Summertime. It's not necessarily marked by the weather 'round here, because it can be downright chilly. But fog never stopped the tradition of Woodminster Summer Musicals -- opening this weekend for their 48th season.

What a gem we have here -- our own little Ashland with polished performances in a woodsy, hilltop amphitheater built as a WPA project.

One of the most popular musicals in history opens Friday, the pop opera "Les Misérables." And while most of us have seen it (it's been running continuously in London for almost 30 years), it's going to be a treat to see it under the stars with a live orchestra in Joaquin Miller Park. Bring a picnic and join me this weekend, won't you?

Cut above: Congratulations to stylist Eryn Harrison, who has once again won the Best of Oakland award in the hair salon category. This is the second year Harrison has been honored for Calm, A Salon, a business at 2005 Piedmont Ave. that she started in 2005. She's come a long way from the days of cutting hair after school at The Beauty Center and the now-shuttered Hair Tailor in Montclair. In fact, business is so brisk, she had to move to a new, bigger shop last August.

Another Oaklander deserves kudos, too. Retired U.S. bankruptcy Judge Ed Jellen is California's newest governor. No, he's not taking Gov. Jerry Brown's place -- Jellen is a new Rotary International governor -- one of just 535 in the world. He and fellow Rotarians are working hard on their mission to eradicate polio worldwide.


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Crime beat: Crimes of opportunity never seem to subside. The other afternoon, a motorist was robbed in the Glenview as she sat in her car with the windows down. A man walked up to her, snatched her purse and cell phone and jumped into a waiting car. As always, be vigilant -- and look out for your neighbors, as well.

Book it: You know the Farmer's Almanac? Well, local author and nutritionist Dr. Deah Schwartz has written "Dr. Deah's Calmanac" -- 12 months of tips on how to cultivate a healthier body image. Schwartz is doing a reading and book signing July 31 at A Great Good Place for Books at 7 p.m. Cleverly, she'll be planting the seeds of body appreciation.

Speaking of books, the Montclair Library hosts award-winning Oakland author Yiyun Li at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Her most recent novel is "Kinder than Solitude," which takes place in Beijing and parts of the East Bay. The Friends of Montclair Library is hosting the event, and it's free to the public.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.