Town Crier: Time to clear weeds, brush — and avoid city fines

MONTCLARION: June 17, 2015

The hills are abuzz these days. Whirring weed whackers and high-pitched chain saws are a necessary annoyance as homeowners brace for hot weather and Oakland’s fire safety inspections.

It’s not just the temperatures that are heating up. Tempers are flaring over reports that the city may issue fines to homeowners who fail the first round of inspections. It’s a heavy hit — the $303 for violating Oakland Fire Department’s wildfire regulations.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not taking any chances. I’m spending the weekend pulling Scotch broom and trimming the weeds and wild grasses in my yard. Here is more information:

Around town: Nothing new to report on the bid by Starbucks to move into the old Wheels of Justice locale on La Salle. Word has it the new shop would serve more than just coffee and snacks — adding adult beverages to the menu. Venti viognier, anyone?

One place where wine will definitely be served is the Montclair Village Beer and Wine Celebration on June 27. Twenty wineries and breweries will pour alongside 80-plus artists (the Pacific Fine Arts Festival). On the live music stage, there’s a unique group — the GroWiser Band featuring 8-year-old drummer Eagan Dixon O.

Uniquely Oakland: The documentary series called “Oakland Originals” is back. After drawing crowds last year at the Grand Lake Theater, founders Jim McSilver and Erin Palmquist will screen their series Friday and on July 17 and Aug. 21 at Jack’s Nigh Market in Jack London Square.

The short films about four unique Oakland individuals will also roll out on the website at beginning next month and the organizers are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise production money for four more documentaries.

Email bag: A few weeks ago, I wrote about a little free library outside reader Jennifer Fish’s house, 5805 Merriewood Drive. These libraries are mailbox-sized book bins stocked with free hardcovers and paperbacks. I’ve since learned there’s a map of the registered little free library’s across the United States — including the East Bay at Fish says she knows of a little free library on Pinehaven, two in Alameda and one in Lafayette. Let me know if you see any more out there.

Animal tales: A shelter puppy named Frodo needs our help to fight a deadly disease. The border terrier has parvo — a virus that could cost Oakland Animal Services $5,000 to treat. The city can’t cover this kind of expense, so the Friends of Oakland Animal Services has set up a fund for emergency medical care. The website is

Speaking of sick animals, the California Condor named “Miracle” should be back in the wild after several weeks of care at the Oakland Zoo. Vets gave her one more round of treatments for lead poisoning last week and then set her free.

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



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