Town Crier: It’s time to look to heavens for rain

MONTCLARION: February 7, 2014

God knows we need rain. Could February be the month we get it? The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts higher than normal rainfall for the Bay Area this month, but still short of what we need. Seems to me it’s time to take action.

California’s Catholic bishops are imploring us to pray for an end to the drought. It’s not the first time that folks have looked to the heavens for rain. In 2007, the governor of Georgia asked God to gather the storm clouds. In the ensuing months, there was a 132 percent increase in precipitation.

Our governor is taking a different tack, which is fine, too. He’s preaching conservation and disciplined flushing (remember the mantra of the 1970s?). But from where I’m sitting (not far from my backyard rain gauge), it seems like a good idea to do both. Pray and conserve. Some may call it hedging your bets. I call it a wise use of resources.

Around town: It’s been on District 4 council candidate Jill Broadhurst’s wish list for years. Finally, it looks like Montclair will get a mural on the unsightly cement abutment near the park on Mountain Boulevard. Old-timers will remember this as the railroad trestle for the Short Line passenger train that was only in service for about a decade. The Montclair Safety and Improvement Council is raising money for a large, trompe l’oeil mural by artist Andrew Johnstone that will appear like a 3D rendering of an arched bridge and rail car. I’ll have more on this next week, but check out the drawings at

Food as love: We know something about this in Oakland, a city that’s been transformed by our affinity for good food. In fact, a lot of people are feeling the love at a new restaurant called Bowl’d BBQ in the Temescal (4869 Telegraph Ave). It’s only been open two weeks, but the Korean stone grill barbecue already has fans from its popular eateries in Albany and Berkeley.

It’s clear that Chi Moon and her sister love sharing their family’s recipes, which include savory grilled meats, fish and vegetables with specialty dishes like kimbap (Korean sushi) and pancakes with house-made kimchee. Diners can even grill their own meat and vegetables on individual stone grills that are brought to the tables. Even the beverage list is impressive — including celebrated Napa Valley wines, rice wines and beers ranging from Anchor Steam to PBR.

Love blooms: Nothing says love like aloe — especially in a drought year. But did you know that this water-sipping succulent has dramatic winter blooms that rival those of roses and other more traditional valentine flowers? The famed Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek is hosting Lovers Day Aloe Tours on Saturday. The 3-acre dry garden has been around since the early 1900s and has hybrids you won’t see anywhere else in the world. Check it out at


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