The Town Crier's tentacles reach near and far. Several weeks after writing about the passing of jazz great and one-time Montclarion Dave Brubeck, my column arrived in the mail at Bev Thorne's home in Kona, Hawaii. His grandchildren and son sent the clipping, and Thorne thought he'd share more about the house he built for his buddy Brubeck.

The Brubeck house was the first home he built after graduating from UC Berkeley and it has a special place in his heart.

"First off, the rock inside the house is a natural outcropping that was incorporated into the house," Thorne wrote. "The story I got was that Dave and (Brubeck's wife) Oli used to go up to the rock and neck and dream about one day building a house overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge."

Thorne readily admits he didn't know "a 5/4 beat from a Corvette" when he built the Heartwood Drive home in 1953, but he and the Brubecks became very close. When the house was finished, Brubeck and family left for a three-month musical tour.

"Before he left, he called me to the site and told me about the trip, with the admonition that 'Thorne, why don't you move in while we're on the trip? When we return; if the place hasn't fallen down, Oli, me and the kids will move into the house.' "

Thorne still chuckles when he thinks of that comment and the memories of "housesitting" on his honeymoon.

"It is like a tale out of a story book," he wrote. "The entire memory is a dream."


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On air: HGTV finally has a new airdate for the House Hunter episode featuring three Montclair homes. It's at 10 p.m. Feb. 14 on Comcast Cable channel 746. The buyers' criteria: a home with Bay views, great layout, chef's kitchen and midcentury modern architecture.

Email bag: I call them trail angels -- older volunteers who care for our parklands and trails in the Oakland hills. We don't always see them, but they pull weeds and pick up litter and dog waste so we see the natural beauty. Reader Monique Weil has noticed one senior steward, in particular, who weeds and disperses rainwater along the Montclair Railroad Trail so mosquito larvae don't form in the puddles. In her 80s, this gal works tirelessly on public land with her own tools.

"Today she showed me the calluses on her hands from wielding her shovel," Weil said. "She had started three hours ago and was not quite ready to quit for the day."

BART beef: Not everyone is happy with the new streetscape at Rockridge BART. Reader Constance Young said thanks to a flaw in the otherwise appealing design, motorists can't see pedestrians as they enter the crosswalk on the Miles Avenue side of the station. Not only this, she says the line of cars dropping off and picking up passengers creates a traffic hazard.

"Every other BART station that I have visited has found a way to create a designated 'kiss-and-go' area that does not create a traffic jam," Young said. "We have lovely landscaping but short tempers at the Rockridge station."

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