Ray Holley
In response to challenging times, local businesspeople are
getting creative in their marketing and community outreach. This
month, Healdsburg acupuncturist Marlene Klein hosts a “happy hour”
on Thursdays at her Grove Street office, from 3 to 6 p.m. For $20
you can stop by and get a short session designed to lower your
stress and allow Marlene to “give back” to the community she loves.
More details at www.marleneklein.blogspot.com.
Marlene and her husband Ken once owned Healdsburg’s first and
only bagel shop. A converted home on Center Street that was once
Rose Pavoni’s Touch of Rose dress shop became the Blue Rose Café,
then the Healdsburg Bagel Shop, then Acre Café, and now the
Ravenous. Ken is now content in the building materials business,
but I miss his warm bagels and warmer demeanor.
We can’t mention Rose Pavoni without recalling her friend, Bev
Midson, who owned a clothing store across Center Street, in what
locals call The Mitchell Center. Bev’s place was about where The
Cheese Shop is now, along with a paint store (now Flying Goat
Roastery), JC Penney (now Raven Film Center), Bell’s Liquors (now
Healdsburg Liquors), General Pharmacy (now a Sears outlet), and
Shaw’s ice cream parlor (now Taco Grande).
That shopping center also had a video store, Well Fargo Bank,
Coast to Coast Hardware and Molsberry’s Market. The only business
that’s unchanged in all these years is the venerable Flakey Cream
Do-Nuts, a Healdsburg institution.
A related historical link stretches over to Plaza Street. As
recently as the mid-1980s, the aforementioned General Pharmacy was
in a large, graceful space that was subsequently occupied by a
furniture store and then an import crafts place. It’s now a retail
store called La Farmacista, run by Stefano Giovannoni, grandson of
Gene and Juanita Giovannoni, who built a successful real estate
empire in Healdsburg.
Another acupuncturist and healer is marketing her work in
innovative ways. Main Street’s buddy, Shiroko Sokitch, who writes a
column for this paper, is producing a television show,
“Perspectives on Healing” with a friend in Novato. The show airs on
public access TV in Novato, but you can stream it from Shiroko’s
website, www.hthmc.com.
Do you immediately hit the “delete” key when you get offered an
Internet survey? You might want to make an exception to this one.
The Healdsburg Farmers’ Market is part of a “Love your Farmers’
Market” contest held by Local Harvest, an organization that
promotes local food. Visit www.care2.com/farmersmarket
to vote for your local market, and visit www.localharvest.org to learn
more about online resources for information about local food.
The community support for Honza Ripa, who broke his neck in the
Russian River on June 13, shows no sign of slowing down. Honza was
at the river with friends when he apparently hit his head under
water. He faces a long recuperation and his family’s medical bills
are going to be enormous.
Honza was initially said to be completely paralyzed from the
neck down, but his family reports that he’s regaining some feeling
in his upper body. Friends of the family are passing the hat at
community events, “Yoga for Honza” flyers are popping up and locals
are writing checks to his medical fund at Exchange Bank.
Ken Munson, a family friend and local architect, has offered to
donate 25 percent of his architectural fees for any new commission
that comes in through the end of the year. Call 433-6911 to talk to
Ken about details.
Honza, his brother Votja, and their mother Katerina are popular
folks in Healdsburg, immigrants from the Czech Republic. I looked
in my files and found a photo of them taken in 1999, when they
hadn’t been here long. The newspaper and the Chamber of Commerce
used to sponsor a Community Caroling Night in the Downtown Plaza.
Katka and her boys took the microphone that night and sang us a
sweet Czech carol.
If you want to know more about how to help Honza and his family,
visit www.honzaripa.org or
or keep watching the Trib.
I met Robert Young about 10 years ago when I wrote a piece about
him for the Tribune. Robert was a genuine community builder and had
a lasting influence on Alexander Valley, Healdsburg and the wine
industry. When I interviewed him, he spoke slowly and with some
difficulty. It seemed cruel that such an outgoing, charismatic man
should struggle with the aftermath of a stroke, but Robert didn’t
let it slow him down.
We had a great talk that day and I learned a lot about Alexander
Valley history. I wasn’t sure about shaking hands, not knowing
enough about how the stroke had affected him, but his grip was firm
and determined. He had the knack of making you feel special while
he talked to you, and it was always a little thrill to run into him
in town and feel that steely handshake. He’ll be missed.
Ray Holley wishes the old timers would live longer. He can be
reached at [email protected].

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