Archive for March, 2011

Oakland Marathon

Posted in EVENTS with tags , , on March 29, 2011 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert

Last weekend’s second annual Oakland Running Festival was a winner no matter when or even if you crossed the finish line. Running or cheering, people were fired up and ready to go.  The sold-out event had 7300 runners registered for one of the following: marathon, half marathon, 5-kilometer race or kids’ fun run.

Liz Atkinson ran a half marathon & Rob Nachtwey ran the full marathon

The course was as much a running tour of Oakland as it was a race.  Memorable sights and sounds included: Children’s Fairyland on Lake Merritt, taiko drummers , neighborhoods with $1M homes and Oakland Raiders fans in gameday gear. There was even a Burning Man-esque arch created by a West Oakland fine arts studio, and a firemen’s relay team.

My husband Fred & I watched the early runners as they rounded the intersection of College and Claremont, then doubled back towards Downtown Oakland. We were somehwhat shocked but not surprised to see our son Rob Nachtwey.  He was not too far behind the leaders.  He actually finished 20th in two hours and 59 minutes.  When not in training, Rob books events for the amazing Craneway Pavilion  and writes a blog

Fred Nachtwey cheers the runners in Rockridge

Another participant dear to our heart was Liz Atkinson, Rob’s sister-in-law.  She participated in the half-marathon, with her sister Anne and parents Dave & Kathy on bikes, cheering from the sidelines.  A UC Berkeley graduate, Liz works for Pixar.

Liz and her sister belong to the Red Sonkers bookclub, which helped host last month’s Berkeley Public Library Foundation  Authors’ Dinner.

The running event seemed to be a positive experience for all concerned.  It generated pride and community support among young and old, from all walks of life.  Next year, race officials hope to draw more corporate sponsors.  Keep in mind, it’s never to soon to soon to begin training.  Stop the talking, start the walking.

Runners take the corner in stride in Rockridge

Today they take the turn, tomorrow they’ll take BART.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Posted in NEIGHBORHOOD on March 24, 2011 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert


It was meet and greet time at the annual meeting of the North Hills Community Assn, formerly known at the North Hills Phoenix Assn. 

The organization rose from the ashes of the 1991 Firestorm.  Now it has evolved into a bigger and more diverse community organization that covers a bigger swath of issues and concerns.  These include: safety, emergency preparedness, vegetation management, crime prevention, parking, development and local political issues.

To learn more feel free to visit

Gordon Wozniak, Berkeley City Councilman from District 8, addressed the audience. Also speaking were City Council women Jane Brunner of District 1 & Libby Schaaf of District 4.

Feel free to visit 


To join the neighborhood on-line list serve where neighbors keep other neighbors informed and connected, visit

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan gave a presentation and answered questions.

 Feel free to visit


The NHCA Public Safety Committee meets the fourth Thursday of the month at Firehouse #7, at 1006 Amito on the corner of Gravatt. 

This committee is part of the North Hills Community Association (NHCA), and focuses on issues related directly to public safety, including: police, fire, traffic, emergency response, and associated topics. 

Neighborhood Watch Captains and residents are encouraged to attend these meetings, and raise public safety-related issues with the committee.

Meeting agendas are published a few days in advance of the meeting, and can be found at

Claudia Albano, head of Neighborhood Services, promoted Neighborhood Watch.

Mardi Gras in the Claremont Hills

Posted in NEIGHBORHOOD on March 8, 2011 by Julie Nachtwey, the Claremont Hills Real Estate Expert


Paul Millner and Harry Myler hosted their 16th Mardi Gras party last weekend for some 40 neighbors in The Claremont Hills.  Their annual event started in 1996, when they hosted a Mardi Gras celebration for a friend visiting from the Gulf Coast.  Since the decorations were in place a few days later, they got an idea…

After the 1991 Firestorm, Paul and Harry had spent a lot of time with neighbors who had also lost their homes.  They supported each other fighting the insurance companies, City of Oakland planners, EBMUD and more.

“But once we were back in our home,” said Millner, we didn’t see those neighbors as much, which was a shame.  Since our house was already decorated, we threw a SECOND Mardi Gras party for the neighborhood… and we’ve been doing it every year since.” This year, the oldest guest was 86 and the youngest just one year old.


That is the King Cake, in the Mardi Gras tradition of New Orleans. Whoever finds the hidden bean in their piece of cake gets to wear the King crown and be King (or Queen) for the day.  The King Cake is brioche dough filled with almond paste and topped with bright colored sugar.  I bought the King Cake from the Bread Garden Bakery at 2912 Domingo Avenue (510) 548.3122 at the foot of The Claremont Hotel. 

“And since Anya got the ‘baby Jesus’ (aka lima bean) in her slice of King Cake, she gets to bring the King Cake to next year’s party,” said Myler.  When this story was posted, he was still in the process of taking down the multitude of elaborate decorations, feathered masks and shiny necklaces – saving them — and always adding even more for next year!