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Santa Rosa's next bishop gains opinion-page notoriety

If you saw Saturday’s column by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, you may or may not have noticed a reference to the Roman Catholic bishop recently selected by the pope to succeed Bishop Daniel Walsh as head of the Diocese of Santa Rosa.

Kristof didn’t name Bishop Robert Vasa, but recalled his nationally publicized decision last year to withdraw the church’s sponsorship of central Oregon’s largest hospital — Bend’s St. Charles Medical Center — because it performs tubal ligation sterilization. Bishop Vasa has said he took the action because the hospital had “gradually moved away” from the ethical and religious standards of the church.

In the column, Kristof noted that an Arizona bishop also stripped a Catholic hospital of its affiliation with its diocese because it terminated a pregnancy to save a woman’s life. Kristof warns, “This clash is a bellwether of a profound disagreement” at Catholic hospitals that serve “as part of the backbone of American health care.”

One more thing to keep an eye on.

THE BABY’S 33: All these years, the small, award-winning string of The Toyworks stores has been John and Marilyn Goehring’s baby.

But they’ve got a grandbaby now, in Colorado. That’s a big reason they’re stepping back, having a close-out sale at the Santa Rosa Avenue store and consolidating their Santa Rosa operation at the store on College Avenue.

Another of John and Marilyn’s babies, son Jonathan, will step up with longtime manager Cristi Ronchelli to allow them to do more of what grandparents do.

SEE THAT STORY about how the Spreckels Center is doing just fine since cash-strapped Rohnert Park cut back its financial support?

That’s sweet news to Scott van der Horst, a hot-air balloon pilot and stage producer who loves Spreckels and seeks to help it thrive: “I think it’s the best performing arts venue in the county.”

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