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Archive for May, 2007

Arrested 19-year-old had Lamorinda connection

A Walnut Creek woman on Tuesday led the Highway Patrol on a wild high-speed chase that ended with the petite blonde emerging from muddy Martinez backwaters in tears at gunpoint.

It was the second time in less than a year that 19-year-old Chelsea Geery was arrested in a public spectacle while allegedly trying to evade police. In October, she was arrested in view of Lafayette residents during a manhunt for auto burglars.

Tuesday’s pursuit began just before 9 a.m. when a CHP officer attempted to pull over Geery for speeding in a black 2001 Audi sedan on northbound Interstate 680 near Highway 4, CHP spokesman Scott Yox said.

The chase reached over 100 mph as Geery drove off the Pacheco exit, trying to elude the officer by crossing double yellow lanes and blindly traveling around a big rig before getting back on the freeway, Yox said.

She exited at the Marina Vista exit and traveled to the end of Waterfront Road, where she made a U-turn and came toward the CHP car “like a game of chicken,” Yox said. Both cars swerved at the last minute, and the Audi crashed into a fence and parked, unoccupied Honda Accord.

Geery continued down Marina Vista and, going 20 mph, traveled the wrong way up the freeway off-ramp and collided with a 2006 Honda Ridgeline, Yox said.

Geery and two male passengers got out of the Audi and ran in different directions.

Geery jumped into a slough leading to the Carquinez Strait. When an officer pointed a gun at her and ordered her out, Geery, who was soaking wet and in tears, complied and was arrested.

Passengers Michael Androyna, 21, and Travis Johnson, 23, both of Martinez, surrendered to police in the marshy tulle weeds. They were not arrested, but face consequences from their probation officers, Yox said.
The off-ramp was closed for an hour, but no one was injured.

Geery was arrested on suspicion of multiple felonies, including driving a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property, attempted assault on an officer, evading arrest, and driving the wrong way while evading police. Yox said the Audi was stolen in Oakland on May 9.

Court records show Geery was recently released from jail after serving a sentence for a series of auto burglaries in Lafayette on Oct. 28. She was sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years probation after pleading no contest to grand theft and two counts of second-degree burglary.

In that case, Geery was out on bail for another burglary arrest and, police said, high on methamphetamine when a homeowner caught her and a 19-year-old friend ransacking cars in the Burton Valley neighborhood.

The two ran away and were found hiding in a backyard and garage by officers who combed the area with dogs and a helicopter. A crowd of residents cheered as police led them away in handcuffs.

— Malaika Fraley

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Orinda students win C-SPAN competition

Political reporter and blogger Lisa Vorderbrueggen writes about some amazing Orinda students in her blog.

Tyler Pavey, Lana Olmer and Scott DeMunck, students at Miramonte High School in Orinda, will be interviewed live today at 11:30 A.M. PST on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

Aaron Crowe

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
Under: Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette delays decision on sign limit

If you didn’t see reporter Katherine Tam’s story today in the Contra Costa Times about the Lafayette City Council’s decision Monday night to delay a vote on limiting the number of signs on residential property, take a read now.

The proposal wouldn’t affect the controversial crosses on a hill near BART, but would affect future such signs.

The vote was put off until May 29 after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the proposed limit as violating free speech.

Aaron Crowe

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
Under: Crosses | No Comments »

Moraga Nation’s to reopen

Burgers are back!

Nation’s Giant Hamburgers in Moraga, closed since mid February fire that ravaged the restaurant, plans to open its doors again Tuesday.

The popular fast food joint has spent the last three months fixing the damage from the Feb. 11 blaze that apparently started in the air conditioning unit on the roof and traveled down the ducts. Two firefighters were slightly injured during the incident, but some of the evacuated customers were able to grab their meals before they left.

— Brooke Bryant

Posted on Monday, May 14th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Lafayette may abandon sign cap

Reporter Katherine Tam is writing about how Lafayette officials might abandon efforts to cap the number of signs allowed on residential property — a provision some saw as key to preventing another display of crosses.

The Lafayette City Council meeting is 7 p.m. Monday at 500 St. Marys Road.

Read her story and return to next week to read what action the council took.

Aaron Crowe

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Those rocky roads

If your mechanic has ever looked at your blown shocks and laughed, or blamed that dragging muffler on the fact that you hit a colossal pothole on St. Marys Road, then the Sun wants to hear from you.

We are looking for people who have had to pay through the exhaust pipe for car repairs that mechanics have said was due to the vehicle driving on rough roads. It will all be part of a special issue on the roads of Lamorinda coming out next week.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 952-2617 or with your road and vehicle woes.

