Chris Smith: Teenage tech company founder George Hofstetter coming to SSU

George Hofstetter is something else.

At 18, he's a student at Menlo College and the founder of a tech company working to promote social justice and inspire African-American youth to become innovators.

And he's coming to Sonoma County.

On Saturday the Oakland native will appear at Sonoma State as keynote speaker of a youth summit by the Sonoma County Black Forum and SSU's Black Student Union.

The 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. summit is open to eighth through twelfth graders. A coordinator, Regina Brennan, says there will be a college and career fair and insight into coding basics, financial literary, entrepreneurship and more.

There's more information and a registration link at

Hofstetter was 16 when he created George Hofstetter Technologies Inc. He has declared, “I started this company in hopes to truly change the diversity numbers in tech companies, and elevate my community.”

Boggled by bottles

It astounds collectors of old, old glass bottles that the breakable relics lasted this long.

People like Santa Rosa's John Burton appreciate also the character and colors and imperfections of early bottles, and the stories they tell about life at the time they were blown.

“Famous men and women produced bottles for various reasons,” says Burton, who's collected bottles and taught bartending in Sonoma County for decades. “Charlatans created fantastic and enticing tales about wonderful cures that their bottles held.”

Burton and other members of the Northwestern Antique Bottle Association will share their fascination at a bottles and collectibles show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building.

Milestone moment on solemn date

September 11 is usually a tough day for Houston Evans Jr., but not this year.

Evans, you probably needn't be reminded, is one of the keepers of Angel the highway-side longhorn cow and the son of the late Valerie Evans, who died in the Tubbs fire that also destroyed the family's two homes.

On 9-11-2001, Houston Evans watched on TV as horror unfolded at New York's World Trade Center, a place he knew well and adored. He'd worked there in a maintenance job and was entirely spellbound by the twin towers.

To see them collapse, he says, “was like somebody tore a piece out of my heart.”

But this Sept. 11 was far better on his heart. On that day, a source of many months of frustration and torment evaporated with a notice from Sonoma County officials.

At last, his and his wife's and his father's plans to erect a new home were approved.

Verse to mark the rebuild

A poem came to Jim Larimore as he absorbed all that came with settling into the new home near Santa Rosa's Coffey Lane that rose from the ashes of his old one.

The retired Press Democrat editor titled the piece “Back.”

The crepe myrtle

are blooming

near what's left.

And the houses

are growing

after the fire.

Maybe soon,

maybe soon,

hum the trees.

You can contact Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and

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