Former S.F. Giants starter Noah Lowry has a new pitch: He now co-owns Santa Rosa Ski & Sports and he swears the hip ski-skate-wake shop will become even more so.

"Quite a bit is happening over here," said Lowry, who won 14 games for the Giants in 2007 before being put out of the game by injuries.

He bought the venerable Santa Rosa Ski & Sports with partners John Farrell, a military vet who grew up working at Sonoma Cutlery stores, and longtime SRSS employee Michael Conway.

The former Giant settled in Sonoma County after falling in love with it during frequent visits with his wife, Andrea, a graduate of Rancho Cotate High.

He and his partners will launch their store's new era Saturday with a parking-lot celebration that starts at 5:30 p.m. The reggae band Thrive will play, free stuff will be doled out and Hooters staffers will serve hot wings.

After living for years in and near San Francisco, Lowry said he's liking the feel and fit of his new town.

"I'm not really the city type, to tell you the truth. Santa Rosa is probably as much city as I can handle."

SEE WHO'S SINGING Friday night at the Green Music Center?

Choirs from all of Santa Rosa's public high schools will experience the world-class beauty and acoustics of Weill Hall while performing in the 7 p.m. William Barclay Memorial Scholarship Concert.

The $10 requested at the door will go right back into the choral programs.

If you've waited for the right reason to go to the Green Center, this may be it.

WINE, NOT WAR: That wasn't just any tour group that sniffed and sipped at the Trione Winery in Geyserville.

Each of the 56 visitors was a military officer, colonel or above, from a foreign country. All members of the D.C.-based National Defense University's current International Fellows class, they toured the winery as guests of proud Navy vets Henry and Vic Trione.

The diverse class of military brass learned about Sonoma County wine and witnessed its potential for enhancing a meal and, perhaps, contributing to peace. As they tasted and chatted, one officer from Israel and one from Egypt looked for all the world like old friends.

THE REV. COFFEE believed in the power of music to soothe and inspire, and so does the late Sonoma County community leader's son.

James Coffee Jr. is bringing gospel, jazz and neo-soul to Santa Rosa's Railroad Square/West End all this weekend for the free Heritage Music Festival.

Coffee's band, Urban Sacred, will perform along with Derick Hughes, who sings with Roberta Flack; sax player Rodney Bird, gospel singer Lolita Alhart-Matthews and others.

It happens on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon at the Arlene Francis Center on 6th Street.

Coffee said he's found that while music may not make your troubles go away, "it does make it easier to cope."

Press Democrat Poll

What type of warning did you receive about last October’s fires? (Multiple responses allowed)

Official alert on my landline: 5 percent

Official alert on my cellphone: 17 percent

Neighbor warned me: 14 percent

Family member or friend warned me: 28 percent

Police or fire came to my home to warn me: 5 percent

None: 43 percent

Don’t know: 1 percent

In the future, how would you like to be notified about a fire or other impending disaster?

Phone call: 31 percent

Text message: 30 percent

Email: 1 percent

Air raid siren: 28 percent

Other (specify): 7 percent

Don’t know: 3 percent

Do you think Sonoma County is more prepared today to warn you about fires or disasters than it was last year?

Yes: 54 percent

No: 31 percent

Don’t know: 15 percent

SOURCE: The Press Democrat Poll/David Binder Research