Town Crier: Teacher raising money online for woodshop class


MONTCLARION: Sept 30, 2016

How much dough could a woodshop raise if a woodshop could raise dough? Just look on Eric Runge’s GoFundMe page, which he started to support the Montera Middle School woodshop.

Montera is the only Oakland school offering woodshop classes, and Runge, the instructor, raised $8,553 on GoFundMe — just in the first four days.

“Eric is a lifelong Montclair resident and alum of the woodshop — and his late mother taught at Montera for over 20 years, says reader Karen Flamme, who contacted me to give the page some publicity. She was one of the first donors.

The money will go to buy new tools and materials, something Runge says is sorely needed.

“The major tools (planer, jointer, table saw, band saw and lathes) were built and delivered to the school in 1959. They were beautiful, probably the best that money could buy 58 years ago. Now, they are gone or not working properly,” he says.

More than 100 kids a semester take woodshop, and Runge says the skills they learn with their hands can last a lifetime.

“This class is one of the few classes that teach students skills that will help them to get a career without going to college,” he says.

If you’d like to help preserve the Montera woodshop’s long and storied tradition, go to

Email bag: A reader who goes by the moniker ‘Katz Frau’ is taking exception with the photo that ran with my Sept. 2 column on hills parking. It showed a fire truck squeezing by a parked car on a narrow road, but Ms. Frau says the problem isn’t widespread — certainly not widespread enough to warrant new parking restrictions.

She also asks “if the city is worried about parking on narrow streets, why do they issue building permits for new homes or remodeled homes on the same narrow streets????”

Bottoms up: Deserts in Berkeley? Yes indeed, and you’ll feel the heat at the Oct. 9 mezcal tasting in the UC Botanical Gardens. Deserts of America horticulturalist Basil Medeiros leads the event which features some amazing cactus juices and paired nibbles.

Gnarly, man: And speaking of outdoor events, the Gnarlymen will be back Oct. 29 at the Fourth Bore in Orinda. This is a great surf rock band with a Montclair dad on guitar — Robert Jacques.

Jacques grew up in Southern California with bands like The Ventures but says there’s also a great surf music community in the Bay Area. After being a fan for a few decades, he’s now living the dream in his own surf band. Check out the music at
Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at http://www.


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