I think that I shall never see a thing as lovely as a tree. That is, until it comes crashing down without warning.

I didn't see the tree that fell with a thunderous crack onto Shepherd Canyon Road at Gunn Drive last week, but it narrowly missed a family of motorists. "They were packed and on their way to Lake Tahoe," says hills resident Margaret Schultz, whose husband ran out to check on the family. The quick thinking driver was able to stop the car just in time before being potentially crushed.

"They were all fine but rattled," Margaret says. Apparently, the family was following a car that was five minutes ahead of them.

It was actually Margaret's 7-year-old who first spotted the teetering tree from his living room window. He yelled to his dad and older sibling: "Look, a tree is falling down!" What happened next sounded like an explosion as the old girl gave up the ghost in a tangle of electrical lines and gray boxes that cut off the power and Internet to nearby residents.

This is the third time in recent months that I've reported on trees coming down in our beautiful forested hills of Montclair. Please be "heads-up." The rainy season has only just begun.

Around town: It's sad to see the liquidation sign in the window of the venerable Sarber's Cameras. David Sarber was a leader in the business community and served as the Montclair Village Association president numerous times. Closing the half-century-old business was a last resort. The Sarber family tried to find a buyer, but cameras and processing are a tough sell in these days of smart phones.

Kakui Sushi Bar had a celebrity seating on New Year's Eve. Reader Michael Levy says Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife (with security detail in tow) had an early dinner at the popular Montclair restaurant. No table for this power couple ... they reportedly sat at the sushi bar to take in the show.

Speaking of Jerry Brown, the governor is on the guest list for a big gala Thursday at the Fox Theater. Oakland will celebrate its rep as an art town with Oakland School for the Arts' 10th anniversary show. The big fund-raiser will include student performances and exhibits from each of the school's nine art programs. There's also a big online auction with Outbid.com and a silent auction at the event. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com.

Big time: Congratulations to Oakland blogger Rich Lieberman who just landed himself a sweet midday talk show on KOMY radio (AM 1340). Lieberman has been blogging about the media since 2007 and started a weekend talk show on the station about seven weeks ago. It didn't hurt that he was able to book high-profile guests such as former Assembly leader and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Sticker shock: Seen on a car on Broadway Terrace, the bumper sticker: "My Chicken is an Honor Student ..." It's good to know the bird is no dumb cluck.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.