Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for July, 2007

Thieves steal air conditioning units at Stanley

Thieves stole five air conditioning units and took the copper parts out of three more at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, according to police and school officials.

The theft was discovered by the school’s maintenance crew Monday morning, and likely took place over the weekend, said Lafayette Superintendent Frank Tom. The units were enclosed in a locked cage, but someone broke in.

Generations in Jazz workshops that were scheduled for the affected classrooms were moved to rooms that still had air conditioning, Tom said.

The cost to repair the three damaged units and replace the five stolen ones will range between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on how difficult it is to get parts, he said.

Thefts of copper are on the rise, thanks to an increase in the price of copper.

In Moraga, police found on Friday that someone had cut underground power cables at Campolindo High School in an attempt to steal the copper. The attempt was unsuccessful, but damages were estimated at $600. There were at least two suspects, who drove on campus in a silver Chevrolet Silverado, according to police reports.

The Sun wrote a story in June about the rise in copper thefts across the state, which you can read here.

Anyone with information on the Stanley thefts can call Lafayette Police at 925-283-3680.

— Brooke Bryant

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Ode to a founding father

Gordon Holmes, one of Lafayette’s first city council members, has died at the age of 83.

Holmes was one of a small group of men who spearheaded the drive for Lafayette to incorporate as a city in 1968. He became the city’s second mayor in 1969.

Look in Wednesday’s Contra Costa Times for a story and memorial service information.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Moraga: Camino Pablo work delayed

The Town of Moraga is reporting this morning that paving work scheduled to start on Camino Pablo today has been tentatively rescheduled for later in the week.

Apparently there was a malfunction at the asphalt manufacturing plant over the weekend.

The town’s Web site offers this summary of the impacts:

Impacts to residents will be the same as Monday’s (limited access in and out of driveways and streets on the north side of Camino Pablo.)

The paving of the south side of Camino Pablo from Shuey to Tharp, and then back along the north side of Camino Pablo back to Shuey is tentatively scheduled for Friday (again, pending operations at the plant.) This would mean that the ingress/egress on Sanders Ranch Drive will have a two-hour restriction on Friday – probably early afternoon. Again, the night before the work is scheduled, additional notices will be posted at the guard shack with updated information.

From Tharp to Rancho Laguna Park will also be getting slurry sealed. This work was scheduled for later this week, but will be rescheduled based on the coordination with the work on the other portions of Camino Pablo. This work is now tentatively scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week (August 9 & 10). Notices will be handed out to the impacted residents informing them of construction impacts and partial closure times.

Visit for the most updated information during construction.

Posted on Monday, July 30th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Fire at Deer Hill Ranch

Our reporter went out to the scene of a fire at Deer Hill Ranch this morning, and filed this story …

By Dogen Hannah
A fire destroyed two buildings, about 50 young chickens and decades of agricultural history at a small Lafayette ranch Sunday morning.

Firefighters extinguished the 6:57 a.m. fire at Deer Hill Ranch, 3232 Deer Hill Road, in about 45 minutes, according to a Contra Costa County Fire District official.

No one was injured, but the flames consumed two small barn-like buildings, along with the buildings’ contents, and scorched grass on an adjacent hillside.

The fire’s cause was under investigation.

The nonprofit ranch provides children and adults with the opportunity to experience life on a small, working farm. It also teaches visitors about historical and modern agricultural practices.

“For a small nonprofit like us, this (fire) is a huge blow,” said Alex Morrison, ranch administrator.

One destroyed building, a brooder house, contained about 50 chickens being raised to join the ranch’s free-range flock, Morrison said. It and the second building, used as a classroom, also contained a large collection of antique agricultural implements and furniture.

“It’s all gone,” Morrison said.

The charred remains of butter churners, cream holders, a pie safe, a cider press and other antiques littered the fire site Sunday afternoon. A fire district official estimated the value of the burned buildings and contents at $55,000.

The fire spared other livestock, including ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep and rabbits. “They certainly had a rough day, and they’re on edge, but none of them was hurt,” Morrison said.

