Mark Ihde drove with his cellphone in his hand the other day when he spotted a fully illuminated Santa Rosa Police cruiser in the rear-view.

The point came in the Goodwill Industries president/CEO's exchange with the congenial cop at which Ihde might have mentioned that he'd been a peace officer, in fact the Sonoma County Sheriff. Many ex-lawmen will do that in such a spot and many are unfairly cut a break.

Good for Ihde for keeping his law-enforcement career to himself and taking his lumps. And welcome, Sheriff, to the "I Learned My Cellphone Lesson Without Killing Myself or Others" club.

MUSLIMS AND JEWS and all sorts of people from throughout the Bay Area discovered the Green Music Center at Sunday's joyous performance of the reborn El Gusto orchestra of Algiers.

It opened with the screening of Safinez Bousbia's documentary on the Jewish and Muslim musicians of the Casbah whom she helped to reunite nearly 50 years after revolution and retribution scattered them.

Their appearance at the Green Center — admission, $5 for any seat indoors or out — was a triumph that drew a diverse crowd of nearly 1,400 people, a good many of whom were enticed to SSU's music hall for the first time.

The national tour took El Gusto only to LA's Grand Performances at California Plaza, the Lincoln Center in New York, D.C.'s Kennedy Center and here. Bravo!

HEAVY LIFTER: Retired attorney Teresa de la O had the greatest time last weekend in Cotati's La Plaza Park.

Did she rest between bouts of playing with the grandkids? She did not.

De la O, who's 76, strode onto the park stage, grabbed a weightlifting bar and set a couple of Pacific Weightlifting Association records for lifts by a woman her age.

"It's a health thing," she said. She strengthens her bones and stays fit by training at Petaluma's Myles Ahead Weightlifting.

De la O is fairly new to Olympic weightlifting but she's loved it since her heart went boom upon watching on TV 40 years ago as the late Vasily Alekseyev of Russia lifted his way to his first of two gold medals.

Don't you think he'd be proud of her?

JUST AS HIGH on life and good health is Julie Clark, whose aerial acrobatics will thrill visitors to this weekend's Wings Over Wine Country air show.

At 65, Clark is a retired airline captain and an air show star. In a tragic chapter of her remarkable life, her dad, Pacific Air Lines Capt. Ernest Clark, was killed along with everyone on a Stockton-to-S.F. flight by an armed and deranged passenger in 1964.

Julie Clark will speak about her life and her sponsor, Juice Plus, at a free talk and reception at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hilton Sonoma Wine Country. Organizer Joanna Rebelgale,, is keeping a nose count.

Come Saturday, Clark will frolic above the county airport in her sweet, chrome-and-blue T-34 Mentor.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and