Town Crier: Talkin’ Turkey in the Oakland Hills

MONTCLARION: June 4, 2010

     There’s nothing like a good gobble to get you going. I encountered a group of wild turkeys, today, and told them just what I thought of them blocking the road. Yes – I rolled down my window and gobbled – a guttural tongue-lashing that got the birds so worked up, they flared out their fans and sounded off  in unison.

     Why do I mention this? Because the wild turkey population is way up in the hills and humans are starting to complain. Not only are the birds aggressive, they peck people’s gardens – uprooting plants as they forage for food.

     What can be done to control the population? Should the City issue permits to hunt the birds, say, every November? Surely a solution like this wouldn’t fly in Montclair, where even the mayor is an animal. (See pet mayor update below)

     There is another answer. Hire me as a bird whisperer. I will talk turkey with these critters. I’ll ask them politely to stay in the parks and not terrorize children and seniors. If I can’t appeal to their intelligence, then I’ll use fowl language to make my point. In any case, it’s worth a shot. I stand ready to gobble.

     About town: Speaking of animals, Montclair picks its new pet mayor June 20th. We have an eclectic field of candidates this year, including cats and rats and geckos and goats and even a miniature horse. The gecko is getting a lot of votes, I’m told – especially from the kids. Cast your vote through the 19th at

     Email bag: If you haven’t noticed, Colonial Donuts has moved, with some fanfare, to its new location around the block in Montclair. Reader Jane Nylund says the shop’s “impromptu event” on their last day on Mountain Blvd. was the perfect example of what makes the Village special. As customers sipped coffee and cheered, senior fitness guru Michael Grbich tap-danced on the counter to the tune of “Catch a Wave” by the Beach Boys.

     Top award: Hills resident Omar Hurricane has earned an impressive honor. The young Lawrence Livermore scientist has been named the nation's top physicist for his work in national security. In a nutshell, Omar came up with a top-secret computer model during a rained-out vacation in which his wife decided to read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. He had to find something to do and ended up solving one of the nation's most complex problems involving thermonuclear weapons. If I tell you any more, I'll have to kill you, as the saying goes....but suffice to say Omar is enjoying the honor and his $50,000 cash prize. Congratulations!

     Reader’s Corner: Hills author Ken Ball will be reading from his new book Surviving the Baby Boomer Exodus: Capturing Knowledge for Gen X & Y Employees tonight (Friday) at 7 pm at A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair. This is a book for all boomers, as it points out our importance in the workplace. 76 million of us may be retiring over the next few years, and that’s a brain drain of critical proportions. Ball’s book is a call to action to pass on this knowledge before it’s too late. Does your workplace have a mentoring program? If not, it may be time to suggest one.

      Neighborly love: The season for block parties is almost upon us and the folks on Wood Court don’t need summer to celebrate. They have their own supper club, a group of six families who take turns hosting dinner every two or three months. They’ve been breaking bread together for 15 years on Wood Court – young and old, children and grandchildren.  Food and friendship are the glue that keeps the neighborhood together. What a sweet tradition.

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


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