SMITH: The sister she shouldn't have lost
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 15, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.
If you've never seen Sonoma County's year-old Family Justice Center, a brilliantly conceived haven for victims of domestic violence and elder abuse, Thursday's the day to take a look.
Several folks worth hearing will address the anniversary celebration at the center at 2755 Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. None may be more courageous and committed to preventing family violence than the keynoter speaker, Lori Burleson.
Her sister, Kimberly Baucom, a Meadow Elementary teacher and mother of four, was trying to get free of her husband when he shot her to death and then killed himself on a Petaluma street in April.
Thursday's guests will hear also about the 700 frightened people who this past year sought help at the Family Justice Center for themselves and the 300 children they brought with them.
BAD SEEDS? Tom Presley is having a tough time coming up with a reason why anyone would do what was done to the garden for military veterans that grows near the Sonoma County Airport.
Presley spends a lot of time tending the raised beds of the Veterans' Organic Peace Garden, which generous community contributions helped to create a year ago on Brickway Boulevard.
The Vietnam combat vet couldn't think of any better way to celebrate his 66th birthday last Saturday than to water the tomato plants.
He arrived to find a tomato bed ripped up. Six sturdy wire cages had been uprooted and carried off. Tomatoes knocked loose from the collapsed vines lay strewn on the ground.
Presley said, “I just sat one of the beds and cried.”
“It took me over an hour to clean it up,” he said.
He's sure that whoever hit the garden could have no idea what an asset it's been to the vets who've learned organic gardening there and share in the harvest.
“We laid our lives down for this country,” Presley said, still with tears in his voice. “For someone to do this . . .”
ALL TO THE WALL: If you've ever heard of a larger school field trip than this, let me know.
On Nov. 9, 11 buses will take the entire junior class of Santa Rosa High — about 500 students — to Sonoma to see a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the great wall engraved with the names of the more than 58,000 Americans lost in Nam.
Social-studies teacher Terry Swehla came up with the idea and spoke with
vets eager to meet students and answer their questions.
“It's just an incredible teachable moment,” Swehla said.
Members of Sonoma Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1943, which is bringing the 80 percent scale model of The Wall to Sonoma's Veterans Memorial Building from Nov. 8 to 11, promises there will be plenty for the students to see and learn and consider.
You're wondering about the cost of the half-day field trip. Swehla's enthusiasm persuaded the SRHS Foundation to pick up the nearly $3,000 cost of the buses.
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