You often have video crews at your house?

When I checked in with Ruth Paine, a Quaker and educator who retired to Santa Rosa decades after she played an astonishing role in the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, she mentioned that recently she’d been on camera for a couple of investigations.

One is a documentary that Stanford graduate Max Good has entitled, “The Assassination & Mrs. Paine.”

“We just started post-production, so we’re in the final stages,” Good told me by email.

Online at Kickstarter, he seeks donations to finish the film, which examines whether Paine not only befriended the wife of Lee Harvey Oswald but conspired with the CIA to frame Oswald for the murder of JFK.

Paine calls such allegations nonsense. As she recounted to me for a 2013 article, her story since 1963 is that Marina Oswald was her friend but she disliked her husband and was unaware that the night before the assassination he’d hidden a rifle in the garage of her home in the Dallas suburb of Irving. Paine has been interviewed also for a project whose partners include Burt Griffith, a retired Ohio judge who, as a young attorney, served as general counsel to the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination. Like Ruth Paine, Griffith maintains that despite all the allegations and theories, Oswald shot the president and he acted alone.

At 84, Paine seems not only content but eager to do what she can to confirm what Lee Harvey Oswald did, both at her former home and in Dallas. She doubts there’s much in the way of new facts to be exposed but recognizes much “false information to be dismissed.”


I HAND IT TO YOU if you know the given name of the great, marble sculpture that rests outside the main entrance to Santa Rosa Plaza.

“Agraria” is what sculptor Larry Kirkland dubbed the 12-foot-long, 6-foot-high likeness of a hand dedicated at the mall 20 years ago.

Kirkland perceived that it isn’t just any right hand but a tribute to those that are calloused and dirty and strong from working the soil.

Any day now, Santa Rosa Plaza employees will clear up often-asked questions and popular assumptions about the piece by attaching to the wrist an informational plaque.

With or without it, “Agraria” will likely continue to be called, most often, “The Hand.”

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and