Town Crier: A promising life cut short

MONTCLARION: October 23, 2009

I sent my son off to school, this morning, with his sports gear stuffed in his bag. But in another part of Oakland, a mother was grieving the loss of her young son. 20 year old Phat Vin Le was the victim of a drive-by shooting in East Oakland this month. His ties to our community came through his years of playing baseball in the Noll/Soll league. Reader Ron Ruma says a shrine near Phat’s house tells it all. “Amid the flowers and candles were such things as his photo from Tim Ryan’s 2002 NOLL/SOLL “Juniors” team, the Paw Sox, (and) some memento baseballs from prior years/games.” Phat was a young man with a bright future – who was driving home around dinnertime when he was struck by a bullet near his house. My thoughts and prayers go out to Phat’s family and friends.

Around town: Move over, Crogans. A new sports bar is coming to the hills. The popular San Francisco Marina pub Monaghans is opening a second location at the top of Joaquin Miller Road – at the old Del Navio Restaurant site. If this pub’s specials are anything like they are at the SF location, I know where I’ll be watching the Vikings win the Superbowl. Welcome to the neighborhood, owner Dave Newell.

Storm alert: Seems we’re getting an early start to the rainy season – and a wake-up call to get our yards in order. Last week’s storm split a tall pine on Nottingham that took out a power pole, starting some small fires and dropping live wires onto the road.

And speaking of storms, the rain has brought the first termite swarm of the season. Several hills neighbors have reported seeing the pesky critters flying in and around their homes. They like to come out in the warm sunny days following the first autumn rains and their munchies of choice are anything wooden that touches the soil. Time to call your pest control guy.

E-mail bag: Reader Mike Petouhoff says his graffiti-busters group is doing a great job of thwarting vandals who tag the interpretive signs in Shepherd Canyon. They’re using a new product that erases scribbles on the signs in less than a minute. Meanwhile, the Montclair Village Association and the Lions Club are kicking in to buy an interpretive sign that tells the history of the Village.

Spooky venue: Is it just my imagination, or are trees really scary at Halloween? Every knot looks like an eye and the branches seem poised to grab you. That being said – one of my favorite Halloween festivals is this Sunday from 11 to 4 at the Canyon School (bottom of Pinehurst, just past the post office). In a space where shadows dance around stands of old Redwoods, even the cake walk seems spooky. And do I even need to mention the haunted house? It’s a scream. The whole event is the perfect kick-off to Halloween.

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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