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The discovery in east Santa Rosa of a young buck walking about with a crossbow arrow through its face has given rise to a vigorous and compassionate conversation on the PD's website and on Facebook.

People aren't only lamenting the act but sharing ideas for humanely capturing the buck and removing the arrow. It's not just idle chatter.

One of the people engaged in the online conversation is Shirley Zindler, an officer with Sonoma County Animal Control.

"I have put together a group willing to help tranquilize the deer and remove the arrow," she said.

But there have been no reported sightings of the deer for several days, and the heavy rain hasn't helped the search.

Zindler said anyone who sees it can email her at flyingdogs@earthlink.net.

The fellow who reported the shooting of the buck to state Fish & Game, Graham Malcolm-Wium, said Saturday he has not seen it since late last week.

"I'm going to go and look this morning," he said.

Malcolm-Wium said that for the past year the buck has spent a lot of time in the field behind his place on Summerfield Road, south of Hoen Avenue, and is frequently in the company of two fawns.

When he and state game warden last saw the buck, it was walking and able to eat, despite the short, red-and-yellow arrow that pierced its face from cheek to cheek.

"I'm not against hunting," he said, but to his eye what happened to the neighborhood buck is sheer cruelty.

We'll hope for a happy ending to the ordeal. Should you spot the buck, Officer Zindler will be pleased to hear from you and to activate her team.

A HOMELESS COUPLE caught the eye of Santa Rosa's Jack Tibbetts, at home from his studies at UC Berkeley, as he made a Goodwill run for his mom, Penny.

"I hopped out of my car, grabbed my old sleeping bags, and walked over to them," he recalled. "I told them that I was on my way to the Goodwill to get rid of these old sleeping bags, but thought I would ask if they wanted them first.

"The man jumped up, emphatically saying he would take them. The woman with him started to cry.

"I asked if she was okay, and then the man explained their story. It was a sad one to say the least. It involved losing their home, not being able to get work, and the day-to-day struggles of being homeless."

That moment, Tibbetts knew he had to do something for Sonoma County people reduced to living out in the elements. He and some fellow Cal students created Warm 4 the Holidays and began to solicit warm clothing and sleeping bags.

The goal of their collection drive (warm4theholidays.org) is to gather 4,537 items — equivalent to one for each of the people counted in the most current census of the county's homeless.

Drop-off locations are the three Oliver's Markets, Sonoma Outfitters in Santa Rosa, Lagunitas Brewing and Aqus Caf?in Petaluma, Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol and Lolo's Consignment in St. Helena.

Tibbetts said he and his friends will give everything to Catholic Charities, The Living Room and Social Advocates for Youth.

IT POURED on Friday as wondrous women of the Welfare League arrived at the Flamingo Hotel to set up for the annual holiday luncheon that precedes their Christmas Unlimited, a godsend to more than 2,000 disadvantaged local kids.

The ladies had about 45 raffle-prize gift baskets to carry in. Welfare League member Karen Palmiotti spotted a clutch of athletic-looking young men in the Flamingo lobby and beckoned them to come schlep baskets through the rain.

They hopped to it. Palmiotti learned they are the basketball team from Liberty High in Bakersfield, in town for the 13th Annual Russ Peterich Tip-Off Classic.

She praised them to their coach, who nodded and replied, "Their parents raised them."

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)