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Before we get to the crime, it's important for all food lovers to know that their Sonoma County dining repertoire is incomplete without a visit to Evelyn Cheatham's W.O.W.

The full name of this donation-only culinary jewel on Hahman Drive, between the Montgomery Village Shopping Center and Montgomery High, is Worth Our Weight.

Cheatham created it (worthourweight.com) as a food-

industry apprentice program for under-served youth. Open Fridays through Sundays, W.O.W. boasts wonderful food, enthusiastic students and no posted prices. Patrons eat what they want to eat, then pay what they want to pay.

So, W.O.W. is a good thing, an extraordinary thing. But bad things do happen, and the other day somebody took off with the sweet, 1950s teardrop travel trailer that Cheatham had parked out front.

She bought the 13-foot cutie a few months back as a mobile bakery. Her apprentices were going to fill it with turnovers, scones and such and haul it every week to the farmers market.

The theft is a hurtful blow to Cheatham and W.O.W.'s students, who are preparing once again to prepare and deliver Christmas Day meals to hundreds of people in shelters, under bridges, in children's homes and elsewhere.

"Just because we have hard times doesn't mean we have to steal from each other," Cheatham said.

She remains ever hopeful. Won't it make for a great Christmas story if the little trailer comes home?

FEAR NOT: You'll never guess what Maya Parmer of Petaluma did in a dark, old house in Argentina, and you don't have too. You can see for yourself on TV.

Maya, a 21-year-old Petaluma High grad now in her senior year at UCLA, was looking for babysitting jobs on Craigslist when she noticed an ad seeking contestants for "Estate of Panic," a new reality show on the Sci Fi channel.

On a lark, she applied. The Sci Fi people liked her and in September sent her and six others to a mansion-made-creepy in Buenos Aires to confront their fears and compete for major money.

"The house is supposed to know what you're afraid of," Maya said.

She had great fun making the episode, "Don't Burst my Bubble," which premiered last night on Sci Fi and will repeat several times in coming days. It also can be viewed at www.scifi.com.

Maya said the experience confirmed something: "I don't have a lot that I'm afraid of."

LATTER-DAY LASSIE: The dog that former "Lassie" star Jon Provost and his wife, Laurie, just rescued from the Humane Society of Sonoma County is no Hollywood pretty boy.

"Buddy" is a dachshund-terrier mix still healing from the nasty, nasty flea problem he had back when nobody loved him.

But he has a great smile and Jon, the Santa Rosan who played Lassie's master, Timmy, on TV from 1957 to '64, said he and Laurie think their first-ever pound rescue is a star.

"As a matter of fact," he said, "Buddy is right here at my feet, looking at me as we talk."

Oh, the adventures they'll have.

BIRDS IN THEIR HAIR: Devoted recycler Kathleen Kraemer pondered a possible use for the hair she's losing to chemotherapy.

It occurred to her to save her hair in a basket and early next year place it out in the yard of her Santa Rosa home, so that nesting birds might put it to use as building material.

When a godchild of Kathleen, 8-year-old Mira Wegman, caught wind of the plan, she couldn't wait to get a haircut and add her shorn locks to her G'ma's basket.

Come spring, the two of them will watch to see what the birds make of it.

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

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