Town Crier: Thanks to angels who clean up Oakland hills trails


East bay March 9, 2017

Mud and muck and who knows what. All this rain has tongues wagging about the condition of the many trails lacing our Oakland hills. Some trails are mud pits, some even closed, like part of the stream trail in Redwood Regional Park — Skyline Gate. Clearly, it’s more than our park employees can handle.

But help sometimes comes from surprising places. Reader Joanne Sandstrom says it was a visitor from Europe, walking with his mother and Sandstrom, who cleared a mudslide on the Montclair Railroad Trail recently.

“He was perturbed by the mud, muck, rocks and other debris that we had to walk through, over, or around,” she says. “The next day, he shouldered a shovel and rake and cleared the path as we took our walk. If he’d had a chain saw, I’m sure he would have tackled the slide at the other end of the trail.”

Meanwhile, she says, something else was marring the beauty of this trail between Shepherd Canyon Road and the Montclair Village. “People kept piling dog poop, coffee cups, etc., onto overflowing trash cans,” she says. Clearly, this was a low priority for the city as well. But by March 2, someone had emptied the overflowing bins and put the bagged garbage next to the receptacles for pickup.

Another trail angel, perhaps? If so, we owe you our thanks. But perhaps this can be avoided if we pack out our garbage when we see the bins bulging. Or maybe, just maybe, we can get city workers to step up their maintenance on this popular trail.

Around town: Last week, I mentioned that Pour Wine Bar and Bistro at 2058 Mountain Blvd. is changing hands in Montclair. The bistro and wine bar’s Facebook page says it all: “Like so many other Bay Area restaurants, we have found that high operation costs and lack of staffing has been too challenging for us to overcome.” Pour will stay open with limited service (light snacks, beer, wine and basic cocktails) until the new owners of Perle take over, sometime in April.

Happy hour: One of the best I’ve found is in Orinda at the Tuscan-inspired Taverna Pellegrini, 66 Moraga Way. Yes, they have $5 well drinks and glasses of wine (the industry standard) but their bar bites are $5, too. Big burgers, lamb sliders and other gastropub goodies make up the happy hour menu. And Dominico will even engage you in a little Italian, if you sit at the bar.

Helping kids: One of my fond Easter memories is of showing a little girl from Russia how to dye eggs. Katya was the newly adopted daughter of an acquaintance of mine and now she’s grown up and about to graduate from UC Santa Barbara. I bring this up because the program she was part of — Kidsave — is looking for hosts for older orphans who will be coming here this summer. Hosts can be singles or families who keep the kids for 4 weeks while the organization advertises for adoptive families. Find out more at or email Jeri Mersky at

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at http://www.


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