Lisa Ellison and her two kids are choked up by the community response to the theft of the two-wheeled cart that allowed their partially paralyzed dog, Tule, to pull herself around by her good front legs.

Donations from strangers and from clients of Powerhouse Gym, one of the places Ellison teaches yoga, quickly covered the $700 cost of a new canine wheelchair.

Ellison has one on order and she's eager for it to arrive. She suspects Tule will be happy to have wheels again, too.

She said, "I took her on a walk the other day, holding her like a wheelbarrow."


THERE'S A GUITAR <MC>handcuffed to the bar at the Northwood Golf Course restaurant just upriver from Monte Rio.

It's a beauty, a Gretsch, and it was donated by Bohemian Club member Michael Lazarus. The instrument will be raffled off Thursday night, when talent pours out of the Bohemian Grove and into the 102nd Monte Rio Variety Show (

Restaurant owner Jim Kokalis resorted to the handcuffs because the Gretsch is too big to fit in the display case that prior to previous Variety Shows held a donated Stratocaster.

Kokalis is certain none of his regulars would swipe the guitar were he to set it out untethered, but he's not so sure about you and me.


THE PINK ELEPHANT <MC>in downtown Monte Rio is looking in the pink again.

Owner Tom O'Brien has put the renowned sign back up, and the awning. And the front of The Pink wears a new redwood face.

O'Brien's working hard to restore and re-open the storied joint, which went dark late in 2009. When it might come back to life, he can't say.

But, bummer, it won't be in time for a Variety Show <QA0>

afterglow Thursday.


NICE YOUNG MAN: <MC>Imagine Shari Kadar's panic.

The Santa Rosa artist had two dear relatives from Budapest coming for a visit. When her husband, who had never met the Hungarians, drove to SFO to pick them up he took along a photo of them to hold aloft.

But he and the young visitors, who don't speak English, didn't connect. Frantic hours passed as Kadar placed calls — to the airline, to immigration authorities — hoping without success for word of her relatives' whereabouts.

At last, a knock at the door. It was the exhausted but relieved Janos and Fruzsina, from Hungary.

They told Kadar they didn't recognize anyone at the airport so they found their way onto an Airport Express bus. In Santa Rosa, they bought a map at a convenience store and, lugging their bags, set out for their hosts' home a few miles away.

The pair said "a nice young American man" approached and clearly wanted to help, so they showed him a paper printed with Kadar's address.

The stranger loaded their luggage into a pickup and drove them there. Kadar knows nothing else about him, except that he deserves more gratitude than she can find the words for, in either language.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and