On the Big Island of Hawaii last October, Corey Hale cried while following, on the news and social media, the terrible toll of the North Bay fires.
“It was unbelievable ... gut-wrenching,” the former Petaluman said when I phoned her Monday. “I knew a lot of people. To watch one after another ...”
Eight months later, Corey, who’s 54, huddles with other evacuees in a parking lot in tiny Pahoa, on the extreme eastern side of the island of Hawaii. The ’82 graduate of Petaluma High ponders what hope there is she’ll recover her life from the lava flow that engulfed at least part of her property in Lanipuna Gardens, a jungly, remote and rustic place “that nobody knew existed until now, when it no longer exists.”
Having escaped the eruptions of the Kilauea volcano with her cat, Lily, Corey struggles to maintain her sense of humor and positivity — despite the helicopter photos that cause her to fear her entire acre of land lies now beneath a thick, hardening crust of lava many feet deep. The roads to her place are destroyed, too.
Corey said she spent her life savings on that land and couldn’t afford insurance that would cover damage from a volcanic event. She’d placed on the property a trailer she made into a gypsy caravan, a tent platform and an outdoor shower.
She worked to create an eco-tourism retreat. Now she’s unsure if she’ll be able to do anything there ever again.
Corey has opened a GoFundMe account to help her get by as she watches the natural disaster on Hawaii unfold and ponders her deeply uncertain future. The account is at gofundme.com/5ldj2c0.
“All I want is to go home,” she said, adding that if there becomes any possible way to reestablish her life on her land, “I’m ready to begin again.”
THE OMELET KING of Sonoma County is back from the Hawaii-esqe Jeju Island in South Korea, where he reigned over the grand opening of a mini spinoff of Don Taylor’s Omelette Express that won’t just fill bellies, but may changes young lives.
The brand new Don Taylor Express in Jeju City will provide paying jobs and work training to single mothers in their teens and 20s. The restaurant was created by a Korean charity that serves the mothers and their children and, for several reasons, is named for Don Taylor, the Sonoma County restaurateur, collector of classic cars and repeat candidate for Santa Rosa City Council.
Don pitched in on the project and for nearly 20 years has been a stalwart of Santa Rosa’s sister city kinship with Jeju City, many times traveling there and also welcoming to Santa Rosa the adults and kids who’ve visited from Jeju.
Don took to the grand opening celebration Julio Mayado, a cook at his restaurant in Railroad Square. Julio demonstrated to the Korean kitchen staff the finer points of American omelet-making.
To thank him, operators of the charitable restaurant named an omelet — the one with ham, onions, bell pepper and cheese — the Julio.
There’s also, of course, the Don Taylor, with bacon, spinach, herbs, mushrooms and cheese. At Don’s restaurants in Santa Rosa, that omelet is the top-selling No. 7.