Town Crier: Break out the grills, fire up the coals, Montclair

MONTCLARION: May 24, 2012

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and all across the land, there are wispy clouds of grilling smoke, with just a hint of cayenne. And mesquite.

The barbecue is more than just a cooking device — it’s a savory symbol of summer. We lovingly spritz our veggies in olive oil and make up our marinades days in advance. We crisp the greens and shape the patties and load up the coolers with drinks. It’s a ritual we do better than anyone on earth, and we’re proud of it. So fire up the coals and let the barbecuing begin.

Around town: Neighbors are getting tired of the roadwork along upper Park Boulevard, where crews have been retrofitting the bridge for what seems like forever. But as I reported last month, the project should wrap up in June, according to City engineer Danny Lau. He says the guys have been working below the deck of the roadway, so progress is being made, even if you can’t see it.

Talk about patience — neighbors in Woodminster have been waiting for years for the owners of a long-shuttered gas station to do something constructive with their property. It sits as an eyesore when it could at least be used as temporary parking for the business district.

Meanwhile, in Montclair, complaints about teens acting out after school has Montera Principal Russom Mesfun vowing to do what he can to remind students of their manners. He’s asking anyone who sees middle-schoolers behaving inappropriately to document it with their camera phone and send it to the Montclair Village Association ( to share with him.

Email bag: Speaking of loitering, reader Diane Hill says it’s also a problem at Montclair Library, where some kids are rude to the volunteer Hillside Gardeners and are destroying the flowers and bushes out front. Yes, we want kids to come to the library, but it should not be used as a free baby-sitting service. Parents, are you reading this?

Wet and wild: A friend and I rented a boat on Lake Chabot the other day and had a little adventure. We saw hundreds of swallows skimming over the lake to feed near the marshy reeds. We saw geese and their goslings waddling near shore — the babies like puffballs with legs. And above us were hawks — as many as a dozen of them — riding the wind like kites. We saw all this in an hour, and for barely the cost of a lunch. All boats are half-off on Tuesdays through Thursdays. Check it out on the lake’s concessionaire website at or call 510-247-2526.



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