Healdsburg's 16-year-old Colby Groom hosted a party on Sunday to mark a milestone in his after-school project to rid the world of defects and disease of the human heart.

Personal appeals by this spunky, personable teen and sales of the charitable wine — Colby Red — created by his famed father, Daryl Groom, now have brought in more than $500,000.

"Which is completely amazing," Colby said at the bash at VML Winery.

He and his family donate to the American Heart Association and other organizations working to prevent or cure heart disease and to serve those afflicted by it — especially the kids.

Colby's parents, Daryl and Lisa, and two of his three sisters — all of whom once feared they might lose him to open-heart surgery — pitched in at the party. VML poured wine and top-drawer restaurateurs Charlie Palmer and Mark and Terry Stark provided the dazzling food.

Colby, a soph at Cardinal Newman High, wasn't yet 10 when he underwent back-to-back surgeries prompted by a defective valve. It was a miserable and terrifying time of his life, but he came through.

At age 12, he asked his dad, long one of Australia's finest winemakers and now one of America's best to boot, if they might sell a wine and donate the proceeds to the fight against heart disease.

Colby would have been happy for the project to produce $500. But Daryl made a delicious wine and he and Treasury Wine Estates arranged with Walgreen's to carry it.

Since then, Colby Red has been picked up by California Pizza Kitchen and other restaurant and retail chains across America, and beyond. Colby also travels to fundraising galas, tells his story and both brings in and grants significant dollars for heart-health causes.

He's focused now on seeing his mission pass the $1 million mark.

He said, "This is going to go on as long as we get it to go."

FROM COLBY RED we move to Ed Thompson orange-and-black.

A big chunk of the huge crowd at Santa Rosa High's 140th birthday open house Sunday went wild when Ed, 89 and a proud alum of the Class of '42, stood to sing in the auditorium.

Clad in the school colors and backed up by his barbershop buddies in the Redwood Chordsmen, he belted out "Old Bones," made famous by George Burns.

But at one point, the lyrics eluded him. Chordsmen director Phil DeBar mouthed the words to him. Ed nodded and told the crowd, "I must be getting old."

Howls and cheers rose up up from fellow Panthers of all ages. Ed continued.

And when the WWII vet finished, the standing ovation reverberated all across his school.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE came to SSU's Green Music Center on Saturday to hear the unrivaled Jessye Norman.

Somebody must have snapped a shot of the former Secretary of State, once again a professor at Stanford, as she raised her phone inside the Weill Hall lobby for a selfie.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.


Sonoma County’s 24-hour emergency mental health hotline can be reached at 800-746-8181.