That's odd, thought David Staples the other morning from the porch of a Tahoe/Donner cabin.

The retired Santa Rosa doc, in the Sierra Nevada to cycle with four pals, noticed that the passenger door on his Toyota Highlander was open.

He walked down and peeked in — and froze at the sight of bear pawprints on the upholstery and dash. He saw that an intruder had finished off a bit of sandwich crust that he'd left in a bag.

But that's all the bear did. It hadn't broken into the SUV but had pulled on the handle latch to open the door, ate what little it found and left the Toyota without clawing anything or pooping.

Staples is most appreciative. And a tad surprised that upon leaving, the tidy bear didn't close the car door.


YES IT HURT for someone to damage, again, the dragon mosaic created along Santa Rosa's Prince Memorial Greenway by Mario Uribe and the paid apprentices of ArtStart.

But they won't let the vandalism deter them from making public art. And their supporters aren't about to let up, either.

An ArtStart auction happens Saturday afternoon at the DeTurk Round Barn, and admirer Stephan Pastis, creator of the wildly popular "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip, is all in.

Pastis drew art for a mirror that will be on exhibit Saturday, and that right now is receiving bids on eBay.


WHEN IN THAILAND, Jan Coulter and Andy Lennox work as hard or harder than at home in Sebastopol.

Three times the couple has traveled to the border town of Mae Sot to volunteer at a school that serves Burmese teens who've fled ethnic and sectarian violence in their country, officially Myanmar, or whose families migrated to Thailand seeking work.

Students arrive at Minmahaw School in great need, so Coulter and Lennox will host a rummage sale to raise money for their education and upkeep. Coulter says good stuff — clothes, baby items, books, furniture — is streaming in for the sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of O'Reilly Media.

A bonus: About a dozen and a half members of Analy High's leadership class will be there to lend a hand and learn more about the challenges of life on the Thai-Burma border.


THE FLEA MARKET that popped up in the lot of the Grocery Outlet on Santa Rosa's Fourth Street is a labor of love by Janice "J.J." Jordan, who every year raises money to buy gifts for kids who wake up on Christmas at Catholic Charities' family homeless shelter.


IT'S ANN-a-lee, but Comedy Central wiseacre Daniel Tosh had some nationally televised, potty-mouthed fun with the root-word and pronunciation of the name of Sebastopol's fine high school.

Some Analy students howled at Tosh's bit, and some found it solidly sophomoric.

For the record, Analy was the name of the 19th Century township that became Sebastopol. It was named by Irish-born land surveyor and eventual Sonoma County state senator Jasper O'Farrell in honor of his clan's medieval homeland, Annaly.

And what was the name of comic Tosh's alma mater in Florida? Astronaut.


GO BEFORE YOU GO: Who'd imagine that the federal shutdown would be stressing out restaurant owners in Marin's idyllic Stinson Beach?

The problem is that the budget impasse has closed the town's hugely popular beach park, operated by the National Park Service. The loss of thousands of parking spaces is bad enough, but the locking of the park's bathrooms has sent thousands of visitors into Stinson Beach restaurants in urgent need.

Cafe owners fret for their septic systems. Stinson Beach County Water District officials plead for visitors to use the six porta-potties that have now been rolled into town — and to not even think of about going outdoors.