Two Lives in a Small Town

The following, in Shonnie Brown’s “Neighbors” column, appeared in The Healdsburg Tribune, our local weekly, on February 9, 2012. [Most of the images were not in the original.]

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Ann, born and raised in Casper, Wyoming, has the dubious distinction of attending high school with both Dick and Lynne Cheney and participating in student government with Dick. Dick, who Ann recalls as being “good looking” back then, wrote “I’ll be your friend forever” in Ann’s yearbook.

Ann attended a Catholic college in Denver and then got married — resulting in a breakup and three kids. She returned to college, putting herself through law school, and then became a New Jersey prosecutor. She moved to the Bay Area in 1984 and Continue reading “Two Lives in a Small Town”

Profile: Bert James, Mountain of a Man

Albert's Place dressed up for the moviesBert James is a huge, bearded man who can build, drive, or fix anything. When I arrived at his place five miles north of I-90 near Kingston, Idaho, I expected to and did see him astride one of him many machines. We first met when he approached me in 1994 during the filming of Heartwood and offered to help.

“What can you do?” I asked him.

“Anything,” he responded…and I discovered it was no lie. Continue reading “Profile: Bert James, Mountain of a Man”

Blue Highway Travelogue–Mt. Lassen

Mt._Lassen“If you want to hike to the peak, you’d best do that this morning,” Ranger Ilene cautioned at the entrance gate. Dry lightning had recently set fires across four counties, and we could see two plumes graying the horizon of blue sky to the west. Her electro-shock warning encouraged us to choose Lassen National Park‘s pamphlet-assisted Bumpass Hell Trail to a 100-meter bowl of bubbling fumaroles—gray clay molten plopping sulfur steam—and circular ponds of green-gray water, bubblescum-coated and Venusian under the low cloud cover. Continue reading “Blue Highway Travelogue–Mt. Lassen”