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


Happy Wanderer: Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto ‘like Disneyland’ to Nico’s chef


This cozy booth is one of the features of Nico’s 1508 (formerly Nico’s Hideaway) in Walnut Square on the corner of Walnut and Vine in Berkeley. (Courtesy of Nico’s 1508)

EAST BAY TIMES: October 13, 2017

When it comes to celebrated food districts, Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto takes the cake — and most every other food category. It’s one thing that convinced Chef Munther Massarweh to open Nico’s 1508 (formerly Nico’s Hideaway) in Walnut Square on the corner of Walnut and Vine. Another was the restaurant’s built-in charm. Continue reading

Town Crier: Bernie Sanders sighted at Peet’s in Montclair Village

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally of health care advocates, grassroots activists, and others outside the Capitol in Washington, on Sept. 19. Sanders was recently spotted at the Peet’s in Montclair Village in Oakland. (Associated Press)

EAST BAY TIMES: October 3, 2017

They say you can tell a lot about a person by their coffee order. So what kind of coffee does Bernie Sanders drink? We learned the answer when he popped into Peet’s on a recent Saturday. The September surprise came just before noon in Montclair and shift leader Dorothy Curry (no relation to Stephen) said he ordered a plain coffee. Yep —- no frills for Bernie — and he even turned down a patron’s generous offer to buy him a cuppa Joe. Continue reading

Town Crier: Park in Oakland hills like life depends on it; it does


Welcome to September — where the days are warm and the fire danger critical.

We’ve seen this before. The sun seems relentless as it bakes the hills into a barren brown landscape of tinder dry scrub. And with fire season upon us, are we any more prepared than we were on that fateful day 26 years ago this Oct. 19? Some would argue no. Continue reading