BIRDS DO IT, BEES DO IT: Even beavers in the creek do it! The folks over at Worth A Dam are abuzz with a recent sighting of a baby beaver in Alhambra Creek. The Martinez beaver saga -- entering its sixth year -- has been a tale of heartbreak and renewal. Several kits have died, and a powerful storm last year washed away the beavers' lodge and dams.
The family suffered a devastating blow in summer 2010, when the very ill matriarch was euthanized. After a period of single-fatherhood, Papa Beaver apparently put himself back on the market and found a new love.
While The Eye understands the giddiness the new kit has caused among Martinez beaver enthusiasts, we wonder about all the breathless news coverage. After all, wild animals reproducing is hardly unusual. In fact, we're willing to bet that somewhere today, a chick hatched or a river otter pup went for a swim. You heard it here first.
REMEMBERING ANDY: Richmond native Ronnie Schell was part of the television phenomena known as "The Andy Griffith Show," appearing in two episodes (1966 and 1968) of the series and landing a co-starring role in the spinoff show "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." (1964-69).
He has also been a guest at Mayberry Days, an annual reunion in Mount Airy, N.C., Griffith's hometown.
Schell last week offered some thoughts on Griffith, who died of a heart attack Tuesday at age
"I was deeply saddened by Andy's passing," Schell writes. "We were friends for over 46 years, and when I first did 'Gomer Pyle,' Andy invited me to his home in Toluca Lake for coaching on how I should play the role of Duke Slater.
"I later did two guest shots on his show and toured with him as his opening act in Lake Tahoe and in the Midwest. He was truly one of a kind."
WINE-SIPPING SNAKES? Pleasanton's annual Summer Wine Stroll last month brought out many people to walk the downtown sidewalks, including a man and a woman each with a live boa constrictor wrapped around the neck.
The snake owners seemed calm and collected, although the sight of them did stop foot traffic on Main Street in places. For their part, the snakes looked calm as well. And they didn't do any strolling on their own.
FOLKS NOT IN UNIFORM: So what's in a uniform? Sometimes the signal that all is on the up and up.
A man transferring cash from one armored vehicle to another received that reminder from police in Orinda on Tuesday,¿ when they stopped him for "suspicious circumstances." But what appeared to be one man possibly robbing the vehicle turned out to be one worker helping another.
The incident happened about 2:30 p.m. in Orinda Village on Camino Sobrante. One of the employees "was not in his proper uniform," according to Contra Costa Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee, and police went into crime-in-progress mode before the parties figured out the misunderstanding.
RIO VISTA'S RUN: The Eye noticed recently that an AT&T commercial brought some notoriety to one small Delta town north of Antioch.
A runner in San Francisco is so entranced by the music on his HTC One X phone that he doesn't realize he's jogged way out into the countryside. Finding himself on a dirt road and amid sheep, green rolling hills and wind turbines, he uses the device to find out where he is.
He exclaims: "Rio Vista?!?!" In real life, the run from San Francisco to the city of 8,000 on the Sacramento River is about 62 miles.
City leaders say the commercial has been a pleasant surprise.
"It's something we get a lot when we go places. People ask: 'Where's Rio Vista?' The hope is people will want to find out," Mayor Jan Vick said. "Windmills are not our only attraction."
PATRIOTIC DISPLAY: Richmond's Fred Jackson Way, named for the local civil rights icon who died last year of cancer, looked a lot different Wednesday. It was cordoned off with red, white and blue tape. There was a band in the middle of the street playing a bluesy funk, while the female singer crooned and sauntered up and down the block.
Kids scooped up bags full of school supplies and gobbled barbecue hot dogs. There weren't fireworks or alcohol, but U.S. flags were everywhere -- street signs, hats, shirts. This was as good a Fourth of July party in North Richmond as the folks there could remember. The Fourth of July, long known chiefly for dangerous gunshots in the air all night in North Richmond, was back in full glory.
"It's just beautiful," said Eleanor Thompson, a parade organizer with a U.S. flag draped around her neck. "It's time to start a new tradition of celebrating the Fourth with an event in this community."
Staff writers Lisa P. White, Chris Treadway, Denis Cuff, Rick Hurd, Paul Burgarino and Robert Rogers contributed to this column.