18
Jun
12

Stomper, First Cat Mayor Of Montclair Wins

It’s a new era.  Stomper has been elected as the very first cat mayor of Montclair Village.  The election results were tallied yesterday and verified today.  The transition of power has been made, from dog to cat.  Here is a photo of Stomper, along with the entire pet cabinet.

In addition to electing our newest governing body, Montclarions also contributed $4,925 to the Montclair Veterinary Pet & Wildlife Fund.  Contributions are always welcome:  please click on the fund’s website.

15
Jun
12

Montclair Mayor: Voting Open Through Sunday

Montclair Village has been represented by a furry mayor for several years now.  Montclarions have been ably led by Murphy, who hails from Crogan’s, for the past two years.  He has served us well.

While we usually hold elections annually, our polling officials were busy launching a fair election down on Piedmont Avenue last year.  All is hereby forgiven, and we welcome the opportunity to find eager and fresh leadership here.  The virtual voting booth is open through Sunday at 1:00 pm — vote here.

The top vote-getter is the candidate who receives the highest, ahem, financial donations.  The top pet becomes our mayor.  He or she will be responsible for representing Montclair.  Our mayor mostly makes appearances in the Village, typically at the Farmers Market as well as the Halloween Parade.

There are nine candidates who made it through the primary election and are seeking your votes now.  The candidate with the highest votes, aka dollar donations to the Montclair Veterinary Pet & Wildlife Fund, wins the mayoral contest.  Runners-up are also assigned other responsibilities in the local government.

So who’s running?  The finalists include these furry or feathered candidates:

  • Five Dogs Marley (Golden Doodle), Snow (American Eskimo), Chewbacca (Pomeranian), Murphy (Mixed Breed), Tigerlily (Lab/Terrier Mix)
  • Three Cats – Freida (Siamese), Stomper (Grey/White Mix), Lil’ Dude (Black Domestic American Shorthaired)
  • One Bird – Butter (Sun Conure)

Vote now.  Simply click to read about each candidate and make your donations.  Again, all proceeds go to the Pet & Wildlife Fund.  It’s a good cause, helping to mend and heal wild critters in need.

28
Apr
12

One Burglary, One Witness and Many Cops

Yesterday in Montclair, some local burglars took computers and jewelry.  Ho-hum, nothing new.  Yet these criminals also tried to shoot a key witness during their getaway, and fortunately failed.  Oakland police were on the scene quickly as well.

One Montclarion spoke to neighbors and police yesterday, and shared a more complete picture this morning.  We thought it was worth passing along her Montclair Safety report, right here.

From my neighbor who came upon the police:

Three African American males, driving a Black Chevy Blazer, did a quick burglary of the house taking jewelry, iPOD, iPAD.  They were reported to OPD by a contractor who saw them running out of the house.  The contractor threw a rock at the Chevy Blazer so it now has a broken windshield. The burglars tried to shoot the contractor from their car, luckily they missed. Three OPD cars showed up at the house very soon after they were called.

From a policeman:

I spoke with one of the OPD officers as I happened to drive by there around 11 am.  He was wonderful and very informative and helpful.  Apparently this Blazer has been casing this area and they break into houses between 8am-5am. [sic]

From the neighbors who were robbed:

They were not there at the time.  One occupant left the house before 10 and the contractors saw the burglary in progress shortly after and threw the rock.  Then they were shot at. OPD identified the shot was fired at 10:17 and hit the contractors vehicle.  (I wonder if the bullet was found?)

This was not at at Thornhill near Moraga as mentioned in the article (this was 2 doors from me).  Folks suspect the Chevy Blazer was nearby and saw the occupant leave.  I heard this car was linked to other robberies (and it has a cracked windshield now!).  Not sure if there is a plate or not.

23
Apr
12

Eat Your Way Through The Village

Join the “Roman Feast” tomorrow night, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm in our faire village.  The Lions Club and Montclair Village Association are co-hosting their fourth annual Montclair Village Restaurant Walk, an altruistic opportunity to eat non-stop.  As a local fundraiser, you can consume with abandon right here.

Besides food tastings at 19 different locations (see ‘em below), there will be entertainment from our kids.  Montara’s band will perform outside the Safeway, while a Skyline High string trio will serenade everyone at Italian Colors.  This Tuesday fundraiser will benefit charities including Oakland Fund for the Arts, Boy Scouts, music programs at Montera and Skyline, and many more.

Here are all 19 of the grazing spots, so you can plan your journey carefully:

Amba – Colonial Donuts – Crogan’s – El Agavero – Farmstead Cheese & Wine – Flipper’s Gourmet Burgers – Flavors India Bistro – Grille One Carvery – Italian Colors – Kakui Sushi – Montclair Baking – Montclair Bistro – Montclair Malt Shop – Noah’s New York Bagels – Oni Sushi – Pagarung Thai – Taqueria Las Comrades 2 – Yogafina – U.S. Bank

Tickets are selling out, but we hear you can stop by the U.S. Bank and buy a $25 passport.  Then you’ll be armed with coupons which can be redeemed at each participating restaurant.  And consider parking as an offset, since the La Salle garage will be open and free from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

Enjoy the stroll, the tastings, the music and your neighbors.  Be there.

