Chris Smith: Painful and far from over journey for fire survivors who fled Journey’s End mobile home park

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Good things have happened since the historic wildfires nearly a year ago. There are elderly evacuees of Journey’s End mobile home park who wish some would happen to them.

“We can’t start over at our age,” Dorothy Hughes, 82, said Monday. Having fled a mobile home that wasn’t burned but that she can’t live in, Dorothy said little good has occurred and the bad keeps coming.

Only days ago, she said, “My favorite plants in front of the house were stolen.” She said a larger, potted plant apparently was too heavy to take so the thieves left it, but dumped dozens of cigarette butts onto it.

“They’re heartless,” said Dorothy, who earlier had her shed burglarized.

Happy for the fire survivors who are moving forward, she hopes to hold it together and live long enough to join them.

“We’re not getting any answers at all at Journey’s End,” she said.


DRIVE-BY PAELLA: Everyone at Windsor’s Cali Calmécac bilingual school hopes we’ll cruise in Wednesday afternoon to pick up supper-on-the-go and help out a family praying for a happy end to a nightmare.

A drive-through dinner will benefit the parents and siblings of Cali 5th grader Brian Miguel Lopez, now hooked to a heart-lung machine at University of California San Francisco hospital.

Born with a serious heart condition, Brian underwent his latest surgery on Aug. 8. He didn’t come out of it as hoped, and today everybody close to him holds his or her breath.

Brian’s dad, Rene, works at a winery and his mother, Lucia, cleans houses.

With their son fighting for his life, both have had to step back from their jobs.

In addition to the paella fundraiser, there’s a crowdfunding page at

Organizers of the drive-through dinner, which starts at 5 p.m. and ends when the food runs out, ask for a donation of at least $10 per serving.

The chef Wednesday will be Robert Montes of SoCo Paella.

What’s paella? Cooked over flame in a shallow pan, it’s a dish of rice and saffron and you-name-it. And it’s so good.


HELEN RUDEE STOOD in a holiday shopping line that grew angrier by the minute.

It was at Macy’s, shortly before Christmas, a few years back. Somewhere behind Rudee, the first woman elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, was Marcia Rose.

Rose, who’d worked with Rudee on a review panel at the former Sutter Hospital on Chanate Road, listened as every shopper ahead of the retired supervisor ranted at the overwhelmed sales clerk.

When Rudee, who died last week at 100, reached the head of the line she told the cashier, “Now, dear, I’m not in a hurry, so just take your time.”

That’s the Helen Rudee that Rose remembers.

Rose said the late supervisor’s calm voice comes to her “every time I have stood in line and have been tempted to get impatient.”


THE FRONT LAWN at Santa Rosa High School, normally off-limits to cars, will be covered with beauties on Sunday.

From noon to 3 p.m., the school’s foundation will host the 2nd annual Alumni Show & Shine car show and barbecue.

If you attended Santa Rosa High and would like to show your car, call the Pandy Line, 571-7747, for a registration form.

Everyone’s welcome to go check out the cars and buy lunch off the grill.

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