— Elisabeth Nardi

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Global warming debate in Moraga

In Friday’s Lamorinda Sun, reporter Brooke Bryant reports on Wednesday night’s Moraga Town Council meeting, where a debate on global warming evolved.
The town joined the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI — which is making a countywide push to get cities to sign on, following in the footsteps of Alameda County, where a number of jurisdictions joined last year. Mayor Mike Metcalf abstained.
On a separate action, the council voted 3-2 to endorse the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement supporting the tenets of the Kyoto Protocol. Metcalf and Councilwoman Rochelle Bird voted against the endorsement.
Read the entire story here.
— Aaron Crowe

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Ticketing has begun

Police officers issued 50 tickets to speeding drivers in the first week of a tri-city campaign to slow traffic, officials said.

The tickets were issued along the Pleasant Hill Road corridor last week. Pleasant Hill Road and Stanley Boulevard was the site of a fatal six-car crash in March.

A 12-week campaign to slow traffic was launched April 30. Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda police cluster their speed radar trailers in a different problem area every week, then follow up by issuing tickets to those who speed.

St. Marys Road in Moraga is up for heightened enforcement this week. Speed radar trailers were posted on the road Monday and Tuesday. Officers plan to patrol the area for speeders on Thursday.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | 4 Comments »

Moraga police log

Here’s some of the Moraga Police log that will be running in Friday’s Lamorinda Sun:

Moraga Police
Wednesday, May 2
AUTO THEFT — Officers were dispatched to a report of a stolen vehicle at a residence on Camelford Court. The resident had parked the vehicle in the driveway at approximately 6:30 p.m. May 1 and was found to be missing at approximately 8:10 a.m. May 2. The vehicle had been locked and all keys were accounted for.
Saturday, May 5
VANDALISM — Officers responded to Haven Court on a report of a broken window via vandalism. Upon arrival, officers contacted the homeowner, who stated that at approximately 1:40 a.m. he heard a loud noise and noticed that his upstairs bedroom window had been broken. He went outside to attempt to identify the object and while outside, saw a golf ball bounce in the street and believes that was the object that broke the window. The cost to replace the large double-pane window is estimated to be $700.
GRAND THEFT — Officers responded to Broadmoor Drive on a report of an auto burglary. Upon arrival officers contacted the vehicle owner who stated that between 10:30 p.m. May 4 and 6:30 a.m. May 5, someone took a gym bag, check book, heart monitor, purse, vehicle keys (to another vehicle), brief case and a Nextel cell phone from their unlocked vehicle that was parked in their driveway. The approximate loss is estimated at $600.
VANDALISM — Officers responded to Miramonte Avenue on a report of a vehicle burglary. Upon arrival, officers contacted the vehicle owner. The owner said that his vehicle was parked in his car port and that between 8 p.m. May 4 and 8:30 a.m. May 5, someone smashed out the left rear window of his Honda. The owner said nothing was taken. The approximate loss is estimated at $250.
Sunday, May 6
VANDALISM — Officers responded to St. Mary’s Road on a vandalism report. The officer met the citizen in the men’s restroom. He pointed out some graffiti on the interior wall of the men’s restroom. The word “Epidemic” “RU36” and “EXP” were written on the wall using black permanent marker.
Tuesday, May 8
AUTO BURGLARY — Someone smashed a vehicle window on Larch Avenue and stole a purse while the owner was playing tennis at the Moraga Swim and Tennis Club. The suspect(s) also damaged the center console during the theft.

— Aaron Crowe

Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
Under: Crime | No Comments »

Orinda Names Superintendent

The Orinda Union School District named Joe Jaconette as the new superintendent for the 2,000-student district.

Jaconette, who has a doctorate in education from UC Berkeley, will take the reins from current superintendent Frank Brunetti, who is retiring at the end of June. Brunetti has headed the district for the last seven years.

Jaconette has an extensive background in education. He currently works at McGraw-Hill in Sacramento in government relations for the educational publishing company. Jaconette was superintendent for both Pacific Grove and Carmel school districts, five years at each. He has also worked as an assistant superintendent and as a middle school teacher.

Jaconette was chosen because of his experience with curriculum, working with education foundations and leading a bond campaign, said Pat Rudebusch, board president.

“We choose him for a number of reasons, certainly his breadth of experience,” she said. “He brings a rich understanding of curriculum that he gained as an educator but also in his current work he has a deep understanding of state curriculum issues.”

Jaconette will begin on July 1, but will spend some time in June with Brunetti meeting the staff and getting to know the district, Rudebusch said.

The district and Jaconette agreed to a four year contract of $189,671 per year, there are no additional benefits.

Elisabeth Nardi

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
Under: Orinda | No Comments »