Town Crier: Go-to Montclair eatery marks 25 years

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Ginny Prior/for Bay Area News Group Italian Colors, a go-to restaurant for many Montclarions, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Guitarist Michael Wollenberg, above, who has played at the restaurant since it began, performs Christmas tunes for diners on a recent night.

EASTBAYTIMES.COM: DECEMBER 28, 2018

Italian Colors has beaten the odds. The go-to restaurant for so many Montclarions is celebrating its 25th anniversary — remarkable when you consider 90 percent of independent restaurants close during their first year and the rest last an average of just five years. For owner/chef Alan Carlson, it’s a matter of pride. Continue reading

Talkin’ bout the birds and the bees…

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Laurel Ace Hardware garden team member Miguel Ruiz, left, appears recently with Lisa Ratusz of the Our Water Our World program through the Alameda County Clean Water program. Ratusz taught visitors about integrated pest management and helped with pollinator-friendly gardening tips. Laurel Ace Hardware staff held a pollinator event earlier this fall.

MONTCLARION: November 16, 2018

We’ve always been a one-pet family. But these days we have dozens of birds to add to our brood — wrens, sparrows, jays and dark-eyed juncos — all feeding at our seed stations. Anna’s hummingbirds sip from our Dollar Store nectar bottle. Nuthatches balance on the wire basket, binging on peanut butter suet. And I sit inside with my field guide, logging bird varieties as I sip my morning coffee. Often my cat will lay blissfully on my lap, as if watching a reality show. Continue reading

Town Crier: Oakland hills, state fall colors beautiful too

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courtesy of Bruce Wendler Fall leaves appear along Dunderberg Road in Mono County. Whether you take a road trip to the Sierra or leaf-peep in your neighborhood, California’s fall colors are showing.

MONTCLARION: October 12, 2018

It’s mid-October, and all these swirling leaves have put me in a mood. It’s not a Sinatra mood, where I liken my life to a vintage wine, (although I am a fan of late harvest zins) but more of a Guess Who mood, as in “seasons change, and so do I.” Continue reading

Town Crier: Not one but two ladies mark 95 years at Oakland’s Fentons

courtesy of Carmelita Mills
Oakland resident Lola Fitzgerald celebrates her 95th birthday at Fentons Creamery with her daughter, Carmelita Mills, left, and granddaughter, Melia Mills Claybrooks.

MONTCLARION: August 10, 2018

What will you do when you reach the ripe age of 95? Not one but two golden-oldie birthdays were celebrated recently at Fentons Creamery. Reader Trish Brennan says the birthday gals didn’t know each other until their parties were seated nearby. Continue reading

Town Crier: Kids Speaking Spanish school to open in August

Ginny Prior/for Bay Area News Group
J.B. Barton plays on a stage run by pedal power June 16 at this year’s Montclair Beer, Wine & Music Festival.

It’s been two years since folks first raised objections to the sale of the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club to a Spanish-immersion school. Now with the sale complete and renovations underway, neighbors will see, firsthand, if the school is a good fit for the already busy corner of Mountain and Thornhill. 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

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

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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

Town Crier: Precautions still ignored 26 years after hills firestorm

Aerial view show the scope of devastation in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa, California, Wednesday, October 11, 2017. (Karl Mondon/ Bay Area News Group)

MONTCLARION: October 21,2017

The horrific Napa and Sonoma fires remind us of our own Oakland hills firestorm 26 years ago this month. And sadly, it seems little has changed when it comes to lessons learned from our own disaster. Parked cars still hug the shoulders of narrow, winding roads, compromising the 14 feet needed for emergency vehicle access. Continue reading