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If there's a party, Grady won't show


Jim Grady will be OK. "I've got three different job offers," the grand old man of Sonoma County radio told me.

But after 44 years as the morning voice of KSRO, he's entitled to feel dumped on by the bosses who want to add some spice to the a.m. show and don't see him in the mix.

Grady said it gripes him that the higher-ups didn't just look him in the eye and tell him it was time to move on. Instead, he said, they made him an insulting offer -- a one-hour midday show and a 60 percent cut in pay -- and now are telling the public how sad it is that he has decided to leave KSRO after all these years.

"I don't like the lies," he said. "They're trying to make me look like the guy who turned them down."

Grady might admit he's something of a dinosaur in the radio business. But KSRO owed a better exit to the guy who for 44 years remained his listeners' one live, local link to a station that relies ever more on syndicated programs and talk-show hosts from outside the county.

At 68, Grady hoped to stay on as morning anchor for two more years. He said that if KSRO goes ahead with plans for some big retirement bash following his last day on the air a week from Friday, he won't go.

Who could blame him?

UP AT STEWARTS POINT, Archer Richardson Jr. is preparing to retire from his longtime position behind the cash register at the 136-year-old Stewarts Point Store.

Arch was 6 when he made his first sale at his family's country store alongside Highway 1, just south of The Sea Ranch, 51 years ago. He hasn't spent every day of his life at the store, but he hasn't been away from it much since he took over the operation from his dad in 1986.

As he prepares to sign off, Arch is sharing some of the best questions that he's been asked by travelers on that isolated stretch of the Coast Highway. High on his Top 10 are:

How much farther north is San Francisco?

What time do the whales go by?

Going south, will Stump Beach be on the right or the left?

Arch said that, by far, the favorite question he gets asked by visitors to the hard-to-get-to store is, "Do you live around here?" He'll miss the looks that come over their faces when he gives his standard reply:

"Oh no, I commute daily from Concord."

ARCH IS SORRY to be leaving his customers, but he won't miss all the government fees, rules and bureaucracy. Just the other day he thought, "Yup, it's time to retire," after he dialed the Department of Industrial Relations about a fee and heard this message, left by a state employee before leaving on vacation.

"If you need to speak to me personally, leave a message after the tone and I will get back to you after Oct. 30th."

STANDING TALL: Kids at Maria Carrillo High were reeling from the rampage against the school's pear trees when, the very next day, a twisted mind fouled the campus with ugly and racist graffiti.

Carrillo students can only guess if there's a connection, if somebody out there filled some dark need by striking out against trees one day and black people the next.

Whatever is behind the vandalism, the students have done themselves proud by declaring loud and clear that hate is not welcome at their school. They've been signing pledges for a hate-free campus. They're doing a lot of talking, and listening.

Meanwhile, Principal Mark Klick said it won't be long before the school and a bunch of good people who've offered labor and materials will be ready to plant new trees.

STICK TO COMEDY: In the current Russian River Times, editor Johanna Lynch vents about the terrible death-of-Jesus movie made by the "fascistic catholic" she identifies four times as Mel Brooks.

You can reach Chris Smith at 521-5211 or csmith@pressdemocrat.com.