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SMITH: Grateful for their kids — in Congo

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.

About the time the scent of pumpkin pie dissipates and the fridge door smacks shut on the leftovers, we’ll begin to grapple with all we’ve got to do this next month.

Just imagine being Beth and Mike Hall.

As the parents of three pre-schoolers, the Santa Rosa couple would do well to fulfill all their preparations for Christmas even were they not to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo in December to meet the two youngsters they’re adopting.

Beth Hall says that before she and Mike met, both knew they’d someday provide a home and family to an orphan living in great peril somewhere in the world.

Research led them to Congo, where civil war, atrocity, AIDS and deprivation have left about 5 million children abandoned.

“It would just blow your mind, the need over there,” Beth says.

She and her husband inquired about adopting a Congolese child and upon learning of the plight of so many more agreed to bring home a second.

It’s hugely expensive so they’re raising money by several means.

Beth will sell nativity sets that she has hand-painted at the holiday crafts fair that opens Friday at Sebastopol’s Twin Hill Ranch. Her website, lovehasrun.com, links to a virtual shop of items created by herself and her mother, Jan Steiner.

The orphans the family can’t wait to meet are aged 2 and 3 and are not siblings — yet. Their names: Charlotte and Grayson.

SINGING FOR BARI: Eco-activist and balladeer Darryl Cherney is on the road, showing his documentary on the 1990 car-bomb blast that slightly injured him but nearly killed his lover and Earth First! comrade, Judi Bari.

“Who Bombed Judi Bari?” looks to be the first film ever that comes with a reward. Humboldt County resident Cherney’s production company offers $50,000 for information leading to the arrest, conviction and incarceration of the person or persons who placed the bomb.

The question of who is left open by the 93-minute documentary, constructed of interviews and archival footage of Bari, Cherney and the bomb blast in Oakland that came as they organized in preparation for the Redwood Summer mass protests against logging of old-growth trees.

Competing theories of who put a bomb under the driver’s seat of Bari’s car cast suspicion on the FBI, persons formerly close to Bari and political adversaries.

As Cherney travels the country screening the documentary he made with director Mary Liz Thompson, he’s saying he hopes the reward will at last bring about the arrest and conviction of whomever placed the bomb.

A week-long run of “Who Bombed Judi Bari” in New York City produced mostly favorable reviews, though several say Cherney went overboard with old clips of the protest songs he and Bari would often sing.

We’ll see if the film and the reward will prompt someone in the know to do some singing of his or her own.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)

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