JUST CALL ME the bird whisperer. A sparrow landed on the seat of my scooter the other day, just as I was parking in the Lucky lot.
He had two little tufts of fur and an odd look in his eyes as he bobbed up and down, giving me the once over. I asked him how spring was treating him and he gave me a peep. Then he awkwardly flapped his wings and flew into the side of a window.
“It must be a baby, just out of the nest,” said the receptionist at the nearby Montclair Veterinary Hospital. She scooped him up and put him on the ledge near his parents, who were obviously peeved that he’d left home without permission. But for that one fleeting moment, we had bonded; I with my scooter and bird with his new set of wings.
CRIME LOG: It’s a well-known fact that banks don’t like publicity when they are robbed. They don’t want to be seen as vulnerable. So I won’t mention the name of the bank in Montclair that was robbed, recently, by gun-wielding thugs who reportedly assaulted both the security guard and a teller. They got away but were later caught after another East Bay heist in which the bank had put a tracking device in the money. It’s just another example of how violent crime has escalated in Oakland.
E-MAIL BAG: Reader Michael Levy wants to know if the rumors about Royal Ground are true.
“I’ve heard it’s becoming a café,” he writes, adding the word is they’ll close for renovations soon. Michael, you’re right. Royal Ground’s new owner, Miguel Barron, confirms he’s putting in a kitchen, and will start serving food soon. He hopes the work won’t cause too much disruption to the coffee shop, where a multitude of Montclair residents get their daily caffeine fix. As I’ve reported before, Barron already has one restaurant in the village — the venerable Montclair Egg Shop.
MORE E-MAIL: Several readers have asked for an update on the median strip planting along Highway 13. Councilwoman Jean Quan says Caltrans is working on it — albeit slowly.
“They are incredibly slow but have worked fairly consistently since January,” she writes, saying they’ve installed the irrigation and have been hauling in soil to begin the planting.
PEDDLING FUN: Speaking of Royal Ground, the bike club that calls “the ground” home is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Sunday.
Ron Scrivani, Howard Neal and the Velo Raptors have been “peddling” the benefits of bicycle fitness and now have upwards of 65 people in their group.
“Our club started 10 years ago when Howard Neal said that he was going to take a bike ride on the coming Saturday morning, and I asked if I could join him,” Scrivani said. It’s turned into a weekly Sunday morning (8:15 a.m.) ride that starts at Royal Ground and goes through the hills and beyond. Everyone is welcome.
PAMPER PARTY: Strong hands and a warm heart. That’s a good way to describe the staff at Montclair’s Simply Gorgeous Day Spa. They are spending the day, today, giving free treatments to five winners of their recent “You deserve to be pampered” contest. Nominated by friends and family, one recipient was described in this way: “She is ‘mom’ to 2 smart, witty & handsome boys. She works her butt off as a gardener 7 days a week. Her joints are aching, her hands are painful & basically all her joints throb day & night, but still she works, cooks dinner, helps with homework and keeps her home impeccable.”
Hands down — this woman deserves a massage!