TGIF. Thank goodness it’s fall. Not officially, of course, but it’s so close I can taste it. There are pumpkin-spiced lattes and cinnamon scones and dinners of chili and cornbread. I can finally fire up the crock pot again and just throw things in it, and call it a stew or a soup.
And finally — there’s football. I’m high on the Raiders this year and it’s not just because of new coach Lane Kiffin. It takes more than a cute coach to catch my attention. It takes a cute coach and a Culpepper and we have them both.
AROUND TOWN: The more Montclair changes, the more it remains the same. Albertsons has turned back into Lucky, and shoppers seem happy with the prices and service. Word on the street is we’re getting another baby store in the village, filling the spot that Body Options left vacant.
And, sadly, the Knitting Basket is closing its doors after nine years in Montclair. Carla Judson, an employee for 22 years, says she’ll try to fill the void by offering private knitting lessons to anyone who wants them. (Carla’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
E-MAIL BAG: Last week’s column on cops working OT in the village prompted reader Charles Pine to write: “We are happy that the recent crime surge in Montclair has been beaten back, at least for the moment.” He reminds us, though, that it’s really just a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. The Oakland Police Department is short officers and needs to make recruiting a top priority.
GRAFFITI BUSTERS: The couple that scrubs together stays together. Just ask John and Jo-Ann Donivan, the husband and wife graffiti-busting team in the Laurel District. Every weekend, they’re part of a group of volunteers that covers gang signs and other unsightly scribbling that springs up at night.
“Mostly we take off spray paint, crayon, markers, lipstick and metallic paints,” says Jo-Ann, whose team uses everything from Goof Off to Goo Gone to cover the tags. “When this doesn’t work, we then paint off in appropriate colors.”
She says they’ve had to repeatedly paint a mailbox in the area that gets “hit” all the time. All that cleaning must be good for the soul. The couple is writing a how-to brochure for the city to use in training more volunteers.
EYE-POPPING EVENING: Moraga may be a “bedroom community” but it’s apparently not ready for sexy foreign films at the Rheem Theatre. A flurry of complaints followed the showing of a hot French flick the other night at the normally quiet Art Deco movie house. The show was part of a foreign film series sponsored by the neighboring Ristorante Amoroma. Future films probably won’t be as “spicy,” but you can still get the heat from the wine and hors d’oeuvres they serve before the curtain goes up.