Another Death On Grizzly Peak Boulevard

On Saturday, just before noon, a 53-year-old bicyclist lost his life on Grizzly Peak Boulevard.  The unidentified accident victim was riding with a group, fell as he pedaled downhill, ditched his bike and then got hit by an oncoming car.  Apparently an uphill driver had rounded a blind turn, with little time to react.

Here’s the grim news, first reported by the Oakland Tribune:

The collision happened at 11:30 a.m. on Grizzly Peak Boulevard about a mile west of Claremont Avenue, Oakland police acting Lt. Robert Chan said. The bicyclist, who has not been identified pending notification of his family, was pronounced dead at the scene at about 11:48 a.m., Chan said.

We could argue about whether the driver was cruising too quickly to take action.  Particularly on nice days, like Saturday, Grizzly seems like the filming location for car commercials that warn “professional drivers” only.  The boulevard invites speeders beyond the 25 mph posting, so this driver could have been above the limit.  However this accident happened right after a blind spot, which makes the speed issue a bit moot.

More importantly, there’s a history of near-misses, bad accidents and deaths on Grizzly.  Remember last year, when a women drove off the ridge and died, due to fog and slippery conditions?  There could be more barriers to prevent drivers from falling down the ravines and hills.  Maybe there could be more signage, too.  It’s hard to know exactly how to fix the winding road.

Grizzly Peak Boulevard is a marvel, with amazing views and a feeling like you almost live in the mountains.  Anyone using the curvy or exposed portions of this ridge line road surely knows they are accepting higher risks and responsibilities up there.

Fifteen Minutes For Our Eco-Volunteers

Restoring and preserving natural habitats is a long-term, altruistic pursuit for many Montclarions.  There are many locals who show up, ready to dig, pull, clear, re-plant and otherwise care for our nearby canyon and creek ecosystems.  Depending on where you live, you may be well-acquainted with Beaconsfield Canyon, Butters Canyon, Shepherd Canyon, or other nooks and crannies.

Now one of our success stories, Shepherd Canyon, will get the Hollywood treatment.  The National Science Foundation has funded videographers who will visit the site tomorrow morning, along the Oakland Museum and The Friends of Sausal Creek.  They intend to document all the ecological progress made through the years.

To greet them, the Shepherd Canyon Eco-Pullers and Planters will celebrate “Creek-to-Bay Day” a week ahead of other Oaklanders.  Mike Petouhoff, president of the Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association (SCHA),  has invited anyone and everyone who’s ever worked in Shepherd Canyon to join them.  “This is a great opportunity for an SCHA eco-puller’s alumni reunion,”  he explained.

If you show up tomorrow, then you should be prepared to work from 9am – noon.  Meet up at Escher Gate, ready to pull or plant under the expert guidance of Adrienne and Herb Bryant.  You might get your fifteen minutes of fame, whenever that happens.

Interfaith Group Honors 9/11 Here

We are headed into the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Yes, there’s something you can do to mark the anniversary.  Something more than sitting and soaking up all the TV documentaries.

On Sunday, from 10am to noon, you’re invited to an interfaith service with neighbors.  The Montclair Presbyterian Church (map) will play host to the Kehilla Community Synagogue and Islamic Cultural Center, in a celebration of local spirit.  Even if you’re not religious, why not join them?

These Christian, Jewish and Muslim houses of worship have a lot in common.  After all, congregants reside in Oakland and want to live in peace and harmony (let there be peace on earth, but we digress).  Take a look at these invitation excerpts:

So much violence, hatred, and estrangement is carried out in the name of religion.  Often overlooked, however, are the reconciling efforts made at local levels between people of various faiths who truly have a lot in common.  On 9/11 we will mourn all that has gone wrong, but will also celebrate all that contributes to peace and understanding among us.  Rabbi David Cooper and Imam Rahim Nobahar will join with Pastor Beth Buckingham-Brown in leadership.

The September 11 attacks of ten years ago were a work of hatred designed to drive people apart from each other and foment intolerance and discord.  Too much of the response to the violence of 9/11 has furthered intolerance and hatred.  

