April 19-25, 2006

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By Patricia Lynn Henley

Bridging the Gap

Caltrans is making good on its promise to rebuild the Highway 128 bridge linking the two sides of the town of Geyserville along the Russian River. Damaged in the New Year's flooding, the span has been closed all of 2006, splitting the town in half and causing unexpected expenses for the local fire and school districts. The old span wasn't worth renovating, so Caltrans pledged to build a new one as quickly as possible.

C.C. Meyers Inc. of Rancho Cordova won two contracts: $10 million to build a temporary construction trestle and demolish the old bridge, and another $11.8 million to build the new structure, which will have two lanes with shoulders plus a separate pedestrian path. Demolition is underway, construction will start in June, the bridge should be open to traffic by fall and the project will be finished by the end of the year, says Caltrans spokeswoman Michelle Squyer. "They're working diligently to get this completed. They understand how necessary this is to the economy and to public safety."

Charity of Sisters

There was a preponderance of pink and purple, with an emphasis on glittering rhinestones, as the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence celebrated their fifth anniversary by giving more than $15,000 to 19 local charities. Approximately 150 people jammed into Wild Jane's restaurant in Guerneville for the special ceremony April 14. "We had this amazing cross-section of little old ladies, firefighters and young gay people. It was a wonderful cultural explosion," says spokesnun Sister Sparkle Plenty. An offshoot of a group founded in San Francisco in 1979, the Russian River Sisters ( is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization of GLBT and straight men and women supporting their local community. The $15,000 was gathered through garage sales, bake sales, donations and monthly bingo games.

Grave Homecoming

Three wandering wooden grave markers will be returned to the city of Calistoga on Thursday, April 20. The weathered redwood headboards for Heinrich Munk (1831-1885), Maria Munk (1839-1887) and Paul Munk (1867-1891) have been missing from the Calistoga Pioneer Cemetery for many years. They're being restored to their proper places by the Sonoma County Historical Society's newly formed Tombstone Amnesty of Sonoma County (TASC), which accepts lost or stolen Northern California tombstones no questions asked and returns them to their rightful cemetery. "There are people in this world who think that cemeteries belong to no one, that dead people don't count, that a tombstone would make a great addition to their patio and it's not wrong if you don't get caught," says group founder Jeremy Nichols. "TASC has to change these attitudes."

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