No More Bay Area Backroads

Bay Area Backroads is no more!  Host Doug McConnell posted news that his TV show has been dropped due to “tough economic times [which] required KRON to cease production.”  The last new episode airs this weekend, with reruns thereafter.

The decades-long program is a source of local inspiration.  McConnell acts as the chief cheerleader of open spaces and top spots within the Bay Area.

Currently there are Seven Bay Area Wonders featured online, and the Claremont Hotel makes the cut because of the classic architecture and nice hillside setting.  It’s keeping company with the Golden Gate Bridge.

Earlier this year, McConnell returned to Tilden Park and showed off the top spots.  It was a trip down memory lane for Doug, who also used old footage of his now-grown toddler visiting there.

Anyway, Doug isn’t planning to disappear soon and hopes that Backroads will be picked up by public TV station KQED.  He also plans to make videos available on Open Road TV – which would be just fine with us.

Update:  Open Road TV is now a weekly show on KQED-TV, and you can watch full episodes here.

Honeymoons Remembered At Dunsmuir

Dunsmuir Estate is a great spot in the Oakland Hills, which the public may visit and enjoy on special occasions.  On Friday, there’s a Movie Night celebrating the estate’s star-crossed honeymoon history and So I Married An Axe Murderer will be shown.

Dunsmuir was built by a groom who died on his honeymoon and never moved in.  After his death, his widowed bride lived there until her untimely death two years later, in 1901.

Hollywood discovered this photogenic estate years later, including honeymoon scenes filmed for So I Married An Axe Murderer (see video trailer).  Starring Mike Myers and Nancy Travis, this 1993 summer flick is about a guy who definitely picks the wrong person to marry!

This outdoor screening of Axe Murderer sounds like a nice way to wind up the week.  Dunsmuir’s gate opens at 6pm for picnics, while the movie begins at dusk.  Admission costs only $5/person.  The estate is located at 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, off Highway 580 (directions).

Montclarions Settle In

Everyone agrees that Montclair is a stable burg, but why?  Sometimes this is hard to answer, so here’s more statistical proof.

Our Village is comprised of 80% homeowners versus 43% for Oakland overall.  Also the median time living here is 4.7 years versus 3.3 years for Oakland.  Yes, Montclarions settle in for a while.

We own homes as empty nesters or non-parents.  There’s an average of two people per household and just a quarter of homes with kids.

We don’t make much of a dent in the Oakland stats, because Montclair represents about one percent of Oakland by population size.   So you have to dig around to unearth our unique patterns.

This week, real estate site Redfin made these and other community stats available.  While the stats help buyers compare places to live, they also provide a window into what makes our Village tick.

The Birds of Tilden and Wildcat

Who needs the Telegraph Hill parrots?  In the East Bay, we have many more birds gracing our backyards and parks.

This summer, the East Bay Parks District has organized a photography exhibit to check them out – before you spot them all in the wild.

The exhibit showcases the work of Jeff Robinson, who photographed all the birds listed in the 1988 wildlife census for Tilden and Wildcat Canyon Regional Parks.  He also snapped photos of other wildlife commonly found here.

Through August, these images are displayed at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area (map).  The Center’s hours are 10am-5pm daily (closed Mondays).  Photos are also for sale, to benefit the Regional Parks Foundation.

If you can’t make the exhibit itself, then take a look at this virtual gallery and run the slide show.  Robinson’s images are very special!

Counting Crimes In Montclair

When Montclarions hear about a single crime, they start thinking there’s a crime wave underway.  Will my car get stolen too?  Is that home for sale a prime target?

Our numbers seem fairly moderate and steady.  In the past three months, there were 82 crimes reported for the Montclair core and 352 crimes in the zip code.  People just want our stuff.

Within Montclair, some 17 autos were stolen or 21% of all reported crimes.  Burglaries represented 22% of crimes, while thefts added 35% to the total blotter.  The rest came from assaults, narcotics and vandalism.

Overall, the Montclair police beat contributed about 25% of all 94611 crimes.  Given the crime mix in both geographies, we live in a pretty safe place based on official reports.

For more information, visit the Oakland Police Department’s CrimeView site.  There you can select crimes by address, landmarks and more.  The results can be mapped by crime type as well.