Smith: Two want to adopt the late Evelyn Cheatham’s black lab; what would she do?

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Chef Evelyn Cheatham’s love of teens and young adults, especially ones tempered by hard lives and searching for their place in the world, is well known.

Cheatham, founder of the Worth Our Weight culinary apprentice program, also adored dogs. Right up to her unexpected death last week at 66, she cherished Hurston, a black lab.

Word of Cheatham’s death prompted her daughter, Erica Parker Alabi, a teacher whose home is in Nigeria, to fly at once to Sonoma County.

Alabi contacted Stephen Perry, the dog walker and boarder who’s spent a great deal of time with Hurston, to say she’d like to come get the dog.

Perry said he’s keeping Hurston. He told me he has helped to care for and has loved her all of her life.

“I think it was Chef’s intention for me to keep the dog,” Perry said.

Erica Alabi told me she considers Hurston “a piece of my mom that she really loved.” Alabi would have a friend with a large property keep the dog until she’s able to bring her to her family’s farm in Nigeria.

Who should get Hurston? If ever there were a time that Alabi and Perry would benefit from a talk with the wise and wonderful Evelyn Cheatham.


THERE’S MONEY that the perfectly named Fabulous Women of Sonoma County want to give to local nonprofits.

If you’re involved with a service group that isn’t running out of places to stack dollars, the Fabulous Women invite you to apply for a grant — but soon. The deadline for applying this year is Nov. 11.

Visit and you’ll learn, too, about one of the county’s most fabulous holiday events, the Festival of Trees Dec. 6 and 7 at the Hotel Petaluma.


THE GRANGE in Rincon Valley, now enjoying a revival after years of dormancy, is tucked away but worth finding.

The community building is on Rincon Avenue, between Calistoga Road and Baird Road.

Its volunteer crew, including leader Janis Jordan, who just won a city Merit Award for her work to revitalize the grange, will host a Holiday Artisan Craft Faire from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

If you go, see if your favorite part of the Rincon Valley Grange isn’t the linear mural of the community gathering place and its surroundings, painted by Girl Scout Corrine Fiden.


INTERNMENT CAMPS won’t ever be forgotten by some of the people who’ll gather at 11 a.m. Saturday in Sebastopol for a talk on the treatment of immigrants hosted the Japanese Americans Citizens League.

Speaking at the Enmanji Temple will be Nancy Ukai of Tsuru for Solidarity, which protests what’s happening to many asylum seekers and immigrants.

A lunch will be served. The Japanese citizens league asks that if you’d like to attend, you email


KIP MILLER is 89 and a beloved figure in Healdsburg. He’s a loyal volunteer at the Healdsburg Farmers Market, library and museum, and he emcees the small-town races at the annual Pumpkin Festival.

Kip lost his home to the Kincade fire.

So at the Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, organizers will welcome from folks registering for the morning’s contests a freewill donation to help Kip recover from the blaze.

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

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