It’s been a while since a Miss Sonoma County drew as much attention as Athena Brattin-Cain, who’s just set aside her tiara and sash to commence training as a Marine.

After appearing in the PD, Athena was featured on nearly all the San Francisco TV and radio news programs, then on “CBS This Morning.” When USA Today called for an interview, the 17-year-old, 5-foot-3 Elsie Allen High grad had already left for boot camp in South Carolina.

Athena’s burst of fame has some old-timers remembering the ascension of the Miss Sonoma County of 50 years ago.

Karen Valentine grew up in Sebastopol and was crowned an Apple Blossom Princess before she won the title of Miss Sonoma County of 1965. Four years later, she was co-starring as teacher Alice Johnson on ABC’s “Room 222,” a role that brought her an Emmy.

Valentine did Sonoma proud. It’ll be something to watch now to see what Athena becomes.


NO MOSS ON PETE: It’s a lucky day when Piner High alum Pete Stringfellow, the actor-songwriter-singer who created the “Santa Rosa” song, slows down enough to catch up.

He’s jazzed about his first leading-role movie, “My Brother’s Shoes.” Pete will be there when the independent film, a comedy about two brothers who swap their very different lives, premieres Saturday night at the New Rheem Theatre in Moraga.

Pete has also produced a new country song, “Baby I’ve Got the Drive,” and he’s preparing to do something different: feature the song in a video.

“I don’t do music videos,” he said. “I think they’re silly.”

He’s breaking his own rule because this video will be filmed on a lakeside road at the Dutton Ranch near Graton, and it will be shot in just one take as Pete walks the road and encounters a kitchen, dancers, a couch for jumping on, and who knows what else.

Twenty-five years after he graduated from Piner, Pete also encourages kids to embrace learning, he coaches youth football, and he aspires.

“I’m literally living the dream,” he said, then added, “I have a long ways to go.”

“I want to get to the next level.”


A CERTAIN VW from Sonoma County has people from far and wide crossing their fingers.

It’s the sweet, cream-colored 1967 Karmann Ghia that a local woman donated to the Sonoma Humane Society. She inherited it from her dad, who bought it new, and after babying it for decades she decided to give it away for the benefit of animals.

The Humane Society is selling raffle tickets for $100 each and will draw the winning ticket at Friday evening’s “Wags, Whiskers and Wine” benefit gala at Trentadue Winery. So far, about a third of the tickets have gone to coveters of the car in Texas, Wisconsin, New York, all across the land.

Admits the Humane Society’s Melissa Dobar, “I hope someone local wins it so it’ll be rolling around town.”

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and On Twitter @CJSPD.