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Have you seen that great news story about the whimsical woman in San Jose who's kept a snowball in her freezer for 35 years?

Betty Shamus has prized the snowball since the ultra-rare Santa Clara Valley snowstorm of early February, 1976. The snowfall so delighted her 14-year-old son, Jeff, that he put a keepsake on ice.

Well, Jeff's now 49 and he lives in Windsor, where he sells business software and plays in the tribute band, Beatles Flashback. He recalls that as he played in the snow that unique winter day in San Jose, "I wanted to preserve the moment. I saw the snow was melting and I thought, what can I do?"

He made a snowball and stuck it in the freezer. His mom could have tossed it out, but she protected his meteorological memento by placing it in a peanut-butter jar and returning it to the freezer.

Jeff admits that 35 years later, the snowball's not holding up too well. "It kind of looks like a science project now," he said.

At some point, he expects he'll bring it up to his house. If and when that happens, we'll probably know about it because the CHP no doubt will block off 101 to assure no delays to the cryogenic transfer convoy.

In the meantime, wouldn't it be swell if winter would return with such flash and fury that Jeff could stash a Windsor snowball, too?

JESSIE IS COOKING! The smile on Maria Carrillo High junior Jessie Silva's face is so bright, and the kitchen in her school's Advanced Culinary Program so glistening clean, you can scarcely look at either without squinting.

Jessie beams and the kitchen's been super-shined because a Food Network crew assigned to Guy Fieri's &‘Cooking With Kids' initiative is coming to school Friday — to video Jessie as she prepares a pork loin with apple-cider gravy.

The shoot's happening because weeks ago at Guy's birthday party at the Bennett Valley Golf Course, a "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" producer noticed Jessie's verve.

The 17-year-old was there as one of four MCHS culinary students recruited by teacher Mary Schiller to help out in the Legends kitchen. The Triple-D producer spotted Jessie and thought she'd be an ideal student to feature in the webisode of "Cooking With Kids" that Guy will shoot this weekend at Sonoma's Ramekins Culinary School.

The crew wants some time with Jessie beforehand so it's coming to school Friday. Her teacher isn't at all surprised that Jessie — "the perkiest, cutest little thing" — caught a TV producer's eye.

SOME FEARED IT WAS DEAD but the Welfare League's thrift shop in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square was only in suspension for weeks and weeks as a fairly simple remodeling project turned complex.

When I peeked in the windows Wednesday, volunteers with the shop that funds a stunning array of human services were busily preparing for today's grand re-opening. The shop's just lovely.

]WAITING TABLES wasn't Tony Guerrero's profession but he had to do something nearly a decade ago when upheavals among start-ups forced the closure of his high-tech software company.

Guerrero took a job as a server at Brannon's Grill in Calistoga. One night in summer of 2001, diner Doug Dilley, a partner with Santa Rosa-based George Petersen Insurance, took a liking to Guerrero and asked about his day job.

Guerrero said he'd just been offered a lucrative position with a tech firm, which was true. Dilley saw something in Guerrero and said he should come work for him.

"In insurance?!" was Guerrero's reply. But Dilley persisted, and Guerrero mulled. Nine years later, he was all smiles as he was promoted days ago as George Petersen Insurance's newest partner.

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