Anne Holding, the ranch’s director for farm animal programs, said the she already had begun to make plans to rebuild.

“We teach resilience here,” Holding said. “Hopefully, it will be an opportunity for the community to come together to do a barn-raising.”

Reach Dogen Hannah at 925-945-4794 or

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Police drop investigation into Moraga turkey deaths

Moraga police are dropping their investigation into reports that a driver intentionally ran down and killed three turkeys, citing insufficient evidence to pursue the case further, a police lieutenant said today
The original story from an anonymous caller July 9 was shocking — four boys in a car had intentionally run down three turkeys near the intersection of Natalie Drive and Lenelle Court. Laughing, they backed up and drove over the birds again and again, eventually leaving with turkey feathers in hand.

Now, the story is less clear, Lt. Robert Priebe said. Police this week contacted two women who were in the area around the time of the incident. Neither saw the boys run over the turkeys in the car, and only witnessed them taking turkey feathers, Priebe said.

No one called police until the day after the attack. By that time, the turkey carcasses had disappeared.

_Luke Stangel

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lamorinda, Moraga | No Comments »

New principal at Joaquin Moraga

We received this message from the Moraga School District today about a new – but familiar – face at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate to replace outgoing Principal Catherine Mikes. We’ll be following up in the Sun in the weeks to come.

July 27, 2007

To All Employees of the Moraga School District, Parents, and Moraga Community Members:

I am pleased to announce that Bruce Burns, Los Perales Principal, has been appointed by the Governing Board to be the new Principal at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School.

The combination of his experience working within the Moraga School District, his outstanding management and administrative skills and his knowledge of our unique and wonderful community make Bruce ideally suited for this important leadership role.

As many of you know, Bruce has served as Principal at Los Perales for more than ten years. Prior to his tenure in Moraga, Mr. Burns worked for 10 years in the Stockton Unified School District. There he taught 4th, 5th and 6th grades and served as an assistant principal and as a principal.

Bruce will immediately begin working with the JM team to build and enhance the work begun under Catherine Mikes’ and Brad Carn’s leadership. While Bruce’s move to JM leaves a void at LP, the team at Los Perales will continue the LP tradition of outstanding education and smooth operations while the District searches for a replacement. Initially an interim principal will be hired to support the LP site while we recruit and hire the new principal. Our timeline calls for the new permanent principal to be in place by January 2008.

Thank you all for your continued support of our schools. As always, please feel free to call me with questions and suggestions. Parent, staff, and community input are important to us – now and in the future.


Richard A. Schafer

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

A triangle?

The sign listing community events in Orinda just off the Highway 24 exit to Orinda reads “My Three Angles.” Guess they mean the play “My Three Angels,” which is getting great reviews for the Orinda Starlight Village Players?

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Orinda | No Comments »

Tips for protecting yourself against crimes

So you’ve read our crime package, looking at the prevalence of property crime in Lamorinda and offering tips on how to protect yourself, but you still want more information.

Here are a couple of resources that you can check out on your own:

* The Orinda Police Department has a page of tips on dealing with mail theft. Click here.

* If you’re a senior citizen age 60 and older, and you think you may have been the victim of fraud, visit JFK University’s Elder Law Clinic here.

* The Federal Trade Commission offers detailed information to help you “deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.” Click here.

* Or find out more about identity theft in California by clicking here.

* The FBI offers tips for senior citizens and others on its Common Fraud Schemes Web page. Click here.

* The National Consumers League talks about everything from counterfeit drugs to telemarketing scams here.

* Curious about more crime statistics for your city? Visit the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports page, where they compile annual crime data, broken down by city here.

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Thieves among us

Look for a package of stories in the Friday Sun about crime in Lamorinda and practical tips on protecting yourself, your family and your property. Unlike other areas in the East Bay where violent crime is a concern, Lamorinda crime stats center mostly on robbery, burglary and stolen vehicles.

Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Talking turkey

Moraga police continue to investigate reports that turkeys were deliberately run over by some young people in a car earlier this month. They are trying to locate witnesses who might have seen the incident.

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »