In Japan's capital, Sonoma County-reared ABC Radio newsman Alex Stone is itching to overcome vexing logistics and move closer to the devastation in the north.

And he's getting used to seeing Japanese virtually ignore violent afterquakes.

"They don't even flinch," said Alex, who got his start chasing stories for KSRO before he was old enough to drive. He said by phone that even an aftershock of an magnitude 6.0 or greater isn't causing people in Tokyo to step off elevators or stop what they're doing.

"A 6.5 would be a huge story in California," Alex said. "But here, no."

ALICE WALKER beamed through her despair Sunday evening at Sebastopol's French Garden restaurant.

The poet and author of "The Color Purple" mourned the destruction of the planet and praised the healing power of dance and activism in a conversation with KQED's Mike Krasny at a benefit for the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center.

Walker said much pains her, certainly the loss of connection to Earth by so many people distracted by their electronic gadgets — "They're nowhere, they're like zombies," she said.

She urged that humans love themselves enough to stop having babies and she avowed that despite all the suffering she's grateful each moment to be alive.

"Coming here, we got lost," Walker told the appreciative Sonoma County crowd. "But being lost, we saw the most amazing cows."

LACED FIRST: Why do you suppose Meals on Meals driver Shannon Coleman wore fairly new laces on her shoes when she set out from Santa Rosa to Geyserville the other day, but returned from her deliveries sporting a frayed brown lace on one shoe and a sad snub of a black lace on the other?

It was because the previous day she'd promised to bring an elderly lady on her route a new pair of laces. Realizing with a groan that she'd forgotten to remember the shoelaces, Coleman plopped down before the astonished woman and swapped laces.

IT SAYS A LOT about the deputy that Chuck Laver was that five current and past Sonoma County sheriffs paid their respects at his funeral Sunday.

Sheriff Steve Freitas and predecessors Bill Cogbill, Jim Piccinini, Mark Ihde and Roger McDermott honored a lawman who loved people and, at 61, died too young.

FOR ST. PATTY'S DAY, some folks you know will once again ring bells outside of Santa Rosa and Sebastopol pubs and markets and invite passersby to drop a wee something into Salvation Army kettles colored green.

Radioman Jim Grady, ex-49er Bob St. Clair, businessman Kirk Veale, retired Assistant Sheriff Gary Zanolini and others will, for the second St. Patrick's Day, revive the Christmas spirit and accept donations all afternoon and into evening.

I'll be at Russian River Brewing Co. starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. Drop by and make my kettle sing.