Town Crier: Oakland Ice Center a magical elixir for ageless wonder


Tony Howard, who turns 88 soon, is getting ready for one of his 10 group lessons a week at Oakland Ice Center. Howard has been teaching skating for 65 years and says he’s been giving lessons to one student for 50 years. (Courtesy of Kara Piganelli)

MONTCLARION: March 7, 2018

The Olympics are over in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but it seems our winter is just ramping up. The skiing was epic at Northstar California this week after a 66-inch snow dump. And as I barreled down the back side of one of my favorite Sierra resorts, I channeled a fellow cold weather enthusiast who is still teaching skating, just weeks from his 88th birthday. Continue reading


Town Crier: Music adds dose of magic to street scenes

Oakland’s Agave Uptown, 2135 Franklin St., is celebrating its first anniversary specializing in Oaxancan cuisine.

MONTCLARION: February 21, 2018

I saw the world through the eyes of a child this week, and it was pure joy. Four little girls, all dressed in pink, were dancing to the music of a farmer’s market busker. Continue reading

Burger Wars Heat up in Oakland

The Copper Spoon’s bar area is seen from above. The new Oakland restaurant is on the site of the former Art’s Crab Shack, the iconic diner that served patrons for decades. – Courtesy Copper Spoon

MONTCLARION: January 18, 2017

The Bay Area burger wars have a hot new contender. It’s chef Andre Hall’s juicy lamb merguez burger with Tracey’s spice rub, Carmen’s kraut and Vita’s tzatziki on a brioche bun (yes, it’s a mouthful). Continue reading

Happy Wanderer: Child of Alcatraz describes spectacular trail on ‘The Rock’

HILLS NEWSPAPERS: December 19, 2017

One of the Bay Area’s most spectacular trails is open to hikers, but just till the seagulls return to their rookery. It’s the little known Agave Trail along the backside of Alcatraz island, and it’s open during a time when Alcatraz Cruises is offering two-for-one tickets to locals. (More on that later.) Continue reading

Town Crier: ‘East Bay Hills’ full of fun, colorful facts


Amelia S. Marshall has just published “East Bay Hills:  A Brief History.” Marshall will be showing photos and telling stories from her book at Laurel Bookstore in downtown Oakland at 7 p.m. Nov,. 30 and at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at A  Great Good Place for Books in Montclair Village.

MONTCLARION: November 17, 2017

It’s mid-November and fall is revealing its true colors. In my own garden, the Japanese maples are brilliant shades of amber and orange. The sweet gum and birch are delicious deciduous that pop yellows and reds through the filtered sunlight and even the East Bay Regional Park District gets into the act with Tilden, with its garden exotics like ginko biloba, and Redwood Regional Park, with its colorful non-native plants along the Stream Trail.  Continue reading