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Out And About In – The Numbers

Herb Caen Way

You’ve got to leave the press room and get out to get a feel for your beat, our old mentor Malcolm “Scoop” Glover used to say. He was right. A lot of different people make a community work, and you’ve got to talk with all of them – bouncers, bartenders, nurserymen, cops pulling graveyard shifts and gravediggers sending off the area’s hoi polloi.

Another old colleague used to deliver this type of community news and information in a patented “three dot” style. You may remember Herb Caen. We sure do. We’re going to borrow from his playbook and, with deep bows and flourishes, attempt to emulate his machine

Herb Caen Way

gun-style approach at delivering all the bits and pieces and ephemera that didn’t quite make it onto the front page – but was no less interesting than what you’d find there.


So hang on as we take a ride around The Numbers. You never know who we’re going to end up speaking with and you never know what they’re going to say. That’s what’s going to keep this fun.

Just Grillin’

News24/680 was out and about in Walnut Creek Saturday when we spotted Jim Goonan and his whole family of grillers from Pleasant Hill’s Steel Smokin’ grilling up the tri-tips and links for an appreciative crowd at the Walnut Creek Art On the Main. Now, we’re trying to cut back on the char-broiled meats but these guys make it hard, wheeling in a custom-made grill the size of an Apache helicopter to accommodate groups of up to 600 – according to Jim – and lathering their beef and chicken in a patented homemade sauce. The smoke plume from the grill had barbecue fanciers swimming upstream like sharks following a blood scent and a line outside their tent on Saturday. Jim said he tried the corporate thang before doing what he does best and he likes having the family working with him and we could see why.


The Senior Ball Car Crash That Wasn’t – Almost

We see our share of minor mysteries in this line of work and last week brought us another one. We started getting phone calls from parents around the valley Tuesday, asking if we knew anything about a carload of Acalanes High School kids being involved in a car crash on Sunday morning after their Senior Ball – with one girl apparently breaking her back in the accident. We confessed we hadn’t heard and when we started asking people who should have heard the silence – as they say – was deafening. Our “NewsDar” (short for News Radar) went up immediately and we started digging.

Turns out the driver was returning his four passengers to their homes at around 8:30 a.m. the morning after the ball when he apparently fell asleep, left the road and struck a tree, injuring a couple of his passengers – one seriously. A local girl underwent several surgeries at John Muir Hospital and, for a time, was thought to be paralyzed but she appears to be on the mend with movement restored to her lower extremities.

We’re glad no one was killed but we’re left to wonder why no one chose to talk about this incident in light of the all the attention given to other, similar cases and the lessons to be learned from them. A minor mystery, as we say.

Patchers For Life

News24/680 readers also pounced on a recent announcement that Patch was laying off more people and further changing its model. Many media types and apparently some non-media folk poked fun at the corporate-speak in Patch founder Tim Armstrong’s announcement, in which he spoke glowingly of Patch and it’s future at some length before announcing, belatedly, that oh, yes, 40 more “Patchers” would be losing their jobs.


“Now that’s what I call burying the lede,” one reader penned, using the journalist’s term for putting the most important news of a story dead last.

“Hellooo, Little Miss StingRay…”

Our Chris Rodriguez was out and about pressing the flesh and signing business deals this week when he spotted a cherry, eat-off-the-manifold ’64 Corvette Stingray and, being a child of The Sixties, took a minute to track down the owner and talk cars. One thing led to an ad and Alamo’s Auto Exchange joined the lineup as our latest advertiser – and welcome to them.


They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they take care of their car. They don’t come any cleaner than this one.

Ready For Your Closeup, Mr. Mayor?

We thought everyone had spotted Moraga’s own Dave Trotter before the cameras last week after a local news crew corralled him for comment on the California Supreme Court’s ruling in support of towns like Moraga committed to keeping marijuana dispensaries at bay. The Mayor studied the high court’s ruling before going on camera and, we think, came across very well.

“You’re the only one who has mentioned it,” Trotter said when we stopped him for a brief chat at the Moraga Community Faire at the Rheem Center. We guess television’s reach isn’t what it used to be. Still, the town was represented well.

“Numbers Note:”If you have something you think would be of interest to us here at “Out And About In – The Numbers,” drop us a line here and we’ll see if we can use it.

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