I had to get in touch with Eric Koenigshofer, who was pronounced KOHN-ig-SHOW-fur here via AIR-ick.
Days ago, contacting the personable West Sonoma County attorney, politician, and ex-county supervisor was high on my to-do list because his friend and longtime supervisor Brian Kahn had died in Montana.
I called Eric and we talked about the amazingly smart, productive, and dedicated Brian Kahn for the obituary I was supposed to write. A day or two later, I realized that I had missed a call back from Eric and had a voicemail from him.
Our voicemail system here at PD derives spoken phone messages through speech recognition software that creates a text version of the message. I started reading Eric’s message and enjoyed a damn little laugh.
The voice-to-print news program had him identified as “Eric chronic chauffeur”.
Not long later, Eric and I reconnected by phone and told him how our readable email system had interpreted his name. He laughed and said dig this.
He said that many years ago he and a Sacramento attorney were working on an amiable conclusion to a lawsuit involving their respective clients. The two counselors would have to make one last call, so the Sacramento attorney asked Eric to call her and, if she was in a meeting, let her assistant know that she would take his call.
When the time came for them to speak, Eric did just that. The opposing attorney’s assistant actually informed him that their boss was busy, and Eric replied that the attorney wanted to be cut off for the call.
Very good, said the assistant. “May I find out your name?” Eric gave her his name and he was a bit surprised when she gave a happy and enthusiastic “Oh!”
Moments later, the Sacramento attorney stepped on the line. “Who is this?” she demanded.
Eric repeated his name.
A great laugh broke out on the other end of the line. The Sacramento attorney said she was in a meeting when her assistant stormed through the door and announced, “You have a call from Harry Connick’s chauffeur!”
TABLE IN PARADISE: A big, surprising thank you went to the Byck family for bringing the Paradise Ridge Winery back from the ashes and for helping so many local artists and charities.
Dennis Darrow, a retired hardware man from Santa Rosa who loves working with wood, presented the Bycks with a magnificent and beautiful table he had made from a salvaged redwood slab. He carefully put in grapevine artwork and copper renderings of the winery’s circular, brand-like “PR” logo.
The 9-foot table that Darrow and wife Rhonda gave Walter Byck and children Rene Byck and Sonia Byck-Barwick becomes the newest piece of art for the reconstructed winery, gallery and hangout at Fountaingrove.
The humble woodworker said to the clearly affected Bycks: “It’s just an appreciation for your family from us and this community.”
It’s no news that Sonoma County is home to some of the best teachers out there.
But in a similar evolution, Santa Rosa teacher Ross home (my voicemail system would recognize him as Ross Hoss) completed the list of the state’s most extraordinary teachers, Tony Thurmond, as superintendent of public education.
Home, who has taught at Luther Burbank Elementary in Santa Rosa for 22 years, landed on a short list of runners-up of the five teachers Thurmond selected as California Teacher of the Year 2021.
Home is a lively, restlessly innovative educator who coaches his fifth and sixth graders to success in a variety of ways. To honor others, his students quietly clap for every adult who walks into Burbank’s classroom 20, which is where Team 20 is located.
Just last August, Home was hailed as the Sonoma County Office of Education’s 2020-21 Sonoma County Teacher of the Year.
We spoke on Saturday and he said that he and the Luther Burbank colleagues he appreciates are being challenged by distance learning in the pandemic: “We’re trying to make it as normal as possible.”
“The students miss the right school,” said Home. “The teachers miss the right school. No doubt the parents miss the right school. “
As difficult as it may be to have the students not in the classroom but at home in front of computer monitors, Home said that bright spots still glow every day. For example: “There are a lot of children who sign up and don’t want to sign out because they love school.”
Congratulations and thanks also to Nora Wynne, a Spanish teacher at McKinleyville Middle School in Humboldt County who is among the five educators to be our newest California teacher of the year.
HIGHER BRANCH: Among the many visitors to Howarth Park in Santa Rosa on Saturday there were certainly some who took the relief of announcing a winner in the soul-rattling presidential election as they wondered at the top of a tall pine tree nearby of Lake Ralphine. an American bald eagle.
You can contact Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 and [email protected]