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If you treat yourself to walks through the wooded hillside that is Santa Rosa’s pioneer graveyard, and I hope you do, watch for something new.

It’s a handsome headstone marking the resting place of Santa Rosa co-founder Berthold “Barney” Hoen and his wife Ane Marie, or Mary.

The stone’s just been placed by the valiant and vigorous volunteers who keep up the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, located where McDonald Avenue becomes Franklin Avenue.

The crew isn’t certain why there was no marker on the Hoens’ grave, but they were resolute that as Santa Rosa turns 150 years old it is time to remedy that deficiency. They raised $4,000 for the appropriately sized and dignified headstone.

We’re all invited to a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. on July 7. Go to either gate and you’ll be met and escorted to the spot by members of the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery Preservation Committee.

That Barney Hoen, an immigrant from Germany, was quite a guy, and Santa Rosa and Sonoma County are deeply beholden to him.

Arriving in this area during the Gold Rush, he operated a general store and post office in the Carrillo adobe. He and Julio Carrillo donated land for the town plaza that we call Old Courthouse Square and in his free time Hoen built the county’s first winery, in Windsor.

A SENSE OF AFRICA looks to visit central Santa Rosa on Friday.

At the Arlene Francis Center in Railroad Square/East End, Bruce Rhodes and his Drums for Solar project will host an evening of African food and music, international service and recognition of community elders.

It all starts at 5 p.m.

Rhodes invites help to fill a shipping container with solar panels, computers and classroom supplies. He prepares to ship them in July to a village school in Mali, West Africa.

More details are available by emailing Rhodes at drums4solar@gmail.com.

Friday’s benefit also will honor several senior activists and community leaders. Among them: Ann Gray Bird, Elbert “Big Man” Howard, Vivian Coffee, Carole Ellis, Gloria Robinson and Honor Jackson.

HE’S A MORMON and he’s gay and he’s still marveling that he was invited onto stage to sing in a rehearsal for last week’s grand performance at the Green Music Center by 300 singers and 65 musicians of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“It was like I was up there with a bunch of rock stars,” said Sebastopol’s Jake Hanson, an actor and former ballet dancer. “It was like me jamming with the Rolling Stones.”

Hanson, who’s 36, has had issues with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ positions and practices regarding homosexuality. But he’s over the moon to have been selected as one of five who auditioned to rehearse with the famed choir in Sonoma County.

He likes, too, that during its performance in Mountain View, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir made a guest conductor of Tim Seelig, conductor of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

A GUEST CONDUCTOR was picked, too, to take the baton for the final selection of the concert at the Green Center.

The honor went to my boss, Steve Falk, CEO of Sonoma Media Investments.

It was, what’s the right word? Memorable.

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

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