El Verano Elementary School third-grade teacher Tim Curley says he likes to teach his students about “their world,” and so he read to them Bay Area writer Dave Eggers’ book, “The Bridge Will Not Be Gray,” which traces the history of the Golden Gate and how it came to be the only “international orange” colored architectural wonder. Taken by the book, Curley’s class wrote the McSweeney’s founder a letter, “complete with artwork and haiku,” notes Curley. And lo and behold, Eggers wrote back.

“He penned a very cool, personal letter and included a manuscript to his newest, as yet unpublished, book ‘Her Right Foot,’” says Curley. “We were among the first people in the world to see these words.”

As Curley teaches students about their world, we imagine this month’s lesson learned included the idea that – despite what the headlines may tell us – connections, kindness and good-old-fashioned thoughtfulness can still rule the day.

“Very cool,” sums Curley. “Very, very cool.”


In the past few months, the I-T has received multiple reports of rude and aggressive behavior toward people otherwise minding their own business. And we’re not talking about your dime-a-dozen online trolls – this is out on the streets of Sonoma.

First there was Carol, a self-described “68-year-old white woman,” who was mocked by a pair of passing 20-somethings while strolling through the Plaza; then Bill wrote in to lament a driver shouting “fa—ot” at him in the crosswalk along First Street West at Napa. Perhaps the most egregious example, however, is the story Terry D. tells about Mary Gonzalez, a teenage girl who was walking with friends to the Boys & Girls Club, “when a guy started chasing them brandishing a stick and shouting, ‘Go back to Mexico now. You don’t belong here!’” The kids hightailed it into the club to call the police, but the stick-wielding miscreant ran off.

“Welcome to America 2.0,” says Terry. Indeed.