Why Not Overstock.com Coliseum?

Yesterday, Overstock.com announced that they will spend over $7 million for naming rights!  The Coliseum will be officially called the “Overstock.com Coliseum,” at least for the next six years.

This hits home for yours truly, the original Today in Montclair blogger.  First, I’m an Oakland loyalist who is currently living in Utah.  Second, I ran marketing for Overstock.com nearly a decade ago.  While Utah-based Overstock has become a well-known national brand since then, getting more Bay Area exposure could be a smart move.

According to Overstock Chairman and CEO, Patrick Byrne:

Overstock is thrilled to become a part of the City of Oakland and Alameda County.  The Overstock brand is a perfect fit with the excitement and culture of the area.  We look forward to becoming part of the community and doing our part to give back.  Residents of the area can look forward to many great events taking place in the Overstock.com Coliseum.

More importantly, CEO Byrne follows his beliefs.  While I was working at Overstock, he launched Worldstock to help distribute goods created from third-world workers.  The department still exists today, and has given back directly to NGOs and workers around the world.

Start thinking about how Overstock might help Oakland…an interesting opportunity.

CORE Earthquake Exercise Sound Real

The City of Oakland is holding a “Citywide Emergency Response Functional Exercise Plan” this Saturday morning and, with its large earthquake scenario, seems like the most realistic practice possible!

What’s most striking are the communication channel tests, which are no longer all about ham-radios.  In a true sign of the times, you are instructed to receive text messages and visit Facebook for updates.  You’re also supposed to ask non-Bay Area people to receive texts, which makes good sense.

For the 2011 exercise, the City of Oakland wants to test individual and group contacts.

The exercise objectives for ALL participating individuals are to:
1.  Communicate with an Out-of-Area Contact.
2.  Receive an official text notification from the City of Oakland/CORE.

The exercise objectives for participating neighborhood groups are to:
3.  Demonstrate effective communication within the neighborhood.
4.  Demonstrate effective communication with another neighborhood group.
5.  Demonstrate effective communication to the City Emergency Operations Center.
6.  Practice an orderly evacuation of the neighborhood.

Interested?  Take a quick look at the PDF guide here, if you would like to learn more and/or participate this coming Saturday.

Digging On Caldecott Fourth Bore

Caltrans and their contracted workers are making steady progress on the Caldecott fourth bore, and daily progress doesn’t exactly make headlines anymore.  However digging has begun from the Oakland side, so we’re curious about the progress and schedule ahead.

The North Hills Community Association (NHCA) recently announced a special Town Hall Meeting about Caldecott Tunnel this Thursday evening — starting 8:00 pm, at Claremont Hotel’s Lanai II Room.  Construction status and safety issues will be presented by Ivy Morrison, who serves as Caltrans Caldecott Tunnel Project Public Information Officer.

All Montclarions are most welcomed to this Town Hall, whether you live in the northern reaches (north of Thornhill) served by NHCA or not.  After all, everyone’s impacted by the Fourth Bore activities over the next couple years.

But wait, there’s more.  If you are interested in local dog laws, then you’re also invited to attend the regular NHCA meeting beginning at 6:30 pm.  Public Safety Officer Trent Thompson will address “issues surrounding dangerous dogs, including new law proposals to the  City of Oakland, new enforcement policies and procedures within Animal  Control.”

Grazing Through Montclair: Restaurant Walk 2011

Don’t miss the Montclair Restaurant Walk!  You have the opportunity to graze through 17 restaurants, contributing to your faire village as well as the Lions Club’s charities.

There’s an official video introducing the Restaurant Walk, which takes place later this month:  Tuesday, April 26th, from 6:00 – 8:30pm.

Ready to salivate?  Here are the Montclair Village places serving morsels:

  • Colonial Donuts — Tasty Treat
  • Crogans — Clam Chowder
  • El Agavero Mexican Cuisine & Bar — Mexican Cuisine & Drink
  • Farmstead Cheese & Wine — Wine and Cheese Tasting
  • Flavors of India — Indian Cuisine
  • Grille One Carvery — Greek & American Cuisine
  • Italian Colors Ristorante — Seasonal Treat
  • Kakui Sushi — Finger Food: Assorted Sushi
  • Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant — New Menu Item
  • Metro Montclair — Spicy Tuna Poke
  • Montclair Baking — Sweet Treat
  • Montclair Bistro — Award Winning Pork Loin
  • Montclair Malt Shop — Soup of the Day
  • Pagarung Thai — Basil Veg Tofu with Rice, Mango with Sticky Rice
  • Taqueria Las Comadres 2 — Soft Taco, Small Aqua Fresca
  • Toshi Sushi — Toshi Sushi Surprise
  • Yogofina — Taste of Yogafina
  • U.S. Bank/Lions Club — Treats from Safeway and Lucky Stores

Ticket books cost $25/person and must be purchased in advance.  We suggest you stop by Montclair Book Tree, Safeway, U.S. Bank, Viewpoint, or Wheels of Justice soon.  Realtor Laurel Strand is also selling tickets (laurelstrand@comcast.net).  Or buy your books through the Montclair Veterinary Hospital (Tracy Neal, c/o montclairlionscubs@gmail.com), which will donate half the proceeds to the Pet & Wildlife Fund.

