Town Crier: Race to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions


2010 is just seven days old, and already I’ve broken my number one resolution – to eat less chocolate. Why is the cocoa bean so alluring? Like a smoker to a cigarette, it’s the first thing I think about each morning as I rifle through the cubboards for a truffle to sweeten my coffee. A pour man’s mocha, I call it. It’s how I greet the day.

Does this make me a bad person? No. It just makes me a plump person, which leads me to my other resolution – weight loss. If anyone knows of a good fat free chocolate, please let me know.

Get in gear: If there seem to be more joggers in the hills, these days, it may be because of the upcoming Oakland Running Festival March 27 and 28. It’s a series of races for all ages and athletic abilities, including the first marathon we’ve had here in 25 years. Even more exciting, part of the course runs through Montclair – around Lake Temescal and along Mountain Blvd to Joaquin Miller Road. Check it out at Reader Tod Vedock says you can even connect with other runners on Facebook by typing in Oakland Running Festival.

Make a connection: When it comes to helping others, money isn’t always the best answer. Be a Mentor is a local charity that matches volunteers with youths who desperately need a positive influence in their lives. Reader John Castaldi says “there’s such a shortage of male mentors, it makes one cry.” He mentors a teen from Hayward who is being raised by his aunt and attends Chabot College. They get together two or three times a month to talk, see a movie, have a meal and just hang out. Just that little bit of time makes such a big difference. Can you help? Find out more at

Music meets technology: Lots of folks use Skype for free long distance phone calls, but a local musician is using it to make money. Carol Alban ( with the Bay Area Chamber Symphony teaches flute to her students on Skype. The lessons are private and offered worldwide – anywhere there’s an internet connection. Now that’s what I call “noteworthy”.

Movie tips: And with money a little tight these days, you may be wondering whether a new film is worth shelling out ten bucks to see. Just ask Oakland movie buff Jana Hardy, who has probably already reviewed it. Hardy is a risk management consultant who doubles as a movie critic – and catches some 130 movies a year. Her reviews are free via 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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