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A Press Democrat Blog

Chris Smith

News and Views from the North Bay

On Saturday, a pick of parades on the River

You can thank that run of late-season soggy weather for a tough choice Saturday (June 11) on the lower Russian River. Two delightful small-town parades — the Forestville Youth Park Parade and Guerneville’s 65th Annual Stumptown Parade — both take place Saturday morning. The Forestville parade and two-day Youth Park barbecue and music fest were supposed to happen a week ago but were postponed because of rain. The Forestville parade steps off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Front… Read More »

Dinner with Jesse Williams’ remarkable friend

The sendoff dinner for two fellows who’ll pedal from fallen soldier Jesse Williams’ grave in Santa Rosa to Ground Zero in New York City is today (Wednesday, June 8) at the Veterans Memorial Building. This is Sonoma County’s chance to meet Kevin Mincio, who was working as a Wall Street banker on Sept. 11, 2001, and witnessed the terrorist attack close-up. Soon afterward he enlisted in the Army, became an infantryman and shipped out to Iraq. There he met and became… Read More »

It starts at Jesse’s grave

I spoke the other day with the remarkable Kevin Mincio, who lived a comfortable, jet-setter life as a Wall Street banker until he witnessed the 9/11 attacks on New York City. He gave up his job as a vice president at Goldman Sachs and enlisted in the Army. As an infantryman in Iraq, he became tight friends with Santa Rosa-reared Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams. Williams death in action in April of 2007 was a terrible blow to Mincio, who later became… Read More »

Oh, that SMARTs

The day’s still young and already I’ve savored a couple of good yucks regarding the envisioned SMART commuter rail system. The first came as I read Valerie Brown’s explanation for why the train district’s interim general manager, David Heath, has been replaced. “The workload has gotten overwhelming,” said Brown, the Sonoma County supervisor. Well, it seems perfectly reasonable that Heath had too much work, given that he was still functioning also as SMART’s chief financial officer. But who has the district’s executive committee… Read More »

Lauren’s primo spot in London

What a lovely, exhilarating telephone chat I just had with Ursuline High grad (Class of ’08) Lauren Morehouse, who’s in London and expecting the royal wedding to be something she’ll remember forever. Lauren is a junior at the University of Notre Dame and she’s in London working as an intern for a member of Parliament. She called it “by far the best experience of my life.” Her Parliament security badge entitled her enter a drawing for a ticket to a prime… Read More »

It’s fifth graders 1, me 0

So I decided to write a column item about a great, fun, family event coming April 23 to Sonoma — an ‘Are You Smarter Than a Sonoma Valley Fifth-Grader’? game, a benefit for the valley’s vigorous Education Foundation. And I thought to pose a question of the sort that might be asked at the game: What’s the largest bear in America and where does it live? Before completing the column I must have visited 10 Websites, reading up on the giant… Read More »

A pub crawl with a purpose

No fooling! Something new’s coming Friday night (April 1) to a handful of downtown Santa Rosa taverns. It’s Pubs & Roses, a brilliant idea by the people working to take our Luther Burbank Rose Parade to the next level. They’re encouraging folks to dress down in overalls, boots or other country duds and join the fun that starts at 6 p.m. at the Belvedere, on Mendocino Avenue just north of College Avenue. Ten bucks will get you a wristband that… Read More »

These two are ice-sculpture giants

West-of-Sebastopol residents Mark Szulgit and Brooke Erdman are back from Norway, where they created two grand pieces of art that take one’s breath away – and are made of snow and ice. Oslo right now is celebrating both the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, and the world-renowned works of native son artist Edvard Munch (“The Scream,” “Vampire,” “The Kiss.”) Someone in Oslo conceived the inspired idea to treat ski-championship competitors and spectators to ice and snow sculptures inspired by Munch’s motifs.  Organizers of… Read More »

Tuesday at our one-tree church

Most of us either have never been inside Santa Rosa’s sweet and novel Church Built from One Tree, or we can’t remember when we were. Tuesday, Feb. 22, will be the ideal day to rectify that. From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m, the city will host a grand re-opening of the former First Baptist Church as it assumes its new role as a historic and charming venue for parties, receptions, weddings, anniversaries, what have you. A ribbon will be cut and… Read More »

Electrifying show at the Summerfield

Several sleek, hot models will shimmer at the Northern California premiere of a film Thursday evening at Santa Rosa’s Summerfield theaters. The models include some of the most exciting electric cars made and the film is the 75-minute documentary, “What Is the Electric Car?” Host and producer Scott DuPont will be there and following the 7 p.m. showing will answer questions on a panel with Ginny Medeiros, who works for Sonoma County’s Zap and drives one of its electric cars,… Read More »