SMITH: Kids' museum rises next to Sparky's

Look at that. Practical science already is happening at the future home of the Children's Museum of Sonoma County.

Great, diesel-powered earthmoving machines have cut and paved a new entrance and driveway on the property next door to late "Peanuts" creator Sparky Schulz's

museum on Santa Rosa's West Steele Lane.

Founder Collette Michaud and a growing cast of supporters have raised about $2.3 million of the $3.6 million they figure it will take to create an indoor/outdoor place of hands-on exploration inspired by Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum.

"It just feels so right; it is meant to be," said Michaud, who someday may be able to speak about the emerging museum of wonder without crying.

She, her staff and board intend to hold a groundbreaking in six months and swing open the doors in 12.

AND THE CAR GOES TO . . . We wrote a bit ago about Sebastopol auto-shop owner Kate Jonasse's desire to find just the right person to give a 1994 Honda Civic sedan that's been reconditioned and that Jonasse will service for free for a year.

She put out a call for the names and stories of folks who'd use the car to advance their lives and serve others. Jonasse and her K-Tech Automotive shop received more than 100 nominations.

As word of the giveaway spread, others in the car trade offered to further spruce up the Honda. It now boasts a new fender from Eco Automotive, a windshield from Reliable Auto Glass, a number of replacement parts from Smothers auto parts and exterior trim and seatbelts from Manly Honda.

Jonasse and her crew have picked three finalists: A writer who offers free writing-skills workshops to students and workers, a cancer survivor who

assists others fighting the disease and a generous caregiver/peacekeeper.

One will be handed the keys at a celebration at the shop on Oct. 21.

REMEMBERING GEORGIA:Maybe millions of drivers accelerated onto 101 at the south end of Petaluma without noticing the steel sculpture off to their right. If they did see it they probably didn't know why it was there.

The piece marked the place where the body of Santa Rosa 12-year-old Georgia Lee Moses was found in August of 1997. Georgia, whose difficult life had deprived her of a true childhood, was last seen outside a southwest Santa Rosa fast-food place nine days earlier.

Two firefighters created the memorial sculpture. In March of 2000 it was dedicated by about 100 people who gathered at the spot alongside the Petaluma Boulevard South highway entrance where Georgia had been left.

In 2006, memories of Georgia

permeated the opening in Santa Rosa of The Children's Village, a home for youngsters who've been neglected, abused and passed around. Georgia's death had spurred founder Lia Rowley.

Early this year, somebody with Caltrans left a note on Georgia's sculpture. Because of scheduled roadwork, it would have to be moved.

Petaluma's Kit Lofroos and several other women who'd maintained the area around the memorial asked Petaluma officials for help to relocate it. A community effort uprooted the piece a short while ago and set it on the grounds of Petaluma City Hall.

A re-dedication ceremony on Nov. 3 will no doubt include calls for us to heed the needs of our children.

WATCHING SAL: Somebody just gave Sal Rosano a gold-ish watch, though the former Santa Rosa police chief clearly isn't the retiring kind.

Sal, who succeeded Melvin "Dutch" Flohr as the city's top cop in 1974 and served until 1996, accepted the watch the other day at an international chiefs of police confab in San Diego.

It recognized his 50 years of active membership in the California Peace

Officers Association. Sal, who'll turn 74 on Oct. 19, joined as a young officer with the South San Francisco PD.

And he's working still, as law enforcement liaison to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Who knows," he says, "I may qualify for a real gold watch eventually."

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