Town Crier: Leave the lights on to fight winter funk

MONTCLARION: January 9, 2012

January is a tough month. Let’s face it — the holidays are over and tax season is on the horizon. It’s easy to slip into a funk, But here’s a way to spread joy without lifting a finger. Leave your lights on.

Christmas lights are magical. They twinkle in the darkness and provide warmth on cold, starless nights. They also create a sense of community and small town spirit. And with energy-efficient LED lights, you can no longer claim the electric bill is too high.

So, in the words of famed author and Motel 6 pitchman Tom Bodett (who actually reads this column from time to time) — go ahead and make the pledge: “We’ll leave the light on for you.”

Around town: Here’s another reason for more light at night: two reports of gunshots being fired on Grizzly Peak Road. On Dec. 28, a robbery victim was shot in the leg, even after cooperating with the suspects. A week earlier, a couple parked on the road had shots fired at their vehicle. Police aren’t sure if the incidents are connected, but they’re asking us to be vigilant and report suspicious activity. Meanwhile, the search is still on for the suspect(s) who killed hiker David Ruenzel in the Huckleberry Preserve.

Email bag: More buzz around Montclair’s new mural on the wall of Yogafina. Touch Salon’s Teresa Delgado Bozikis likes the spray paint creation by two of Oakland’s more eclectic artists. “I’m a fan and happy [that] Nite Owl and Lisa Pisa have been well represented in Montclair. Is Montclair finally emerging with the rest of Oakland? Let’s hope so!” she writes.

Reader Richard Solomon agrees that it’s a positive addition. “Even if a mural does not suit our particular tastes, my wife and I still appreciate it as an expression of community involvement. It is great for local artists to have the opportunity to contribute to our local area.” He says that generally, taggers leave wall murals alone. “For that reason alone these are well worth the time and money spent to create them.”

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which means some people can’t stand the new mural. “I see this so-called mural/art as pure garbage, nothing like the amazing art produced by Skyline High School students located outside of Rite Aid,” writes Susan Beck. “Skyline students created beauty; spray paint and graffiti put [out] the welcome mat to others who have caused damage to McCaulou’s and others. A struggling shopping district continues with empty store fronts, few shoppers and a graffiti mural. Good luck!”

Positive press: Oakland’s star continues to rise in the travel media. Lonely Planet has included Oakland on its Best in the U.S. for 2015 list. The travel guidebook publisher has had its West Coast headquarters in Oakland since the early 1980s — so they’ve seen the city’s transformation first hand. Here’s the website to find out what they say about our town as “an incubator for adventurous restaurants” as well as several “can’t-miss cultural events:”

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at


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