Town Crier: Unnerving noise from above

MONTCLARION: October 9, 2009

Are we a little jittery – or what? When a low flying plane buzzed the hills, last week, some people ran for cover. They thought we were under attack, or at the very least, were in danger of being hit by a malfunctioning aircraft plummeting to earth.  Turns out it was part of a military air show for the Cal/USC football game.

It reminds me of the time I checked into a hotel on Galway Bay in the Irish town of Salthill. Weary from a red-eye flight, I closed my shades to get a little shut-eye and was suddenly awakened by a squadron of screaming jets outside my window. The room was literally shaking and I thought certain we were under attack. It turned out to be a multi-national air show in the wake of 9-11 – an incredible display of military might. Once my heart stopped racing, I realized my good fortune. I had the best seat in town.

Super women: Thanks to reader Shelley Tarnoff for telling me about Orion Fund, a charity run by local moms in memory of Piedmont student Orion Trott, who died from brain cancer in 2004. The women raise grant money for college students with life threatening illnesses. They’ve held garage sales, poetry slams – even hiked Half Dome. The next big event is The Orion Fund Golf Tournament in Yountville October 18. Shoot a hole-in-one off the 4th tee and you win a one year lease on a Mercedes C300, donated by Mercedes Oakland. Get more information at

Field of dreams: Reader Matthew Gabel says Rickey Henderson was a class act at the recent dedication of Oakland Tech’s new baseball field – named after the A’s superstar. Henderson signed programs until every fan had an autograph, and shared stories of his days at Oakland Tech. With a house in the nearby Oakland hills, he still likes to grab a bite along Telegraph Avenue at the McDonalds and Jack in the Box near his old school.

E-Mail bag: Speaking of Tech…reader Jeff Seidl says he’s been reading the e-mails from parents praising Oakland Tech and wants to see equal time for his high school – Skyline – which he calls “the other urban alternative”. Seidl says when he started Skyline last year, he joined a group of “involved and perspicacious young adults” that gave him a dynamic group of friends. “I was stunned by the pace of my classes,” he writes, “which included Mandarin Chinese, Jazz Band, Algebra 2, and Marching Band.” Seidl says Skyline is doing a great job of preparing him for college. Judging by his passionate and well-written letter – I have to agree.

Bacon bits: Next time your mate tells you to bring home the bacon, surprise them with the whole hog. Robert Ferguson with the Montclair 4H Club says they’re looking for someone to keep the club’s porkers while they fatten up for the Alameda County Fair. All you need is an acre and a half of land – the club will build the pens and slop the hogs. And don’t worry about them overstaying their welcome. The piggys will go to market, so to speak, by the end of June – so you only have to keep them four months. What’s in it for you? The club will raise an extra hog and have it custom processed. Yum! Got land? Want pork? Call Ferguson at 510-487-5906 or shoot him an e-mail at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at or on the web at


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