(originally posted March 10, 2010) I first met Jim Ortega when Carlisle hired him to work at her green cement table in the dragonfly portion of Studio Barndiva. I didn’t like that he never said hello or smiled when customers entered and as he was the first person they saw I worried it was affecting our new, struggling business. When our chef Jaime Dillon asked if he could work as a commis in the Barndiva kitchen, as they were roommates and the job with Dragonfly had come to an end, I don’t know why I agreed, but I’m so thankful now that I did. The Jim I came to know during his brief tenure at Barndiva was shy, not indifferent. He was hard working, diligent, soft spoken and very kind. He never let us down. While he talked then of plans to pursue baking as a career, I lost track of him, and we will never know now what he would have ended up doing with his life. The day we arrived in New York Isabel got a call from a close friend to tell her Jim had died, another victim of Sonoma County’s deadly love affair with driving while drunk. I have lived through some pretty rough times in some pretty edgy places but I have never living in a place where so many young people die so stupidly, and needlessly. They drink, ok, I get that, and they live far apart so sometimes they drive, I even get that (though I don’t condone it). What I don’t understand is why they don’t take better care of each other. Jim was a passenger in the car that flipped on a dark winding road to Graton, taking him out but leaving his driver, a “friend,” with a lifetime of guilt. He leaves wonderful parents whose love for him was truly remarkable. And he leaves us all wondering what he would have made of his life, had he lived it. This has got to stop. If anyone out there has a good, effective idea to raise the consciousness that will prevent DUI’s in our community, let us know. We will help you in any way we can. RIP Jimmy.