Chris Smith: Sonoma County comes together in a big way to build a tiny house

A community pitches in to construct the micro-home to be raffled by the Council on Aging.|

A Kleenex might be handy if you ask Alyssa Kutzer about the itty-bitty house that angels in toolbelts are building at SRJC’s Shone Farm and that will go in June to the holder of a winning ticket.

Kutzer’s job with the Council on Aging includes making sure there’s sufficient money to keep Meals on Wheels coming to the local seniors who rely on the nutrition and human contact. She gets teary over all the people and firms helping the agency to raise dollars by constructing and raffling a Tumblewood Tiny House.

Employees of J Lerdahl Construction are erecting the adorable, 171-square-foot habitation using materials donated or sold at deep discount by Healdsburg Lumber, ABC Supply, Wright Bros Supply, Bob Haven of Window Haven, Spyrka Electric, Mick’s Door Shop and Reliable Hardware and Steel.

When the house on a trailer is finished, it will be worth more than $60,000. The Council on Aging hopes to raise some serious money for Meals on Wheels by selling up to 1,500 raffle tickets for $200 each.

To buy a ticket, follow the instructions at or give Kutzer a call at 525-0143, ext. 146.

It’s not just the caring of the construction project’s helpers - among them Swan Plumbing, Leonard Diggs of Shone Farm, Reed’s Trailer Sales, Jim Stuart Mobile Welding and Easy Breezy Car Wash - that brings tears to Kutzer’s eyes.

She’s already imagining how it will feel to watch the finished home get hooked up and towed off to its new owners.

Kutzer admits, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to let go of it.”


BACK IN COURT: Maybe it’s not the biggest shocker ever to see briefly retired super-lawyer Steve Turer back in a suit and tie and vigorously cross-examining experts in front of a Sonoma County judge and jury.

But in a civil lawsuit?

For four decades, until a spell of poor health caused him to close his practice last year, Turer, 71, was one of the county’s most dogged and successful criminal-defense attorneys.

And yet there he was, acting as a consultant and assistant to lead attorney Phil Kelly, who represented a landlord in a dispute with a tenant over who was responsible for a fire that destroyed a rental house.

Kelly, Turer and the landlord emerged from the six-week civil trial victorious.

Feeling far better than when he shut down the Law Offices of L. Stephen Turer, the un-retired lawyer found it liberating to focus entirely on the case and to no longer be responsible for running a practice.

“It left just the fun part,” he said.

Turer’s grateful to Kelly, who’s happy to be able to return a favor. When Kelly graduated from law school at USF in 1975, Turer and his partner at the time, the late Robert Y. Bell, gave the kid his start.


OUR ST. LOUIS: Amid the funeral Mass for Lou Bertolini, pastor Denis O’Sullivan of St. Rose Church invited admirers of the Santa Rosa native, Western Farm Center owner and behind-the-scenes civic benefactor to call out a word or two that described him.

“Generous.” “Loyal.” “Good dancer.” “Mentor.” “Kind-hearted.”

An appreciative laugh followed when someone called out, “A saint.”

Vowed O’Sullivan, “I’ll pass that on to the pope.”

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and

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