The Long and Winding Road

THE ROAD to success can be long and hard. Especially if it’s an actual road that you’re trying to improve.

This is the story of a group of homeowners who wanted, and are finally getting, a safer street to the top of Montclair. Mike Petouhoff, the head of the Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association, says you’ll see changes soon, on the long and winding Shepherd Canyon Road.

If you travel this route, you know the treacherous hairpin turn as Shepherd meets Arrowhead. After much lobbying, including a barrage of phone calls triggered by two neighbors who passed out leaflets last week, Oakland officials have agreed to recontour the road to make the curve easier to negotiate.

Crews are repaving that whole upper stretch of roadway, anyway, so why not fix this hazard? And speaking of hazards, the spot where Shepherd meets Skyline is no picnic either.

“It’s so steep,” says Petouhoff, “in 6 feet of travel you gain 4 feet in elevation.” He says the city plans to regrade that stretch, grinding some pieces of the road bed down and building some up to lessen the impact of the elevation.

So next time your travels take you up Shepherd Canyon Road, think of the hard-working homeowners who finally found the road to success — perseverance. Thank you, Mike, and all the members of your association.

Street talk

Jameela Williams called me this week to say her shop, Ester’s Garden Body and Bath, has relocated in Orinda. After six years on La Salle in Montclair, Williams says she needed to downsize and found a smaller, more intimate space in Theatre Square.

With the historic Orinda Theater as the center’s crown jewel, Williams should do well. Even better, she’s sandwiched between a fitness center and a hair salon. “So you can get your hair done, your body done, and then you’re ready for my lingerie,” she jokes.


Thanks to Rose P. for pointing out a story on Oakland’s Fruitvale Village that ran recently in the New York Times. The piece touts the project as having played a critical role in turning around one of Oakland’s poorest neighborhoods.

Despite the low average income, Fruitvale produces the second highest level of sales tax among Oakland’s neighborhoods, according to city figures. The numbers also show that land values have shot up sharply around this festive urban village.

Illegal dumping

If only there were security cameras trained on “hot spots” for dumping. One of the worst places is 35th Street behind Home Depot. It’s terrible blight on a direct route to two freeway on-ramps, and it’s always a mess.

Not nearly as bad, but perhaps more disturbing because of the natural beauty surrounding it, is Pinehurst Road down to Canyon. On two occasions last week, a variety of garbage was dumped, including three mattresses and assorted cans, bottles and clothing. To their credit, Moraga police took care of the cleanup the day I reported it. The Moraga police can be reached at 925-284-5010.

Animal instincts

It’s one thing to pet a cat or dog. It’s another, altogether, to give them a massage.

But Lisa James offers rubdowns for Rover and other assorted animals as part of her Bay Area pet care business. I saw her ad in the Glenview Laundromat the other day and had to find out more.

“From pit bulls to snakes — if it’s an animal, I love it,” she says, adding she can change problem behaviors after spending just a week with most pets. There’s no word on how the snakes react to a massage, but hopefully it’s not with a big squeeze. You can reach Lisa at 707-434-7133.


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