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Archive for March, 2007

Aida & sea chanteys

Lamorinda’s third spring musical, Miramonte’s production of “Aida” — the Elton John musical, not the Met Opera with elephants — opens this Thursday for a two-week run. And now even younger singers are grabbing the spotlight.
When San Francisco’s historic CA Thayer returns to the Hyde Street Pier on April 11 after a major overhaul, look for the youngsters singing about blowing the man down and rolling the old chariot along. They’re fifth graders from Moraga’s Rheem Elementary and they’re experts on Thayer lore.
For the last decade, teacher Ann Ralph and her colleagues have taken their students on an overnight field trip aboard the historic schooner each winter to play deckhands, sailors and ship’s cooks as part of the National Park Service’s maritime education program. They’ve slept in the cramped quarters down below, raised the sails and swabbed the decks. And, says principal Elaine Frank, when the aging ship needed refurbishing, they raised $500 for the cause. On the 11th, Rheem’s young sailors will greet the Thayer as she returns to port, and sing sea chanteys for assembled guests, including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who helped secure federal funding for the project.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
Under: Music, Schools | No Comments »

Miramonte students walk out of class

By Katherine Tam
About 150 Miramonte High School students walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest the reported layoff of a history teacher.
The students left third period class at about 10:30 a.m. and gathered in the quad, wearing T-shirts and buttons that carried history teacher Jaime Fernandez’s name.
“This is not a popularity contest,” said senior Tyler Pavey. “It’s about education and an amazing teacher.”
School and district officials and at least two Orinda police officers watched the group from the perimeter of the quad. Many returned to class after third period ended; others did not.
Wednesday’s walkout was not organized or authorized by Fernandez, the students said.
About 600 students have signed a petition calling for officials to keep Fernandez, who they say received a layoff notice because he lacks tenure and won’t be returning next fall.
Acalanes school district officials declined to comment on whether Fernandez received a layoff notice, citing personnel confidentiality, said John Stockton, assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment.
The district is considering possible reductions to programs and staff because of falling enrollment and lack of student demand for some classes, said Jim Negri, district superintendent.
Fernandez has taught history and government at Miramonte for a year and a half, students say. He also coaches sports and has been described as a mentor.

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
Under: Orinda, Schools, Sports | 1 Comment »

Reaction to Moraga teen’s death

Here’s a sampling of the reaction we’re seeing to the death of 17-year-old Sarah Rehm, whose Toyota sedan crashed into a utility pole early Tuesday morning.

This item is one of a couple dozen condolences expressed so far in a guest book:

To Sarah’s Family and Friends: Our deepest condolences. While we only knew Sarah the short time she worked at the Orinda Starbucks, our memory of her will forever be pleasant and long-lived. An old soul. Please know she was incredibly well-liked by her co-workers and customers alike. For that you should be very proud. Rest in peace, Sarah. …
Rob, Meghan and Hannah Perez (Orinda, CA)

Several of the guest book signers are parents sharing thoughts such as this one:

As a father of a seventeen year old I can only imagine the grief you are feeling.
You are in my prayers.
Gordon Steele (Moraga, CA)

Writing in the Times’ Teen LIP blog, Colin Kennedy comments:

I feel a compounded sense of remorse for her, coming only a couple of months after the Kyle Morton incident. … Our small town of Moraga cannot handle such tragedies, one after the other. We should really encourage teenage drivers to become more careful when they travel. After all, not two blocks from each other, there have been two fatalities.
More from Colin

And on, readers are weighing in with thoughts about teen drivers, while others point out that it’s not just teens who are speeding:

This indeed is a tragic loss, but get real people in Lamorinda. You’ve got to SLOW DOWN. I take my life in my hands every morning I pull out of my driveway in Orinda. It’s not just the kids speeding but the adults as well. I’m sick and tired of Glorietta Blvd being a speedway in the morning, afternoon and night and I’m sure other streets are just as bad.
Posted by: Trish

One mother had this to say:

I am printing this story and sending it to my 16 year old step daughter. This is why I am NOT buying you a car!!!
Perhaps if she spends her own money, she just might use a little more caution.
My heart goes out to this girls family, so sad.
Kristy, Pleasant Hill

Posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

We love a parade

Lafayette residents plan to celebrate in style if the Acalanes High School boys basketball team becomes the state champions this month.

