Town Crier: Hundreds of trees in search of takers in Oakland

MONTCLARION: February 16, 2017

If someone offered to plant a tree in your yard at no cost, would you take it? Most of us would say yes. After all, trees enhance property. They absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade and a home for birds, squirrels and other wildlife. Continue reading

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Happy Wanderer: Winter in Napa Valley full of things to do

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St. Helena’s Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer was named No. 47 on the Condé Nast Traveler list of the world’s top 50 hotels in 2016. (Courtesy of Paige Green)

EASTBAYTIMES: January 17, 2017

Winter in the Napa Valley: Locals call this Cabernet season — when new vintages age gracefully in their barrels and vines await the first buds of spring. There’s nothing to see here — or is there? My husband and I booked a night in St. Helena recently to find out. Continue reading

Town Crier: Sierra Club volunteers busy greening Montclair

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Sierra Club volunteers Jeremy Besmer and Robin Kutner plant a tree on Montclair’s Merced Avenue. (Ginny Prior/For Bay Area News Group)

Robin Kutner and Jeremy Besmer have been busy greening Montclair, one block at a time. I ran into the Sierra Club volunteers on Merced Avenue alongside Safeway recently. They were busting up some rock-hard soil to put in a tree that will “spruce up” the streetscape. It seemed like hard work, but Kutner said they were driven to do something meaningful. Continue reading

Town Crier: A Montclair Christmas story moral — trust, but verify

MONTCLAIR HOLIDAY STROLLMONTCLARION: Jan 3, 2017

Montclair can seem like a small town wrapped in a big city. Here’s a little story to illustrate: It was just before Christmas, when shoppers were scurrying to get through their checklists. Reader Conrad Bassett was scurrying too. He’d just been to his bank and was checking a transaction online — when what to his wondering eyes should appear but nine unauthorized charges. Continue reading

Town Crier: Duchess is welcome addition to Rockridge restaurant

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Chef Candice Caris and co-owner Caroline Conner pose with the regal, handmade front door of Duchess restaurant in Rockridge, which recently opened for business. (Courtesy of Duchess Oakland)

EASTBAYTIMES.COM: December 29, 2016

In the dimly lit days of winter, we look to make human connections. Rockridge strikes me as a good place to do this. College Avenue has a harmonic energy. Shop owners feed off the pulse of folks eager to support homegrown business. Continue reading