The people of Oakmont didn't run down cyclist Toraj Soltani. A lone neighbor stands accused of doing that.

But dozens in the east Santa Rosa retirement enclave have reached out to Toraj and visited his family's landmark Mac's deli at the urging of an Oakmonter who senses that his fellow residents may be talking and thinking too much about the suspect in the car-vs.-bike assault and too little about the victim.

Jim Duport went to Mac's, ate, shook Toraj's one good hand and left behind a blank guest book. He's invited neighbors to go in and sign it.

Many of the messages I read assure Toraj of something he already knows: The attack that fractured his left wrist did not reflect the true nature of Oakmont and is an abomination to the people who live there.

A couple of people who signed the book wrote that a silver lining of the terribly unfortunate incident is that it led them to discover Mac's.

LAURA'S WATCH: A fine column by David Carr in the New York Times praises what former PD crime reporter Laura Norton Amico does to acknowledge some of the victims of homicide who too often die with the rest of us taking scarce notice.

Laura and her husband, Chris, operate Homicide Watch D.C. (, a reporting project that strives to cover every homicide in the District and runs the photo of every victim.

Its conviction is that every murder is important. Recently, the Amicos resorted to making a plea for donations to revive their financially struggling project and to train journalism students to do the reporting.

Laura, a 2000 Maria Carrillo alum who wrote for the PD from 2007 to 2009 and studies now at Harvard on a Nieman-Berkman Fellowship, learned this past weekend that she and Chris' met their fundraising goal.

In Santa Rosa, Laura's mom, Kitty Norton, a Wright District teacher, beams.

SUSAN'S WATCH: Master Gardener Susan Curry is certain of two things regarding this week's 2nd National Heirloom Exposition at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

Susan will volunteer there, as she did at the premiere expo last year, but she will not wear her Gucci watch.

The watch, which had belonged to her late mother, Dorothy Gaylord, was on her wrist following the 2011 event as she helped fill great, cardboard boxes with pumpkins and gourds that had decorated the Hall of Flowers.

Then the watch wasn't there. Although the heartsick Susan figured it was lost forever, she mentioned it to Gwen Kilchherr, the PD garden columnist and Baker Creek Seed Bank staffer who'd recruited her.

Gwen notified the people in L.A. to whom the pumpkins and gourds were shipped. A bit later, a phone call advised Gwen that a woman with the Southland veggie firm heard of the lost watch and subsequently dreamed it was in a crate of pumpkins.

A search uncovered the Gucci at the bottom of a pumpkin box. Now Susan treasures it more than ever.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and