Town Crier: Montclair couple host surprise guest

MONTCLARION: April 5, 2012

Crimes of opportunity are nothing new in Oakland. We hear about them all the time, but what happened to a hills couple recently is one for the books. They discovered a woman was living on their boat down at Jack London Marina.

Reader Laura Thomas says it started when a neighboring boat owner spotted something amiss. “Amy had seen this stranger going onto our boat, so she went over to our boat and asked the woman what she was doing. The woman said, ‘I’m friends with the owners.’ So Amy asked what their names were, and she said ‘Mark.’ So Amy said, ‘Wrong answer. Get outta here now.’ “

Thomas says the woman was very clever about finding hidden boat keys and had been living on several of the vessels before her arrest. She reportedly helped herself to two bottles of wine on the Thomas’ boat, but at least she took pride in “ownership” while she was there. She made the beds.

Email bag: The future of retail in Montclair Village is still a hot topic. Reader Mike Harcourt says some simple things could be done to spruce up empty storefronts, including something I proposed years ago — artwork in the windows. He says “butcher-paper covered windows, in many cases carelessly applied, come across as “down-and-out” and a complete turnoff to anyone who might be interested in opening a retail business in our village.” I believe that’s called curb appeal — Real Estate 101 for property owners.

Otherreaders have lamented the loss of Montclair Antiques, Raimondi’s, the hardware store and — more recently — Montclair Physical Therapy and Wellness. They’d like to see things like bike racks and water fountains and police presence, especially in the late afternoons when teens get out of school.

Strolling supper: Nineteen eateries have signed up for the April 24 annual Montclair Village Restaurant Walk. It gives new meaning to the phrase “eat and run.” The Tuesday night event (6-8:30 p.m.) includes tastings at Amba, Colonial Donuts, Crogan’s, El Agavero, Farmstead Cheese & Wine, Flipper’s Gourmet Burgers, Flavors India Bistro, Grille One Carvery, Italian Colors, Kakui Sushi, Montclair Baking, Montclair Bistro, Montclair Malt Shop, Noah’s New York Bagels, Oni Sushi, Pagarung Thai, Taqueria Las Comadres 2 and Yogofina. Tickets are $25 (available at any of the above locations) and the proceeds go to the Montclair Lions Club Charities and local nonprofits.

Civic Pride: The Paramount Theatre continues to shine in Oakland’s downtown core. Reader Lissa Tyler Renaud (longtime voice and speech teacher) says last month’s showing of the epic silent film, “Napoleon,” was ample cause for civic pride. She says out-of-towners were “furiously photographing” the ornate interior of the 1915 theater. “And the film came out in 1927, so it was especially amazing to see it in a theater from its own period,” Renaud said.

Speaking of theater, you can see free performances of world-class plays in Oakland, thanks to San Francisco’s Magic Theatre troupe. At 2:30 p.m. April 14, they’ll perform Scottish playwright Linda McLean’s “Any Given Day” at Laney College Theater. Admission is free — just show up at the door. See for more information.

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