Supporters are thinking of holding a parade downtown and the City Council has authorized the closure of Golden Gate Way for a possible parade on March 25 just in case.

Acalanes High School on March 3 won its first North Coast Section Division III championship game since 1980.

The team is two wins away from becoming the state Division III champions. The players will compete against Bishop O’Dowd High School at noon Saturday in Stockton for the NorCal championship. If they win, the players will move onto the finals on March 24.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Messages of condolence for crash victim

To post a message of condolence for Sarah Rehm in the Contra Costa Times guestbook, click here.


The Moraga teen was killed today when her car hit a utility pole in a crash so violent the vehicle was split in a half and power was lost to surrounding neighborhoods.

Police said Rehm was driving at a high rate of speed when she crashed into the pole on Rheem Boulevard at Fernwood Drive at 2:20 a.m.

She was ejected from the vehicle and died before arrival of emergency crews.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, which occured a block-and-half from the site of another recent fatal crash involving a Moraga teen.

Campolindo High School senior Kyle Morton, 17, died on Jan. 13 after he crashed a Jeep into a tree on Fernwood Drive. The Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office said today that alcohol was a factor January’s crash.
Read the full story

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Young woman dead in early-morning Moraga wreck

The Contra Costa Times today will be providing updates on a fatal accident at Rheem Boulevard and Fernwood Drive. A young woman was killed in the wreck, which occurred around 2:20 a.m. Look for updates on the Times’ home page.

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

We can keep a secret

The person selected by the Moraga Kiwanis Club as the 2007 Citizen of the Year will be unveiled Friday in the Sun. But you’ll have to tune in then. No sneak peeks. Sorry.

Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Moraga | No Comments »

Photos of Acalanes’ semifinal win

Times photographer Jose Carlos Fajardo captured the excitement Saturday, as Acalanes High School defeated Sacramento, 58-43, to advance to the CIF Northern Regional boys basketball championship.

Read the story and click the Slideshow link to see the photos.

Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Congratulations, Bill Judge

Orinda celebrates one of its own tonight as Bill Judge receives the 2007 Citizen of the Year Award from the Orinda Rotary. To find out why he is so well liked click on this link to read a profile by Sun Reporter Brooke Bryant.

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Orinda | No Comments »

Jazz and basketball

Lamorinda was a buzz of activity last night as the seventh annual Lafayette Jazz Festival opened at Acalanes Performing Arts Center, Campo’s spring musical “Hello Dolly” debuted in Moraga, and the sound of dribbling basketballs and joyous cheers echoed off the walls at Madigan Gym at St. Mary’s College.

Cheers erupted at the jazz fest too as longtime KCBS anchor — and beloved Rossmoor Big Band crooner — Al Hart received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Generations in Jazz Foundation, then stepped to the mic to sing “What a Wonderful World.” The audience got sniffly after legendary arranger and Rossmoor Big Band co-director Frank Como exchanged beaming grins and hugs with Stanley eighth grader Erin Grant. The young tenor saxophonist had performed two jazz classics artfully arranged just for her by the now-retired Como, who spent 20 years as Lionel Hampton’s arranger.

But the best sight-em came afterward. Ripping off cummerbunds with one hand, whipping out cell phones with the other, the younger members of the Rossmoor Big Band, which features teen and veteran musicians performing side-by-side, raced offstage to get the lowdown on the Acalanes basketball team and the NorCal Division III quarterfinals at St. Mary’s. More cheers, this time backstage: the NCS champions had just triumphed over Weston Ranch, 50-47. Next up: Acalanes vs. Sacramento High at St. Mary’s this Saturday at 7 p.m. (Tickets: $5 students, $9 general admission) What a wonderful world …
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2007
Under: Music, Schools, Sports | No Comments »