Town Crier: ‘Adopt’ a planter, spruce up Montclair Village

MONTCLARION: August 31, 2012

The stained glass caught my eye as I strolled by. It was throwing shards of light across the landscape. My family and I stopped to admire the work.

Not since the days when shopkeepers swept their sidewalks have I seen this kind of community pride. Gina Dominguez was gently embedding the colorful glass into a motif on the cement planter near Starbucks. The owner of Snapshot Mosaic (6202 La Salle Ave.) was on her knees, eyes darting back and forth between an artist’s rendering and her emerging masterpiece.

The money to spruce up four planters is a donation from the Montclair Lions Club — the same loyal service group that brings us the annual Halloween Parade, Easter Egg Hunt and its biggest fundraiser, the Montclair Restaurant Walk. President Howard Neal hopes the gesture will inspire others to step up and support public art in the Village.

Meanwhile, dozens of other planters are looking for a little love, too. Wouldn’t it be fun to “adopt” one or two? Find out more at

Around town: David Sarber tells me he’s having “a couple of conversations” with people interested in operating his camera store in the Village. “It’s odd to think that someone else would be Sarber’s Camera for awhile, but that is a possibility,” he says, adding that if talks go nowhere, they’ll close soon.

What can we do to save the almost half-century old business? His answer is simple: “Buy something!” Sarber says we all have a share in what happens here — the landlord, the consumer and the retailer. “Those that are left in the Village providing services through true retail — they need all the considerations we can give them.”

Email bag: Several readers have asked for an update on construction at Montclair Elementary School. Simply put, it’s a major expansion paid for with Measure B money. Two buildings are going up where the old cafeteria and portables stood. One is a 750-person-capacity multipurpose room (if you’ve ever been to a student performance, you know how desperately they need this) and the other is a 10-classroom building. Look for the $18 million project to be done in time for the 2013/2014 school year.

Tunnel talk: Speaking of schools, two Thornhill Elementary School sisters will have their drawings cast in concrete in the Caldecott Tunnel’s new fourth bore. Fifth-grader Aoife Gorshow and third-grader Nuala Gorshow were two of six students with winning medallion designs in a contest to honor the history of the Caldecott Tunnel. A total of six medallion designs were chosen — three each from students in Alameda and Contra Costa County. You can see the artwork at

Call for action: If there’s one way to cure the empty-nest syndrome, it’s to volunteer with kids. The fourth annual Volunteer Fair takes place Sept. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Westlake Middle School. This is the fair that connects dozens of volunteers with youth-related agencies in Oakland. Drop by and check out more than 20 nonprofits that need everything from tutors to mentors. For more information see

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