Town Crier: Bid adieu to the lazy days of summer


It’s Labor Day weekend — the last blast of summer as families prepare for fall and the start of the school year.

For kids it’s a bittersweet holiday, marking the end of a lazy summer schedule and the beginning of late night studying and early morning chaos.

But for parents, it’s a return to normality. “I can finally get some work done,” a harried mom told me last week. She’d been running her kids from one attraction to the next, all summer — and was literally spent.

But be careful what you wish for.

Yes, school is starting and you can hand over your kids to the teacher. But that homework’s not going to get done by itself. And if you’re as rusty at math as I am, your memories of summer may suddenly get sweeter.

Web chatter: With school starting up again, there’s a lot of talk about how to keep kids safe on the streets. A number of neighbors are putting up signs saying, “Drive 25, keep kids alive.” Word is, you can post them on private property but the city will take them down if they’re mounted on street lamps or telephone poles, etc. And where do you get the signs? See the Web site by the same name:

Meanwhile, reader Debbie Hill tells me there are enough hills area kids going to Oakland Tech this fall to convince AC Transit to provide service to

and from Montclair to the high school on route 662. See for the times and stops.And speaking of schools, a grass roots group is holding a Volunteer Faire at the Oakland Main Library on Sept. 12 to promote all the ways you can help our public schools. They need tutors and mentors and other support. Find out what you can do from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday.

Fairway fundraiser: Talk about scoring a hole in one! The volunteers who put on the recent Fallen Heroes Golf Benefit at Sequoyah Country Club raised $83,000 for the families of four slain police officers in Oakland. Thirty-two foursomes played in the tourney and Sequoyah provided the carts, green fees, lunch and dinner, capped off with a silent and live auction.

Organizer Suzanne Caro says the officer’s tragic deaths last March touched the community: “They had families and people who loved them. They put themselves in front of senseless, murderous individuals all the time and we often forget.”

Thank you, Suzanne, and your volunteers, for remembering.

Tasting success: There’s no doubt, we love our Mexican food in Oakland. Just ask Abel Lopez, who started out with one taco truck on International Boulevard and now has a successful catering business on the side. I ran across Lopez, recently, at a house party in Orinda, where he was grilling meat for a taco and burrito bar. His food was a big hit at $12 a head ($6 for kids) and so many people have been booking parties, he’s hired five cooks to help him. You won’t find Lopez on the Web, but his number is 510-384-5465.

Toast this: Raise your glass to hills vintner Nils Cunningham, whose cabernet grapes have been blended into the acclaimed ’06 Nils Cabernet made by Periscope Cellars in Emeryville. Nils has a little vineyard outside Auburn that he lovingly tends to himself. In the past, he and his mother, Jean, have crushed and bottled the wine themselves. These days he sells his crop to Periscope, and they are doing a wonderful job. The ’06 Nils Cab is proof — complex and structured without heavy tannins. Tasty indeed!


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