Update:  Procrastinators may still may attend the Restaurant Walk, after all.  The Lions Club will sell (remaining) ticket books on Tuesday evening, right at U.S. Bank.

Earth Day 2011: Pick Your Spot

Next Saturday, Oakland is celebrating Earth Day 2011.  It’s easy to get involved in clearing our creek watersheds and parks all year long, but this day puts Gaia Earth on a pedestal.  Join your Montclair neighbors, working to clean-up one of eleven nearby spots — from 9:00 am through noon.

Here are the registered Montclair locations, along with maps, work plans and key contacts.  Remember to bring your own tools, gloves, hat and sunscreen!

  • Friends of Sausal Creek/Nursery Event – 3594 Sanborn Road (map) – native plant propagation – Megan Hess (325-9006)
  • Butters Canyon Conservatory – 3514 Butters Drive (map) – cut & clean, creek & park – Delores Apton (dapton@gmail.com)
  • Beaconsfield Canyon Restoration – 2639 Beaconsfield Place (map) – cut & clean at creek – Richard Kauffman (richard@rkcommunications.com)
  • Lower Merriewood Stairs Volunteer Group – 5612 Merriewood Drive (map) – cut & clean, planting, graffiti removal stairs – Jim Dexter (jimdexter@aol.com)
  • Montclair Safety Improvement Council – Montclair Park at Mountain Blvd, near tennis courts (map) – cut & clean park – Jim Clardy, Jill Broadhurst (jmclardy@sbcglobal.net)
  • Abbott Drive Neighbors – 51 Abbott Drive (map) – cut & clean, staircase, neighborhood – Jim Gavin (547-2301)
  • Piedmont Pines/Marjorie Saunders Park – Ascot & Chelton Drives (map) – clean up & graffiti removal – Elaine Geffen (elaineofpew@sbcglobal.net)
  • Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association – 5879 Escher Drive, at yellow fire gate (map) – cut & clean, creek & park – Adrienne Bryant (bryantah@lmi.net)
  • Friends of Montclair Railroad Trail – Snake Road Bridge at Trail (site) – cut & clean trail – Lin Barron (montclairrrtrail.org)
  • LaMasNa Neighborhood Association – Larry Lane & Mastlands Drive (map) – cut & clean neighborhood – Steve Everhart (severhart11@gmail.com)
  • Montera Association & Joaquin Miller School – 5525 Ascot Drive (map) – cut & clean, planting, school – Linda Ortiz (gabygol@sbcglobal.net)

Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, RIP

The Oak Knoll Naval Hospital’s carcass will be demolished this Friday, sometime between 10:00 am and noon.  There’s been an awful, silent and ignored hulk shadowing the Oakland Hills for 15 years.  Good riddance, we say.

According to the Oak Knoll Coalition, a group of neighbors, the main hospital will be exploded this week.  They reported that developer SunCal will raze all the remaining masonry buildings by year-end.  However Club Knoll, a relic of the country club which preceded the hospital, will be saved for later refurbishment.

Over the past few years, there have been several visitors to this supposedly off-limit place.  Check out the fascinating coverage (part 1, part 2), images and videos which document the derelict hospital compound — and also honor what once took place on the hill.

The hospital base was opened from 1942-1996, which means the East Bay’s filled with former workers, their families, patients and even those born there.  Please visit the Facebook petition underway to create a fitting memorial on the hillside.  It’s a nice idea, we think.

So what’s next?  After the demolitions, we wait for new homes and a little open space.  Presumably housing developers will get capitalized again, whether it’s SunCal or someone else — though nothing is truly known or scheduled at this point.

Update:   Courtesy of The Bay Citizen, here’s a video showing the hospital implosion.

for Oak Knoll Naval Hospital Memorial

Proof of Alphorns

As you may know, alphorn players are unofficially part of Oakland’s Running Festival experience.  After running some ten miles uphill, the marathoners are welcomed to their Montclair high-point by several Riccola-like players.  We didn’t see photographic proof until now, a week later.

One runner, whose blogger alias is XLMIC, stopped in her tracks and captured the experience:

Then I heard these guys!  How could I not stop and take a picture?  This was in the middle of a moderate hill that felt like freaking the Alps.  [I] appreciate that I stopped and took a pic for the blog ‘cuz starting again was so hard.

Given our Germanic heritage in Oakland, we’re not too surprised by this Montclair quorum of players.  Since hearing about the alphorn greeting during the inaugural 2010 marathon, we hoped for and were pleased by this encore performance.

P.S.  In an enlarged image, you can see the Wooden Window support truck behind the players.  We first noticed these restorer-contractors at last year’s Greening Oakland Homes fair — and they clearly respect local tradition.