Both spiritually and pragmatically, ending the cycle of violence and hatred must begin with ourselves and what better way to do so than to pray as Muslims, Jews, and Christians together.

We pray that we should understand that prayer is not enough and that we will need to work and struggle together and also, play and celebrate together if we are to be effective in making peace a more likely reality and also if we are to be the change that we seek.

On Sunday, this Montclair service seems like a simple way to commemorate the Al-Qaeda attacks — and how we should work, struggle, play and celebrate together.  It’s an opportunity to reach out.

Neighbors Share Their Service Providers

In the olden days, you might have turned to neighbors to ask about the most humane bee remover or least intrusive roof repairer.  Nowadays you likely start by searching online, at places like Angie’s List, Service Magic, or even the Berkeley Parents Network.

But there’s nothing like asking a trusted someone.  The North Hills Community Association (NCHA) has an open forum, where locals share all kinds of topics, ask for advice and get responses quickly.  With so many recommendations, the group recently decided to issue their handy service providers list.

Check out the wide range of service providers:

Air Conditioning (Portable), Appliances, Arborist, Auto Repair, Awnings, Bees, Bookkeeping, Cable & Wiring, Carpet Cleaning, Caterer, Chair Caning, Chimney Sweep, Chiropractor, Contractor, Dentist, Dog Trainer or Walker, Drain Cleaning, Drainage, Dryer Duct Cleaning, Elderly Living, Electrician, Elevator Repair, Energy Audit, Exterminator, Fence Builder, Furnace, Garage Doors, Gardener, Gutters, Handyman, Hardwood Floors, House Cleaner, Insurance Broker, Internet, Landscaper, Leak Specialist, Mailboxes, Movers, OB/GYN, Painter, Paving, PC Repair, Pest Control, Pet Care, Plumber, Roofer, Sewing Machine Repair, Shingles, Skylight Repair, Solar Heating or Panels, Structural Pest Inspector, Tile, Transportation (Airport), Upholstery, Veterinarian, Welder, Window Cleaning, Window Replacement and Windshields.

While this service provider list isn’t comprehensive, it seems very useful.  These recommendations have been made by your neighbors, who also offer color commentary about their experiences.  We like the altrustic and ever-changing nature of this list, too.

If you have any requests, then please join the Open Forum here — and trust the answers.

Identity Crisis: Oakland Has No Daily News Presence

The Oakland Tribune will soon be transformed into The East Bay Tribune.  According to the Bay Area News Group (BANG), our city paper and several other Alameda County dailies will get integrated into one masthead.  The planned November change tries to please all, but may please few.

This newly-named paper doesn’t actually cover the whole East Bay.  More importantly, it wipes out Oakland’s unique presence in the daily news cycle.  In 2010, Oakland ranked as the 47th largest U.S. city with nearly 391,000 residents.  Shouldn’t there be some identification of our metropolis?

It’s all dollars and sense.

Sure, newspaper economics have changed for good.  As circulation and ad revenues continue to decrease, it’s not surprising that print editions are merged and staffs are reduced.  Marketing and branding decisions impact results too, and we don’t understand why leaving all that Oakland awareness and goodwill makes economic sense.  (BANG executives likely have their rationale.)

In the digital era, we do know that it’s important to coordinate off-line and online identity.  You attract traffic by focusing on your targeted readers, geography and beat expertise.  Since the Tribune gets re-directed to Inside Bay Area, Oakland has been downplayed for a while:

If you clicked, then you didn’t see any Tribune links.  And the “Oakland” results could improve if the brand lives, the domain (online address) changes, and archives are available to index.  Online audiences may not save the print business, but it’s possible to attract more traffic and related online revenues.

Like all news junkies, we are saddened by our reduced local coverage.  Plenty of people want to know what’s happening in Oakland versus the half-East Bay.  Our neighbor cities can still get covered as editions.  In our humble opinion, removing Oakland’s news identity doesn’t seem to pass marketing or financial muster.

Update:  On October 27th, the Bay Area News Group (BANG) announced their decision to keep publishing The Oakland Tribune.  Good move.