Good deeds rewarded; financial dog paddle; and the fox’s final word

As generous as he is camera shy, Mike Thoreson dropped by the Hanna Boys Center campus Tuesday to see his donation — $70,000 for laptops, one for every student – at work. The donation came about when Bob Figone, a Hanna boardmember, happened to recently run into Thoreson, a younger man on whom Bob had been a positive influence many years earlier, in San Francisco. The two had gotten to know each other after Figone had set some limits on Thoreson’s and some other boys’ somewhat rambunctious behavior on a Marina district playground. Thoreson never forgot the kindness extended to him in the form of caring discipline. Catching up on each other’s lives, Figone proposed a tour of the Hanna campus. Thoreson, who now heads a family foundation that supports a variety of charities, spent the entire at Hanna, then asked to see the center’s official “wish list,” on which he noted with particular interest the need for computers – with a total cost of $66,000. Not long after, he handed Figone a check to cover the whole thing. It was an emotional moment. “Whenever we bring someone onsite to meet these boys and see what is going on here, it is going to affect them,” Figone said. “It makes all the difference when you see it with your own eyes.”… In a note to Figone, Thoreson wrote: “I find it very rewarding to know that just because something happened many decades ago we are both able to help a worthy cause. Thanks for accepting a hand extended and our getting to know one another.”

The city of Sonoma and the county of same have re-upped an annual contract for use of the Sonoma Veteran’s Memorial Building. The city pays $15,000 to the county (which owns the building) for 15 days of use in the fiscal year. The city traditionally awards “free days’ to non-profit, school, veterans and other local volunteer organizations, saving them a bundle for their fundraising events. Already approved: the American Legion Jack London Post #489 (Dance for the Troops, Sonoma Bar Battle); Native Sons of the Golden West (Surf & Turf Dinner); Valley of the Moon Amateur Radio Club (Hamfest); and Historic Parks Association (Volunteer Appreciation Dinner)… Is your group next? Call City Clerk Gay Johann (933.2216) to learn about applying.

The Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association (SVHRA), the nonprofit community group also known as “Splash,” wants a bit more from the city council: a forgivable loan (or flat-out grant) of $500,000, which the group says it needs to complete the $1.7 million deal to buy the Paul’s Resort property on Verano Avenue. The deadline is mid-August, and would be just the beginning of a $10-$12 million project to design and build a community swimming pool complex. The council, such as it was – Tom Rouse and Ken Brown, as SVHRA board members, recused themselves from the discussion – decided Monday it needs a few more details — like where revenue will come from. Leasing the facility to a commercial operator, such as a health club, is one model; the proposal also pegs Valley-based user/instruction groups, events and swim meets, and memberships as money-drivers… Tax revenue back to the city, even from candy at the snack bar? None. The property is located in Sonoma County (about 500 yards away from the pool at the Parkpoint club in Maxwell Village)… Down the road at the Sonoma Aquatic Center, meanwhile, that $500k would buy 14,285 months of membership. Down the line, eviction notices for the renters on the property, which extends well beyond the charred remains of the main building visible from the street.

A resident of Napa Road is a big fan of The Sun, he writes, but nonetheless must cancel home delivery. It seems that after the issue lands in the driveway, a small animal, likely a fox, emerges to urinate on the bagged paper. To quote last week’s final item here, “Everybody’s a critic.”

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