Town Crier: Popular act returns to Oakland hills


Now appearing…the Chanterelles. I’m not talking about a girl band here, but rather the mushrooms, which are popping up all over the hills this winter. Several readers have told me they harvest these golden girls in their own yards – and the pickins’ have never been better.

“I like to sauté them with garlic and olive oil,” says Jane English, whose husband, Ron, has found seven of the forested fungus on their property since the rains began. I won’t tell you where, (Chanterelle lovers are extremely protective of their patches) but they grow under oaks and will reappear annually if harvested carefully.

Of course, picking wild mushrooms is not without risk, but experts say Chanterelles are relatively easy to identify (distinctive golden color, funnel shape with gill-like ridges). They’re pricey in the stores – when you can find them – and considered one of nature’s true delicacies.

Then there’s the mushroom’s artistic value. It turns out; they make fine spore prints for people who are into this kind of thing. Simply pop off their bulbous tops and plop them onto a piece of dark paper. Cover with a bowl or glass (leave a little space for the mushrooms to breathe) and in a few hours you’ll have a glorious spore print. Impress your friends and neighbors by having it framed and hung in the kitchen. They’ll think you’re a culinary genius.

Crime beat: Here’s a follow-up on a story I did last month about the rash of car burglaries in local East Bay Regional Parks. Four people have been arrested in recent weeks, for breaking into cars in lots from Sibley to Chabot. Sergeant Tyrone Davis says they seem to be acting alone, not in any kind of organized ring. “They kind of drive through and look in to see what they can get,” he says. “In each case, we recovered property that will be returned to its rightful owners.” Most of the thefts were of credit cards and wallets – instant gratification items. None of the thieves have been caught in the act – but were arrested, instead, during follow-up investigations.

Metal eyesore: The recent appearance of two large metal pipes has some residents miffed along Monterey Road in Montclair. The eyesores emerged on the banks above the Montclair Golf Course, and seem oddly out of place – given the greenery around them. In fact, this kind of thing is usually housed in a little enclosure in places like Piedmont. Let’s see how long it stands “naked” in our financially-strapped city of Oakland.

Musical memo: Here’s something noteworthy: The popular Skyline High Jazz Band is performing two shows at Yoshi’s on Monday night, March 1. This is the 5th year the group has used Yoshi’s to raise money for its annual trip to the Reno Jazz Festival. It’s not only a worthy cause, it’s a great deal for just $10 a ticket and will probably sell out fast. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online 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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