Town Crier: City mountain lion sightings becoming more frequent

A mountain lion wanders along a frost-covered trail on the morning of Jan. 11, 2013 at the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve in the foothills of Mount Hamilton seven

MONTCLARION: March 10, 2016

Rude awakenings are no big deal in California. Think of the last time an earthquake disrupted your sleep. But a backyard prowler is different. Then it gets personal.

A Glenview woman was recently awakened by rustling in back of her house. Then came a squeal and a growl. When her boyfriend went out to investigate, he saw an intruder prowling the premises. This was no ordinary cat burglar. It was a 150- to 200-pound mountain lion, according to a post on the NextDoor listserv.

For whatever reason — loss of habitat, lack of food — mountain lions are being spotted more frequently in East Bay neighborhoods. This big guy was last seen near Holman Road and Grosvenor Place. The state Fish and Wildlife Department has been called. But here’s another reminder to bring your pets in at night. And if you encounter a mountain lion, experts say to make yourself look big, make noise, maintain eye contact and back away slowly.

Crime alert: Crooks like coffee shops, just like we do. Only they find them prime targets for theft. Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Montclair Village was the scene of a brazen grab-and-go crime recently. A man was working on his laptop near the door when a thief came out of the bathroom, snatched the computer and hopped into a waiting car that sped away. This was in midmorning when the coffee shop was full and it happened so fast, it took everyone by surprise. Hopefully, police can find the thief, who was caught on video. In the meantime, you might want to lock your laptop to the table if you work in public.

Around town: Last week, I mentioned that Duvin wine bar is working with Oakland’s on training new arrivals displaced from the Syrian refugee crisis. One of the refugees is the talented Basim Mabdulgader, who is Duvin’s new “artist in residence.” Lisa McFadin and husband, Bruce, are working to match other refugees with their connections in the restaurant industry. McFadin is no stranger to humanitarian efforts. She’s been to Haiti 26 times since the devastating 2010 earthquake and this past November she helped refugees as they landed ashore on the Greek island of Lesbos. She says she’s never seen that kind of suffering. “I’ve seen suffering but never seen anything like this,” McFadin says. “It was life-changing.”

Animal tales: Spring is in the air — time to tell your kids about the birds and the bees. The bee talk is especially important, as this is swarm season for the honey-gorged insects. Tell your kids not to be afraid if they see a swarm. And certainly don’t throw rocks at a hive like I did as a kid. Keep your distance, leave them alone and contact the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Swarm Patrol ( for help in relocating the colony.

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


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