the stable communities that lasted here until the early 1970s. Many people called the family ranch home while they went off […]

Tate Laiwa Did Not Kill Joe Poe

Martin “Tate” Laiwa remembers the day he was formally accused of the murder of Joe Poe.

“David Eyster saw me in the jury box prior to being arraigned that day back in 1992, and he comes up to me and says, ‘Tate, I read the case and they want me to take it. I told them no, and from what I read there is no evidence and I know you did not do it.’ I broke down and started to cry, and he says, ‘I believe you and you should be home as soon as the investigation is over.’ I believed him, and I was surprised to hear that come from his mouth because he didn’t like me and I didn’t like him much. I was sure that the truth would clear me, and I would be home soon. Even a man who didn’t like me could see that I was not the one who killed the man, and he read the reports!”

The Stick Lady Is Dead

She was known around Boonville as the Stick Lady, a gaunt, listing figure in hip-length khaki, high-water trousers, a leather Australian bush hat securely fastened to her head, a predictable sight every afternoon, rain or shine. On hundred degree days she’d walk in the morning. On rainy days Dolores would walk up and down the grandstand stairs at the Fairgrounds. Her daily effort may have extended her life, or abbreviated it.

A Brief History Of Early Mendocino County

Feliz Creek today, where it passes beneath highway 101 at Hopland is, in the summer, a parched expanse of dry streambed that is barely discernible as a watercourse. Only when it comes alive in the winter as it runs off from its headwaters in the west hills into the Russian River can you get some […]

Bleecker’s Cabin

Julie Cook retired to what she assumed would be the bucolic peace of 22 acres at Third Gate, west of Willits. She jokes that she’s “the only person at Third Gate who isn’t in the marijuana business.” But the marijuana people don’t concern her. She likes her neighbors, likes Willits, likes Mendocino County, but does […]

There’s Fish in the Yorkville Hills

Lots of fish. But these fish aren’t found in the occasional streams that meander down to the Rancheria, fighting their way to and from the distant Pacific. No sir, these fish have it easy. They pass their days swimming unmolested in the protected cool of polyethelene tanks in a commodious barn resting on land once […]