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Archive for July, 2007

How did they carry it?

From the Orinda police log:

Saturday, June 23
THEFT — A suspect stole $937 worth of alcohol from Safeway, and then got on BART.

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lamorinda, Orinda | No Comments »

Just breathe

Saturday, June 30
LOST WALLET — A Martinez woman reported at 6:42 p.m. to Orinda police that she lost her brown wallet at the Orinda Library. She believes it fell out of her pack while she was meditating near the waterfall.

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Orinda | No Comments »

Orinda mail theft suspect arrested

Orinda police arrested an El Sobrante man Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in a rash of mail thefts that has plagued the city in recent weeks.

Jack Whalen, 23, was arrested on 10 counts of possessing stolen property, among other charges, said Orinda police Sgt. Steve Andrews. Orinda mail was found at his El Sobrante house.

Whalen is also a suspect in several other pending mail theft cases, including one out of Walnut Creek where Orinda mail was found, Andrews said.

A number of people have reported seeing a white four-door Ford Escort in connection with the mail thefts, and on Tuesday, a witness managed to take down the license plate number. That led authorities to Whalen and the recovered mail, which included checks, check books and credit card information.

Orinda police are also investigating claims that he impersonated a police officer.

Police are asking anybody who may have seen Whalen or the white Ford Escort hatchback around town to contact them. The suspect is described as a white male 6 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 280 pounds with light brown curly hair and bright blue eyes.

Orinda Police can be reached at 925-254-6820. There is also a list of tips for preventing mail theft here on the department’s Web site.

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2007
Under: Orinda | 1 Comment »

Fugitive con man from Moraga found

Federal marshalls announce they have found Edwin Torres, who disappeared after he was sent to prison for a bond sales scam that bilked business associates and friends in Moraga of millions of dollars. Torres was in New York.

Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lamorinda, Moraga | No Comments »

Former Lafayette resident dies in plane crash

Ex-Lafayette man killed in plane crash
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dr. Bruce Kennedy, a former Lafayette resident and Acalanes High School graduate, was among the..five people who died Tuesday when a small plane crashed while trying to make an emergency landing in Sanford, Fla.

Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corporation President Lesa France Kennedy, was on the plane that killed five people, including pilot Michael Klemm, and started two house fires that seriously burned three other people, authorities said.

Authorities said an adult and two children died in the homes that were quickly gutted by the fire after the airplane crashed in the suburban Orlando neighborhood around 8:40 a.m. (EDT).

Matt Minnetto, an investigator with the Sanford Fire Department, said the plane was scattered in several pieces across the area. Among the three survivors was a boy about 10 years old who had burns over 80 to 90 percent of his body, Minnetto said.

The 53-year-old Kennedy, a plastic surgeon based in Daytona Beach, Fla., graduated from Acalanes in 1972.

According to Ken Clapp, a Danville resident and close friend of the France family, Kennedy moved to Florida roughly eight years later and started working as a dentist.

Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Schools | No Comments »

They pedal really, really fast

LAFAYETTE CRITERIUM
WHEN: 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15
WHERE: The loop course runs along Mt. Diablo Boulevard, First Street and Golden Gate Way
REGISTERING: Register before the event at www.c4racing.org. Registration is available the day of the event on a space-available basis. Children can register for the Kids Race in front of 3483 Mt. Diablo Blvd. before 10:15 a.m. the day of the event.
GENERAL PUBLIC: Spectators are welcome to watch for free

Stake out your spot to watch Sunday’s Lafayette Criterium bicycle race when some 450 bike enthusiasts will converge on this suburb, pedaling at speeds of up to 40 mph in a colorful blur on local streets and around tight turns.

“It’s a short distance but the intensity is just phenomenal,” said Mark VandenBerghe, a 44-year-old Lafayette resident who has been bike racing for more than 20 years.

The 0.6-mile loop runs along Mt. Diablo Boulevard, First Street and Golden Gate Way. Cyclists will circle the course for up to 70 minutes at top speeds as spectators cheer from the sidelines.

The day also includes a children’s bicycle ride on the same course, though the youngsters will be rolling at a much slower speed.

The children’s ride is a donation fundraiser for the Lafayette Arts and Science Foundation, which supports local public schools.

“Riders are racing close to maximum heart rate and speed,” said Ryan Nickelson, 33, who began racing three years ago. “It’s close racing too. You tend to have the pack stay together and a massive sprint at the end. It’s very exciting.”

Racers are not casual bicyclists; they are competitive cyclists armed with racing licenses who train vigorously. They range from teenagers to those in their 70s, Nickelson said.

Criteriums were once prolific in the Bay Area. Local bike enthusiasts such as VandenBerghe could participate in 15 to 20 criteriums a year, all within an hour’s drive. But the hefty cost, such as for liability and insurance, took its toll, VandenBerghe said. Fewer and fewer criteriums were held in urban areas.

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Slur in Lafayette

Lafayette police report:
A swastika and a racial slur were found on two doors at Stanley Middle School. The symbol and word were written in black marker. The date the vandalism occurred was unknown but occurred sometime during summer break.

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda, Schools | No Comments »

Child’s memorial bench stolen

A bench a Lafayette family placed at a memorial for their 6-year-old son who died of cancer has disappeared from its perch.

Nicholas Colby Gilbert used to sit and play on the bench in his front yard when he was alive. After his death, his parents moved it to his memorial site at Oakmont Memorial Park and Mortuary on Reliez Valley Road.

The family visits the site every day and arrived June 21 to find the bench missing, said Lamont Gilbert, the child’s father.

“It’s 150 to 200 pounds so it’s very heavy,” Gilbert said. “It would need two people to carry it off.”
Whoever swiped the 4-foot long terra cotta bench likely dropped it while absconding with it, Gilbert said. He found a 5-inch piece from one of the bench legs at the site.
The family plans to purchase a new bench and bolt it to the foundation.

“We are going to replace the bench, but it’s not going to be the same,” Gilbert said. “It won’t be the one Nicholas played on.”

Detectives with the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office are looking at circulating a photo of the bench to help develop leads. Thefts of memorabilia from a cemetery aren’t typical, said Sgt. Paul Beard.

Nicholas was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. He lost his battle against the disease in May 2006 when he was 6.

_Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda | No Comments »

Oh, Say Did You See?

In this week’s Sun coverage of July 4 festivities in Orinda and Moraga, look for:

Wendy Levich outside the Orinda theater, waving a large flag as she lead the Orinda Volunteer Marching Band?

Joe Goldsmith and daughter Caitlin, 6, driving their tractor in the Orinda parade?

Oliver Lane, 4, a vision in red, white and blue, waving to Orinda parade goers?

Bella, a 13-week old pug in a pink tutu being walked by Jessica Shrader, in the Moraga dog parade?

Matt Ridenour in a patriotic top hat, giving directions on a bull horn before Moraga’s 5-mile foot race?

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Weathering this week’s heat wave

A county list showing the Lafayette Senior Center as a cooling center is incorrect, city officials said Thursday morning.
Lafayette’s one-room Senior Center lacks a full-time staff, which is needed to supervise seniors who might show up to heed a statewide request for energy conservation while staying cool as temperatures rise, said Jennifer Russell, parks and recreation director. Supervision is key, particularly in a medical emergency.
“We are asking people to be creative and think of other air conditioned facilities like the library, shopping malls,” Russell said. “We don’t even have a TV in there.”
Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 102 degrees this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
For a list of other senior centers that are serving as cooling centers, click here.
Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »