Chris Smith: A young Santa Rosa gunshot victim wills himself back into the game

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How To Help

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the young Jacobs Park gunshot survivor. To donate, go to

As we anguish from the plague of mass shootings, a boy who took a stray bullet as he left soccer practice in Santa Rosa two months ago resists the fear that would have him simply hide from the world from now on.

“He’s not the same kid,” the sweet-tempered 11-year-old’s distraught mother told me. “He’s afraid something’s going to happen to him, or to us.”

I know the names of the boy and his mom but won’t mention them because they’re frightened they could be targeted by associates of the three suspected gang members arrested in connection with the June 5 shootings at Jacobs Park.

Witnesses said there was an exchange of words between a young man in an SUV on West Ninth Street and one on the fringe of the park, then a man stepped from the vehicle and sprayed bullets from a semiautomatic pistol. Slugs struck the boy who’d just finished soccer practice, the young man the gunman evidently was aiming for and two others.

The soccer player was hit in his groin. His mother said the injury grieves him and probably always will.

One bright spot is that the boy, who’ll turn 12 in September, has resumed playing soccer. But he’s a long ways from being fully back in the game.

A relative has created a GoFundMe appeal to help his parents with the medical bills and the loss of income they sustained while staying home to care for him.

THANKS TO THE KING. Coming up Aug. 23 is a chance to dine with and honor “Pasta King” Art Ibleto for the countless times he’s served up his pesto and marinara for free at public meals that raise dollars for people in crisis and all manner of worthy causes.

At an awards dinner at Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club, the regional Boy Scouts Council will name the nearly 93-year-old Sonoma County icon its 2019 Distinguished Citizen.

To order tickets or perhaps sponsor a table, go to

YOU SING? If so, listen carefully and you might hear yourself being beckoned to Occidental and to one of the most original and fun-loving choral groups on Earth.

The Occidental Community Choir, which grew from a gleeful bout of 1978 pre-Christmas caroling, has need of a new music director.

Sarah Saulsbury has stepped away to answer a call to do what she can to restore some harmony and humanity to our current political theater.

The choir Saulsbury joined at 13 and led through two stints as music director is famed for its mostly homegrown music, sense of humor and joie de vivre.

“We do some standards,” said Bob Burnett, a bass who in addition to singing serves on the OCC board. But even old favorites are treated to inventive, affectionate reinterpretation by the Occidental choir.

The basic requirements of the paid position of music director are to lead the regular and pre-performance rehearsals at the Occidental Center for the Arts, and also the spring and winter concerts and a couple of choir retreats.

Anyone who’s interested can contact Burnett at, check out and/or arrange to visit the vocalists and witness all that they bring to a song.

You can contact Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and

How To Help

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the young Jacobs Park gunshot survivor. To donate, go to

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