Some of the littlest students at Schaefer School in fire-struck Coffey Park could write a book about Kristi Yamaguchi.

The school’s kindergartners and first-graders watched a video of the 1992 Olympic Games that earned Yamaguchi a gold medal in singles figure skating. The kids learned that the East Bay skater is the mother of two children, that for decades she’s championed early childhood literacy and that as a children’s book author she made the New York Times bestseller list.

So when Yamaguchi came to Schaefer days ago, said Principal Jamie Worthington, “they already knew all about her.”

Yamaguchi made a substantial donation to North Bay fire relief efforts prior to coming to Coffey Park to have some fun with Schaefer Charter’s more than 100 kindergartners and first-graders.

She read to the students and gave each an autographed copy of her 2016 book, “Cara’s Kindness,” which speaks of paying forward acts of caring.

Accompanying Yamaguchi was a team of PG&E employees who volunteered to mentor the students and work with them to make dream catchers.

The skater’s visit made for an awesome morning for the school’s 5- and 6-year-olds.

“They just loved her,” Worthington said. “They ate her up.”


PANTHER BATH: Smoke and ash from the October fires have not been kind to the grand edifice of Santa Rosa High School. So lovers of the school are mounting a cleanup and green-up day.

It’s March 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will take to the school with power washers — have you got one? — and rakes, clippers and brooms.

To sign up, drop an email to


A DRIVE-THROUGH was never envisioned for Santa Rosa’s historic crown jewel, Luther Burbank Home & Gardens. That didn’t keep a guy in a pickup from crashing through the main gate.

The impact badly damaged the brick-columned and tile-roofed portico on Santa Rosa Avenue, a 1938 gift from the 20/30 Club and SRJC. The errant pickup also took out several panels of the registered national, state and local historic landmark’s quite new whitewashed redwood fence.

The valiant volunteers who welcome visitors to the spot where the world-renowned horticulturist lived and conducted experiments until his death in 1926 suspect the entire portico will have to be rebuilt.

Who knows how long the Santa Rosa Avenue entrance will be taped off. Despair not, there are other gates just around the corners on Sonoma Avenue and Charles Street.


WERE YOU THERE, or do you know anyone who was there, when, in 1968, Santa Rosans filled and buried the time capsule that’s just been disinterred from Old Courthouse Square?

Folks planning Santa Rosa’s sesquicentennial celebration long to hear from people who were present when the capsule was filled 50 years ago, or who’ve heard stories from the moment.

If you’ve got anything for them, you can contact them through

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and