WELCOME to “President’s Weekend;” the mother of all ski holidays. And while everyone loves a parade, the steady march of traffic to Tahoe this Friday is a spectacle to avoid. Better to cozy up with a hot cup of tea and the Town Crier.
STREET CRIME: The latest “quality of life” crime involves the theft of catalytic converters. Cars parked on dark hills streets are easy pickings for thieves who slip under the vehicles and make two clean cuts through the tailpipe. The bounty they’re after is the platinum, which runs as high as $1,000 an ounce. Sounds like a lot of cash until you realize it takes between 50 and 100 converters to get an ounce of the precious metal. But to car owners, the cost is even higher, since the price tag for a converter is up to $1,500.
E-MAIL BAG: Speaking of crimes, thanks to reader Pat Schwinn for alerting me to a phone scam that’s been catching folks unawares. If you ever get a call from someone claiming to be a jury coordinator following up on a summons, don’t buy it. They are bullying people into giving personal information that can later be used for identity theft. Learn more about the scam and how to protect yourself by going on the fbi.gov web-site and typing in “jury scams”.
AUTHOR, AUTHOR: Hills resident Laura McAmis has just published a tribute book to her late father, Jack Newcombe. Reader Yvonne Byron says Newcombe was a well-known writer, and his daughter included hundreds of letters he wrote to his wife (Laura’s mother) during World War II as a basis for Foxhole Dreams. “Although only in his early twenties,” says Byron, “he tried to humanize the horror of war by befriending German children and writing about the foibles of his fellow soldiers.” Byron says McAmis and her husband did extensive research for the book, which they published themselves with an easy on-line software program.
FOND FAREWELL: Readers have mentioned the passing of longtime hills resident Bea Isbell. At 86, she died leaving her mark on Montclair , as a seamstress, artist, master gardener and more. Isbell was a mentor to young people, who wanted to learn the craft of sewing. She made everything from ball gowns to Halloween costumes and her talent and generosity will be missed.
ANIMAL INSTINCTS: Call yourself an animal lover? Then consider the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get at tonight’s valentine’s fundraiser for Friends of the Oakland Animal Shelter. With drinks, desserts, dancing and animal games – it should be a wild evening at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland . See the Web site http://www.oaklandsanimals.wordpress.com for more information