November 1-7, 2006

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News Briefs

By Patricia Lynn Henley

Phil Lesh ill

Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, 66, is scheduled for prostate cancer surgery in early December. "Since we've caught it very early, and it's small and slow-growing, I fully expect to have a rapid and complete recovery," Lesh says in an Oct. 26 announcement on his website ( A longtime Marin County resident, Lesh underwent a liver transplant in 1998. Routine tests revealed the cancer. "I urge everyone to become an organ donor to help save lives," Lesh says. "Now I am also urging all men: speak to your doctor about having periodic regular PSA screening for early detection of prostate cancer--you may save your own life."

$7,500 letter to editor

In June, Napa resident and constant city council critic Jarvis Peay gave the city a doctor's letter outlining the particulars of his disability in order to receive special accommodation at meetings. Copies were apparently given to city council members, including Napa Sentinel publisher Harry Martin, who is running for his fourth term on the council. Among his activities, Peay is a constant letter writer to the Sentinel, and in a recent one he accused Martin of racism. Martin's wife responded with her own letter to the editor, concluding that Peay couldn't help himself due to his specific disabilities. Peay filed a claim against the city for revealing his confidential diagnosis, settling for $7,500 and an apology. "It was one of those situations where we felt we needed to move as quickly as possible in order to limit the city's liability," says mayor Jill Techel. Martin, who lost last year's mayor's race to Techel, claims he got a copy of the letter but never showed it to his wife, who says she learned of Peay's problems from other people. Martin alleges Techel authorized distribution of the doctor's letter, which Techel denies.

Cracking down in S.R.

Santa Rosa police officers begin watching this week for dangerous drivers on Stony Point Road between Sebastopol to Occidental roads, the site of at least 25 collisions from January 2004 to December 2005. This is the first safety crack-down funded by $347,000 in state and federal grants, says Sgt. Don Hasemeyer of Santa Rosa's traffic bureau. The two-year grant will pay for salaries and equipment to increase enforcement, including eight DUI checkpoints and 12 DUI saturation patrols. Among other items, a new "Hot Sheet" program will help identify chronic DUI offenders. "Anything that we as a department can do to try to reduce traffic violations, accidents and DUI offenders is a benefit to the community," says Hasemeyer. "That's our ultimate goal."

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