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It didn't make the Biggest Stories of 2010. But you'll remember the tale of young Nick Gruber renting a Russian River vacation home in January -- ostensibly for proposing to his girlfriend before shipping off with the Army to Afghanistan -- and then hosting a rave party so huge the deck collapsed, injuring people.

More recent developments suggest that Gruber did not have a girlfriend and his occupation is not soldiering.

Unless there are more than one 20-year-old Nicholas Grubers, the fellow who told a bittersweet love story in order to rent the Guerneville house has spent much of the year party-hopping with Calvin Klein.

Internet photos of the 68-year-old fashion designer and his blond companion have satisfied folks at Russian River Getaways, who still have an ID picture of Gruber, that their least favorite client has had some cosmetic work done and has left River Road for the fast lane.

Should you Google Gruber, you might not want the kids looking over your shoulder. The El Molino High grad's professional interests appear to include underwear modeling and, well, acting. The rental agents at Russian River Getaways will concede that the guy can pull off a persuasive line.

And he certainly is lucky. I'm not talking about this thing with Calvin Klein. Our boy Gruber is lucky the stunt at the river house a year ago didn't kill anybody.

VISION FOR CAMBODIA: Santa Rosa eye doc Gary Barth is packing for his first trip to Cambodia.

He won't do much sight-seeing, but he'll improve the sight of scores of impoverished Cambodian people who've had little chance of being seen by one of their country's only nine eye surgeons.

Barth will spend the days performing cataract surgery, something he's done on eight or nine trips to India through the Seva Foundation, co-founded by Wavy Gravy.

The ophthalmologist is eager to serve Cambodians for several reasons. There's the nightmare the nation suffered under Pol Pot, and the outrage Barth has carried since the U.S. bombed Cambodia in 1968.

"I wouldn't mind giving back a bit to Cambodia," he said. We will check back with him when he returns in early February.

ON THE NOSE: Deep-rooted Bennett Valley grape growers Wells and Mary Wagner left much behind when they moved from the ranch to an in-town house on Santa Rosa's Montecito hill.

But they did take along the country home's classic old rooster weather vane. A bit before Christmas, handy and theatrical son-in-law Aaron Rhodes offered to come up and erect it on the Wagners' new roof.

Mary and Wells were thrilled to see their rooster back on watch, and astonished after dark. Wasn't it just like that son-in-law of theirs, they agreed, to somehow give the vane bird a bright little red electric nose for the holidays.

WHAT A YEAR it's been for the subset of ladies of the Welfare League who meet monthly to visit and knit caps that comfort and warm a boggling array of humans.

Using yarn that people donate to the Welfare League's thrift shop in Railroad Square, or that the League purchases, the ladies make caps for newborns, low-income kids, people struggling with cancer or dialysis, and homeless people. The ladies have even shipped caps to kids and adults in Tanzania, Kenya and Afghanistan.

Beyond their monthly knit-ins, some members of the Mad Hatters (toned down from the Happy Hookers) find that the project gives them something to do at home.

"Some of us make one a day," Marilyn Jackson said. "Others of us aren't quite that productive."

How many caps would you suppose the ladies knitted this year, their biggest year yet?

Two thousand six hundred thirty-seven.

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