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Out And About In “The Numbers” – Baseball, Buckboards, Bikers And Palm Trees

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Herb Caen Way

The daily ebb and flow of life in our 24-680 Corridor is filled with ironies, and vagaries, humor and sometimes even terror – all part of the ethos that comes with time spent in our fertile valleys.

With our current rainfall came news of a series of mishaps more suitable to life in 19th Century Contra Costa than this Google Glass-wearing, Tesla-driving century we now inhabit – a bathtub drowning, an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound, a little girl kicked by a horse. For a moment we were transported back to the days of yore, when an accident on ranch property meant a visit by a country doctor, or a long, long ride to a local hospital.

Buckboards and Choppers

That has changed. A little. Just ask Kevin Fitzinger, a popular and respected Moraga mechanic known for his ability to rehabilitate things with engines in them.

Herb Caen Way

Kevin was riding his motorcycle in the still rugged Indian Hills area of Canyon last Sunday night when for reasons still unknown his bike went down, taking Kevin with it. In the old days, say after a horseback rider was dismounted and injured, it may have been all she wrote for Kevin. But as it was the neighbors came through in an old fashioned way, realizing he was injured and guiding Moraga-Orinda Fire District firefighters to the scene by flashlight as Kevin lay there, in agony.

Due to the remote nature of the incident and the severity of his injury (multiple rib fractures, concussion) the firefighters dialed up a CalStar helicopter to whisk Kevin to the hospital – a ride of about eight minutes instead of a jouncing, rib-grating journey that might have killed him on the way back in 1885. Kevin is recuperating, and people who have come to know and appreciate his talents have been checking in to wish him well. When he’s on his feet he may consider paying a visit to the Canyon residents, MOFD folks, and the CalStar chopper pilot who saved him. Maybe some home-baked apple pies for his rescuers – it’s what they did to say “thanks” back in the 1880s.

Baseball and Local Politics

Also on folk’s minds this week – baseball. North Coast Section officials abruptly barred Campolindo players from this weekend’s Moraga Baseball Association Opening Day ceremonies, ostensibly because the event could be considered a “recruiting event” for Campo that gives them an edge when it comes time to field local players.

“I was wondering who complained… and why,” said one local parent. “Local politics and youth sports – more First World problems in Lamorinda!”

Maybe… but, recruiting? In the Little League? Help us out with an explanation here baseball fans… we ran track.

Palm Trees and (Construction) Cranes

Folks in Walnut Creek are still talking about the landscaper who paid a local family a cool thousand bucks for an encroaching palm tree they say was overwhelming their home. The contractor not only ponied up the grand, but paid to bring in the crane needed to move the beast to a holding facility where it will be examined for disease before it is used to landscape the eastern approach to the Bay Bridge.

The homeowner may have gotten a good deal, or thought so, but we’re told that similar examples of those palms fetch a lot more. After news of the purchase spread, frond-covered residents began offering their specimens (they must be in good health, between 18 to 25 feet tall) to the landscaper, who can be reached at ibuypalms@gmail.com.

Arms For the Poor And Deserted Shopping Centers

Also popping up like mushrooms in the rain lately have been some pretty dedicated – some might say aggressive – panhandlers who have been setting up shop outside supermarkets and coffee houses, often with babies or other, more threatening, “props” in place to drive home their message.

The 24-680 is known for its largesse, and people here are known for extending a helping hand when needed – unless the guy asking for money has a pit bull next to him, and the pit is eyeing the extended hand like it’s some sort of hors d’oeuvre. Such was the case in Moraga last week when a man with the aforementioned pit bull (have you ever noticed how those things look at you?) set up shop outside the Safeway store and asked passersby for money while the dog looked on, silently backing up the message.

Police determined the guy was from Concord and here “looking for work.” He was invited to leave and did but the pit didn’t look happy about it. And then there was that Rumanian woman and her baby outside the Tiffany store in Walnut Creek, outside so long I reached down to feel her baby’s arm – ice cold. Hmmm.

Locals have noted a growing number of “in your face” mendicants and panhandlers, some trundling babies, all with stories to tell – everyone asking for money. And there seems to be precious little of that around, except for some local developers, as Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza empties out in preparation for some new construction and, we’ve been informed, major new businesses in an area already home to Nordstrom and Neiman and others. Can we support all these new stores? We’ll see, but in the interim we’ll have to adjust to hearing our footsteps echo off abandoned storefronts and empty passageways as we get – Out And About In The Numbers.

Note: Do you have any tidbits of info, new business news, questions, general observations about life in The Numbers? Drop us a line at: jd@news24-680.com.