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Smith: ‘Us’ sure didn’t send Raina Pope screaming out of Santa Cruz

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Raina Pope spotted herself in “Us,” the monstrously popular and open-to-interpretation horror film shot in Santa Cruz by director Jordan Peele.

“My face is actually in focus,” exalts Raina, a 2013 graduate of Sebastopol’s Analy High School who lives now in Santa Cruz and serves at a sushi restaurant.

Having acted at both Analy and Santa Rosa Junior College, Raina jumped on it last year when she learned extras were needed for “Us.” She got picked.

As cameras rolled on the beach in Santa Cruz in the fall, she playfully buried a young man in the sand while, nearby, the vacationer played by female lead Lupita Nyong’o started to get the creeps.

“I watched her perform that scene over 10 times,” said Raina, who’s 24 and a granddaughter of Camp Meeker peace-justice activist Mary Moore. “It was really cool.”

Raina’s had to smile at reports that “Us,” which opened big last weekend, has some viewers saying they’re now frightened to go to Santa Cruz or its famed Boardwalk.

“No one is scared in Santa Cruz,” Raina said. “It’s just a hype everywhere else.”

She likes the film, likes “that it’s one of the first scary movies with an all-black cast.”

And, yes, she likes that she’s not just a blur in that beach scene.

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BUSTED, NORMAN. For about the past six months, a handsome vagabond known as Norman roamed through much of Sonoma Valley and into Napa.

He trolled for action, took advantage of handouts. Wily, he evaded being pinned down.

But on Wednesday, a determined posse corralled Norman outside of Sonoma. Next thing the soulful beagle knew, he was lathered up in a warm tub.

And his days on the run, over.

Shirley Zindler of the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project said Norman, by now a minor celeb hereabout, was found to wear a rabies shot tag out of Missouri.

Zindler discovered he was raised there as a hunting dog. Still unknown is who brought him to California, how he became a wanderer and whether anyone’s been looking for him.

If one day he’s put up for adoption, expect a queue.

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FOR HER BIRTHDAY, Emma Marcussen, who’s lived the ranch life in some of the prettiest parts of Sonoma, Humboldt and Marin counties, offered to help cook.

Might she whip up some Danish aebleskiver, or meatballs? No, her family told her, she’s done plenty enough.

And she’s done it for 100 years.

So Emma will chill and leave the cooking to others Saturday, when her four children and most of her 12 grandkids, 18 great-grandkids, 16 great-great-grandkids and about 100 other guests come from all over to her centennial party in Sebastopol.

Emma grew up outside of Cazadero, attended Sebastopol’s Analy High School and for a time served meals at Monte Rio’s Pink Elephant tavern.

She and her late husband, Robert Marcussen, raised sheep, grew vegetables, reared kids and savored life on the land while moving from Cazadero to Bridgeville in Humboldt County to Rancho Nicasio in Marin to near Bodega, then back to Rancho Nicasio, then back to near Bodega and finally to the countryside just southwest of Santa Rosa.

Emma still gardens a bit and she cooks for herself. But for this birthday, she’s leaving the kitchen duties to her four generations of young’uns.

You can contact Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

Editor’s note: This version of the story corrects the name of the rescue group Shirley Zindler co-founded.

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