Town Crier: Ducks dodge danger with some hills help


MONTCLARION: May 28, 2015

It was a scene straight from the famed children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings.” Mama mallard and eight little Montclarions were marching dangerously close to the Highway 13 onramp. But instead of being rescued by a kindly policeman, it was two moms who stopped traffic to round up the ducks and return them to Montclair Park.

“Fortunately, there were a lot of sympathetic drivers who stopped their cars, so we could chase across lanes of traffic to collar the little runaways,” says reader Laura Thomas. One woman caught the mother duck and tucked it inside her vest while Thomas herded the baby quackers into a bag, which she put in her car.

From there, it became a comedy routine. “The ducklings escaped the bag … and when I got to Montclair Rec Center, they were all over my car peep peeping,” Thomas says. You can imagine the cacophony of whistles coming from eight fuzzy, tortoise-shelled peepers.

The two women, another mom and her sons all joined in the effort to herd mama mallard and babies back into the pond. It was quite a kerfuffle, and the ducks had a lot to say about the process as they paddled and peeped near the shore. The humans had a lot to say too … as they told neighbors and friends … and me. And now, I’m telling you.

Animal tales: Speaking of baby animals, there were three newborn skunks in my yard the other day. Their little tufts of tuxedo-colored fur and their soft pink noses made them almost irresistible — until I realized they could raise quite a stink if approached.

Around town: A group of neighbors has started an online petition to stop a Montessori school from opening in the historic Montclair Women’s Club at Mountain and Thornhill. LePort Montessori School still needs final planning approval from the city of Oakland before it can open a year from now. Neighbors say traffic is already bad enough without adding a school with up to 140 students and 18 staffers. They’re also unhappy about the proposed removal of trees and the addition of a “6-foot-high concrete block wall” around an architectural gem that dates back to the mid-1920s.

Flower power: One of Montclair’s prettiest little corners is on the south side of Medau at Mountain. It’s the raised bed garden outside Yogofina, planted and kept by owners Rosa and Michael Yi and their goddaughter, Maria Lee. There are dahlias, lilies and begonias framing white pebbles that spell out the yogurt shop’s name. Colorful windmills twirl in the breeze and solar-powered angels help spread nature’s goodness. “We want to make people happy,” says Lee, who loves how shoppers stop and take pictures in front of the garden. And while the graffiti-style mural on the front of the shop isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the garden triggers smiles. One customer even left a tip to buy more flowers.

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