Town Crier: Swim team makes historic splash

MONTCLARION: August 13, 2010

From Facebook to Twitter, the word is spreading about Montclair Swim Team’s 50th anniversary this month. Since 1960, over 1000 little guppies, minnows and sharks have been part of this outstanding 12 and under program. From back strokers to butter flyers, the team has fielded some of California’s top swimmers – many who’ve gone on to compete at the college level.

So it’s no wonder the team is expecting a big turnout for its golden anniversary celebration on August 28, from noon to 4 pm at Roberts Regional Park. The chatter has already begun on several social networking sites, as alumni recall their best swim times and the pride they felt as they competed with teammates. The Montclair Swim Team still takes part in some 20 meets a year, including the big spring Pentathlon, which they host. If you, or someone you know has been a member of the team, contact Heidi Killeen at and share your stories.

E-mail bag: Lots of folks are weighing in on my recent columns on the future of Montclair Village. Jeff Diamond (owner of Farmstead Cheeses and Wines) says from his perspective, business in the Village is good and getting better. “Farmstead has been experiencing our best non-holiday sales over the past few months and several of my fellow retail store owners (A Great Good Place for Books and Pelago) have told me that they’ve been experiencing a big uptick in sales as well.”

On the topic of parking, Reader David Cloutier’s idea (July 23 column) to create a discounted Village parking pass is stimulating debate. On the one hand, shopper Dina Seritis says why not? “Why can’t we have two hour free parking like several communities in the Bay Area have?” She says she misses the days when Montclair was meter-less and you didn’t always have one eye on the time.

But reader Dave Blumgart says the new parking meter kiosks are doing their job, creating revenue for the city and keeping parking spaces available by discouraging parking for extended periods of time. He says a discounted parking permit for the Village would probably have the opposite, unintended effect of marking parking more difficult. “There are actually studies that have been done that tell parking officials how much to charge to help keep cars flowing,” he writes, adding that more customers should translate into more money for local businesses. And Diamond reminds readers that most Village merchants will validate parking in the city-owned lot if you buy something.

Looking up: As autumn approaches, I’m reminded of just how lucky we are to be surrounded by trees. Local artist Barbara Lee feels the same way, and is featuring a photo exhibit called “Among Trees, a Journey Through the Seasons” at Nelly’s Java in Montclair this month. My favorite photo is her colorful shot of a Birch tree forest with its slender stands of white trunks crowned with gold leaves. As Lee says, we are blessed to be living here in the Oakland hills among the trees.

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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