Oakland is feeling the love these days. Crime stats aside, the national media have been fawning over our town, with the latest accolade coming from Arianna Huffington's publication.

"Why are all my friends moving to Oakland?" asks a young blogger at the Huffington Post. We already know the reasons: An amazing park system, great restaurants, museums, the lake and the waterfront, $2 Oakland A's games and music and art at every turn.

In a state with several world-class cities, even our governor puts Oakland on top. "The best city in California" boasts Jerry Brown, one of my Montclair neighbors. He had an occasion to crow at the recent "Love Our Lake Day" -- a celebration of Lake Merritt's new $122 million makeover.

With all this publicity and a renewed push for tourism, maybe Oakland's best days are ahead. Good buzz brings business, and business brings much needed revenue. Let's hope that translates into more city services.

Under the stars: Add Jack London Square to a growing list of after-dark venues in Oakland. In conjunction with the city's First Friday events, you can now shop under the stars at Jack's Night Market.

Food and drink are just part of the fun. Like moths to a flame, artists and musicians are joining the celebration of summer and the waterfront. See www.jacklondonsquare.com for more information.


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Blood call: Reader Andrea Daniel is looking for a few folks who aren't squeamish about giving blood. She says the American Cancer Society needs volunteers to sign up at www.cps3bayarea.org for a study on how lifestyle, genetics and environment affect cancer. Blood will be drawn at three East Bay locations in July.

Zoo do: The wildest party of the season is this weekend -- and believe me, I'm not "lion." The Oakland Zoo's Walk in the Wild is a progressive dinner-and-drinks at which even the animals stay up late to have fun.

Add live music, the train and the sky ride to the 100-plus food and drink vendors and you've got an evening that's well worth the price of admission. Tickets are $150 (adults only) and can be bought at the door.

Animal tales: It's not the cat and the fiddle -- but it's close. Jamin Hawks at Oakland Animal Services tells me that strings played a part in a recent adoption. A family of musicians brought a mandolin to the shelter to test it out on potential pussycats. Not every cat was cool with the sound, but a furball named Remington took to it.

No doubt the kitty will live in harmony with his new human family. By the way, 45 cats and 65 dogs were adopted during the Maddie's Fund adopt-a-thon, raising almost $75,000 for the shelter.

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.