The Town Crier On Crime

HIGH ABOVE Montclair in humble surroundings, the Town Crier sorts through submissions. All the news that’s fit to print — and then some — goes into this weekly column.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. In the past week, you’ve sent me stories about everything from birds in the barbecue to thugs on the tennis court. Grab your cup of coffee and read on.
ON THE BALL: There was no love on the tennis court last week, when retired hills resident Mike Healy and a friend were held up by teenage thugs during a mid-afternoon game. “We were playing on the lower Montclair tennis court (near the old fire station) when I heard the gate open,” he recalls.
Four youths burst in, wearing bandana masks with one of them waving a knife in the air, screaming “We want your money!” What happened next is something police warn against, but Healy did it anyway. He let loose with an obscenity laden tirade that sent the youths high-tailing it out of there. “Funny thing was, I was just mad that they were invading our tennis court,” Healy says. I can sympathize. I know how hard it is to get a court in Montclair.

E-MAIL BAG: Speaking of crime, readers are reacting to the vandalism of Montclair’s village clock. “It kind of felt like someone punched me in the stomach,” Don Mackey said when he read the news. “I know there is nothing that you can do about this per se, but as the Town Crier I thought I would let you know that some times, more recently lately, I think life on the “other side” of the tunnel would suit me fine,” he says. “I can always come visit — during the day of course.”

PERILOUS PATH: At least two readers have lost their footing recently on a dangerously uneven square of sidewalk in front of Blockbuster Video. A Blockbuster employee told me they don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but the sidewalk is not their responsibility. That may not be true. Richard Cowan, Councilmember Jean Quan’s chief of staff, says: “It’s the business owner’s responsibility, although most owners don’t know this.”
The exception would be if a city-owned tree (this may be the case outside Blockbuster) or an underground utility line damaged the sidewalk. He’s asked Liz Shelton, the city’s sidewalk repair person, to investigate.

DAZZLING DANCE: Ronn Guidi does it again, with three enchanting weekend performances of “Hansel and Gretel,” the ballet. Yes, I said the ballet — because Guidi was the founder and director of the Oakland Ballet and is known for his brilliant work with talented young dancers. Holy Names College hosts this weekend’s shows with two performances at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and a 5 p.m. show on Sunday. Tickets are $18.

LIL’ PEEPERS: Getting your barbecue ready for summer? You may want to open the lid slowly. Hills resident Rick Stuart found a nest of six baby birds in his gas grill the other day. Mother bird must have flown in through the open vent, seeking solitude in the strange metal contraption. Once hatched, the little guys didn’t stick around long. They flew the “que” last weekend when Rick opened the lid. Guess they didn’t want to stay for dinner.

SPEAKING OF PEEPING: With eyes wide open, I’ve see some strange sights in the past few days; A mallard waddling through the Safeway parking lot. Deer running between the soccer goals at Shepherd Canyon Park. An outdoor toilet hooked to a power pole — and a woman pushing her poodle in a baby stroller. Just another day in the Oakland hills.


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