Chris Smith: Beer drinkers and cyclists pony up $400,000 for new homes for fire survivors

Journey’s End was not, in fact, the end.

The Tubbs fire’s ravaging of the landmark Santa Rosa mobile home park certainly was not the end of the road for the burned-out residents who soon will move into brand new homes - thanks to the caring of bicyclists and beer drinkers.

The regional Council on Aging will purchase five manufactured homes with the $400,000 gift it received from the Russian River Brewing Co. and the King Ridge Foundation, founded by former competitive cyclist Levi Leipheimer.

The Council on Aging will place the new homes in a Santa Rosa-area mobile home park and make them available to low-income seniors, most or all of them survivors of the firestorm that consumed nearly all of Journey’s End.

Marrianne McBride, the council’s chief, said she’s hoping the new residents won’t be out more than about $100 a month.

The $400,000 donation was part of about $1.1 million the Russian River Brewing Co. and the King Ridge Foundation raised through their Sonoma Pride fire relief campaign.

The initiative, praised by Russian River co-owner Natalie Cilurzo as “truly the most rewarding fundraising effort” of her life, also provided post-fire assistance to more than 700 families and delighted 300 kids with new bikes.


SEE, BE UNSHACKLED: If you’ve never experienced Jacqueline Lawrence’s onstage portrayal of an American slave, you can do yourself and the cause of racial healing a great favor Saturday.

Jacqueline explodes boundaries when she becomes Miss Lucretia Borgia Ma’am, or as Miss Mammy. The characters implore white people and ?African-Americans and everybody else to break from their comfort zones and get real about race.

On Saturday, Jacqueline and Legacy Showcases, her black history production company, will treat guests of Santa Rosa’s Juneteenth celebration to “Unshackled,” a three-part, interactive performance and community dialogue experiment.

It starts at 10 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Hendley Street, near the county fairgrounds. First up is a stage play that begins with word of emancipation reaching slaves on a plantation.

Then, the children present will take part in songs and activities led by Miss Lucretia while the adults break into discussion groups and draft resolutions on racial reconciliation.Finally, the youngsters will march in a Freedom Parade and the grown-ups will present their resolutions.

“We’ll see what the end will be,” Jacqueline said. “No one knows what the end will be.”


BEFORE THEY FLY OFF to performances and adventures in Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest, 70 young musicians in the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra will play Saturday in a “Bon Voyage” concert at the Green Music Center.

The 3 p.m. concert will preview the orchestra’s ambitious tour repertoire. And look who’ll make a guest appearance: The wailin’ Dirty Cello blues and bluegrass band, which will join the kids for part of their international tour.

Also on Saturday’s program is the world premiere of a piece, “Stardust and Dark Matter,” composed by Gloria Coates, deemed by the Los Angeles Times to be “mesmerizing ... our last maverick.”

You can reach Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 and

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