Smith: Santa Rosa neighborhood’s noble lawn signs

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SEVERAL RESIDENTS of Santa Rosa’s JC neighborhood are adorning their lawns with famous quotations urging greater tolerance, inclusivity and humanity, and are hoping the signs will proliferate.

The handsome signs carry appeals and declarations from figures such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals”), Cesar Chavez (“Preservation of one’s culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures”) and the Dalai Lama (“My religion is simple. My religion is kindness”).

“You should see how people smile” at the sight of them, says Laura Doty. a co-creator of the new Benton Street Improvement Association and its signs-to-inspire project.

Doty was in Washington, D.C. for a climate change march earlier this year and admired the signs she saw posted there.

She and neighbors Melanie Jones-Carter, Kristen Throop and Valerie Waidler divvied tasks to design and print the signs. They’re offering them for sale for 10 bucks to others who’d like to make a statement in their yards.

They’ve got a Benton Street Improvement Association Facebook page and an email address,

The signs cost less than $10 to make, so Doty et al will donate any surplus to a nonprofit that’s making a difference.


3-DIGIT BIRTHDAYS will bring cake to this week’s Hot Dog Thursday open house at the Pacific Coast Air Museum.

PCAM, located off North Laughlin Road at the Sonoma County Airport, will hail 102-year-old Al Maggini, the shockingly youthful World War II B-17 navigator; almost 101-year-old Fred Bollinger, who served as a radio operator at Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge, and Mary “Peg” Haapa, who was born in June of 1917 and while directing a Red Cross club in England entertained the king and queen.

The special Hot Dog Thursday is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Five bucks buys lunch. Save room for cake.


MORE THAN 100 PAIRS of eclipse glasses have been dropped off so far at Bernie Schwartz’s California Luggage shop in downtown Santa Rosa.

The collection drive that Bernie’s mounting with Marty Dekay-Bemis looks to continue for another couple of weeks.

Then the glasses, which served little purpose on the August day that a marine layer blocked the great solar eclipse in much of the North Bay, will be donated to Astronomers Without Borders for distribution to school kids in Africa and Asia. They’ll come in handy for the safe viewing of eclipses in 2019.

STUDENTS OF DANCE might want to know that former Sonoma Valley resident Erin O’Reilly is coming from Europe for a visit and will conduct a contemporary-dance workshop Saturday at her mother’s Sonoma Conservatory of Dance.

Erin danced for two years with Ballet Junior de Genève and has traveled recently to South Korea, Scotland, France, England and Germany as a freelance dancer and choreographer.

She said in an email she’s looking forward to being back in Sonoma and sharing with local students “the knowledge and experience I have gained working and learning from other artists around the world.”


A 3-WHEELED BIKE meant independence to 46-year-old Jennifer Magee of Santa Rosa, until it was stolen.

Jennifer’s mother, Judy Kopf, says she can’t afford to buy another adult tricycle right now.

“I’m thinking there has to be one sitting in somebody’s garage,” Judy said.

If you have a light-weight three-wheeler and might like to donate it to a woman with disabilities who’s stuck at home right now, you can call 707-495-0425.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story misspelled Valerie Waidler's name and listed an incorrect email address for the Benton Street Improvement Association.

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