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Read all of the PD's fire coverage here

The contest on country music station Froggy 92.9FM was a tough one.

A sentence was uttered with 10 different voices each saying a word or just a syllable. Contestants had to identify the 10 speakers, all singers who will appear at this year’s Country Summer music festival or have performed there in the past.

Sebastopol native Eric Andersen (Analy High Class of 2014) and his girlfriend Valerie Baker (Rancho Cotate Class of 2014) listened hard, applied their vast knowledge of country music — and won.

Their prize: Two special passes to the three-day Country Summer at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and $1,000 cash.

In a blink, Eric and Valerie declared that they’d already bought tickets, so they’ll give the ones they won to a couple who lost their home to the October fires — and they’ll give that couple half of the $1,000.

Eric, who delivers hay for The Feed Store, says he tried to be helpful during the fires but “there wasn’t that much that I could do.”

HARDLY MOOT: Two Empire Law School students, Michelle Novi and Stephanie Ranson, flew to L.A. for a prestigious moot-court competition.

Michelle, who grew up in Sonoma Valley, and Stephanie, a former Petaluma kid, submitted their prepared briefs and poured heart and soul into oral arguments they made in front of state appellate judges. Competing with them were students from some of the state’s largest and most esteemed law schools.

You’ve surely guessed that Stephanie and Michelle did well. In fact, they triumphed

The pair took 1st place in the oral-argument portion of the competition. And, overall, they finished second, behind Loyola.

But wait, there’s more. The competition awards honors for the top oral arguments. Michelle was named the No. 1 oralist and Stephanie finished in the top eight.

How good it will be to see them in court.

THEN THERE’S ANWEN: A junior at Santa Rosa High, Anwen Lin was pretty sure she could produce a worthy science-fair project.

But Sonoma County no longer has a science fair that qualifies winners to go on to larger competitions. So, with a hand from Lori Simerly, her advanced-placement biology teacher, Anwen entered the regional Golden Gate STEM Fair, formerly the SF Bay Area Science Fair.

And she won the Grand Prize in the life sciences division.

Anwen’s entry grew from a project she undertook during a student internship at Marin’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging. She titled her STEM Fair entry “The effects of ß-hydroxybutyrate on the effects of the ß-amyloid protein in Caenorhabditis elegans.”

I know! My best science project was an oil derrick made of popsicle sticks.

Anwen, who’s 16, patiently explained to me that the research she conducted at the Buck Institute with her mentor, Dr. Dipa Bhaumik, used nematodes for a lab experiment that could help to determine if advancements against Alzheimer’s disease might come from countering a build-up of proteins in the brain with a compound created in the liver.

Anwen’s victory at the Bay Area fair won her an expenses-paid trip to Pittsburgh and the world’s largest high-school science competition.

She leaves in three weeks. You go, Anwen.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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