01
Apr
12

Skateboarding Dreams In Claremont Canyon

We have never witnessed skateboarders careening down Claremont Canyon, but some pretty amazing athletes have gone to the trouble of video-taping their dream runs.   It’s downright exhilarating in “Claremont,” especially when these guys start their journey around 2:30 minutes into the video.

Wow, how fast are these skateboarders moving?  Maybe up to 60 miles per hour?  We think they’re under control, while traveling faster than any cars, because they maneuver the curves quite well and they do know how to slow down.

Perhaps inspired by this epic video, other guys have recorded their journeys.  We discovered one skateboarder who filmed his entire run holding the camera boom himself, as well as two boarders who handed off their boom and filming en route.  In both videos, they started a bit lower in Claremont to avoid the more difficult and crazy curves.

It makes us wonder about the (unfilmed) skateboarders pursuing their dreams, and whether they have safely ridden down the canyon too.  Claremont neighbors often complain about drivers speeding down the canyon and nearly missing them!  When it comes to the boarders, so far..so good.

06
Mar
12

Creating A Non-Ignition Zone

Montclarions know that spring is awesome, with blooming flowers and greenery.  Most of us live on forested hills, where foliage grows prodigiously this time of year.  We’re all responsible for constantly trimming back and remaining code-compliant within the Wildfire Prevention District.  It’s a small price to pay, to protect our domiciles from the next Diablo Winds firestorm.

To learn more about “non-ignition zone” best practices, Montclarions and other Oakland Hills dwellers are invited to a special, free and educational Fire Prevention Meeting.  Mark your calendars for this Thursday evening, from 7-9 pm.

The North Hills Community Association (NCHA) has organized this event, featuring local experts and officials, at the Highlands Country Club (map).  No RSVP is needed, and we’re asked to park on the road outside the club.

Bob Sieben, who chairs the NCHA Fire Prevention Committee, has shared this agenda:

  • It’s about…six feet.  The main goal is to keep the six feet around your home free and clear of overgrowth.  Carol Rice will discuss which plants are appropriate and which are not in this key area. She is a natural resource manager and fire ecologist in private practice developing fire management plans with Wildland Resource Management, Inc.  Clients include homeowners associations, private developers and the City of Oakland. She is the past president of the California-Nevada-Hawaii Fire Council.
  • It’s about landscaping decisions.  Cheryl Miller will discuss landscaping issues in the non-ignition zone.  She is a registered Landscape Architect in private practice in Oakland who has worked with a wide range of construction and planning projects in the wildland urban interface in the East Bay hills. She is executive director of the Diablo Fire Safe Council and has served on the Board of the California Fire Safe Council.
  • It’s about what fire marshals do.  Leroy Griffen will discuss what inspectors look for in this critical area.  He is the Assistant Fire Marshal for the Oakland Fire Department.  (You do want to avoid those fines, right?)
  • It’s about neighbor reps, too.  Barbara Goldenberg attended the national wildland/urban interface fire education conference and has chaired the Advisory Committee to the Oakland Wildfire Prevention Committee.

Have you become blasé about learning new ways to protect your castles and cottages?  It’s time to double check your seasonal efforts, take a look at what grows around your home, and create a larger non-ignition zone.  History tells us that we’re ready for a major fire soon, since Diablo wind-fueled fires strike every two decades…like clockwork.

05
Mar
12

Pinhole Camera Captures Oakland Hills Sun

Sometimes toys can show you a different perspective of the world, one that’s even better than what grown-up tech gadgets can reveal.  Our case in point is solargraphy, which records the path of the sun.  And it’s wonderful to view the sun’s trajectory through a homemade pin-hole camera.

The solargraph captures movement through a single arc or multiple arcs of light, from sunrise to sunset.  We uncovered and wanted to share some interesting, experimental results aimed at our Oakland Hills sky.

Photographer Heather Champ has been an image booster by trade, running Flickr’s community efforts during its heyday.  Lately she’s continuing her image-sharing mission through Pinwheel, a start-up by former Flickr folks.

Anyway, Champ took her experimentation tasks to heart, working with both Quaker Oats and 16mm film canisters.  She had to figure out how to operate these pin-hole cameras and patiently await results.

Victory!  The images do show the sun’s path for a single day and for six months below.  The first one shows the sun on Sept 22, 2010, using the Quaker Oats canister.  For this single day, we think the spectrum of brown, green, white and blue is very beautiful.

The six-month image, below, is a tour de force.  The film canister-sized camera records the sun as it moved seasonally, from September 22, 2010 though March 20, 2011.  With so many days captured, the arcs merged to look like clouds or jet streams — and seem otherworldly.

If you want to try documenting the sun yourself, then follow these “recipes” for the Quaker Oats or 16mm film canister cameras.  Also here’s a link for setting up a six-month exposure, to capture an entire season or two.  It’s best to follow Champ’s lead (read post), by using multiple cameras to check results early and prevent failure.




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Welcome to Montclair, Oakland

We live in the city yet are invaded by nature - or perhaps it's the other way around. Stop by often, and find out what's interesting to 94611 denizens.


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