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Archive for August, 2007

Food composting debuts– tell us what you think

The Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority has launched a new food composting program here that allows you to put everything from chicken bones to old tea bags into a new kitchen container delivered to your house. You then empty the container into your green yard waste recycling cart. The stuff will get whisked away, composted and turned into soil that’s sold to nurseries and landscapers.

Tell us what you think of the new program. We’d like to hear from you. Click the comments tab with this blog entry to give your two cents.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Tracy man charged in fatal Stanley Boulevard crash

By Scott Marshall
Staff Writer
LAFAYETTE_ Prosecutors have charged a Tracy man with felony gross vehicular manslaughter in the March 22 death of a motorist in front of Acalanes High School on Stanley Boulevard that outraged the Lamorinda community.

David Caspillo, 38, of Tracy was charged Monday, said Lafayette police Chief Mike Hubbard. Caspillo was not taken into custody, but prosecutors issued an order for him to appear in court.

“Oh, thank God,” said Jim Hall, a longtime friend of the victim, Dale Zenor, 55 of Walnut Creek. “It’s one sigh of relief and a small step for justice.”

The charge is the culmination of a months-long investigation into Zenor’s death.

The investigation, while exhaustive, did not establish a precise speed of the BMW 740 Caspillo drove that day, but the velocity of the accident was tremendous, Hubbard said.
The high-speed chain-reaction crash occurred as Caspillo accelerated toward the rear of Zenor’s Mazda, last in line of a group of vehicles stopped for a red light at Stanley Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road, according to police and a witness.

Five other people were injured.

Reach Scott Marshall at 925-945-4782 or

Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda, Roads | No Comments »

Moraga brush fire contained

By Scott Marshall
Moraga-Orinda firefighters fought back a grass fire that erupted about 3:15 p.m. today between Moraga Valley Lane and Fieldbrook Place, north of Moraga Way, officials said.

Firefighters found the fire climbing toward a fence behind 14 Fieldbrook Place.
They contained the fire by 3:44 p.m. and called off firefighters en route from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire consumed grass near Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church, at 10 Moraga Valley Lane, which is southwest of Fieldbrook Place. The church office was closed at the time.

Reach Scott Marshall at 925-945-4782 or

Posted on Monday, August 27th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda, Moraga | No Comments »

Stomping ground

In Friday’s Sun, columnist Harriet Ainesworth writes about the 52-member Lamorinda Winegrowers Association. headed by David Parker, president and thus far the only member to sell his wines commercially.
Moraga’s largest vineyard, at 4.5 acres with 3,500 vines, belongs to Susan and Selah Captain, who sell their grapes to Parkmon, a combination of the names David Parker and wife Shari Simon, who met when they both worked at Oracle, before they fled Silicon Valley for Moraga’s grape-thriving valleys. Now the Parkers have two daughters, Jessalyn, 7, and Ali, 5, who help with the “punching down” of the fruit.

You can find Parkmon wines at Amoroma Restaurant and Wine Shop (next to the Rheem Theater), Jackson’s Wines and Spirits in Lafayette and at posh Prima Restaurant in Walnut Creek.

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
Under: Moraga, Restaurants | No Comments »

Lafayette library, now more than a giant hole in the ground

Lafayette’s new Library and Learning Center is starting to take shape. Curious residents, who for weeks feasted their eyes on a giant hole in the ground as crews dug at the site, can now see rebar going up for the walls. Crews have begun pouring the basement level walls. The basement is expected to be finished by the end of October.

The webcam across the street from the library is capturing the construction. Click here to view.

The $43 million library is slated to open at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and First Street in 2009.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Review of coach complaints continues

An investigator has been hired to look into complaints that an Acalanes High School basketball coach uses demeaning language toward players and fosters an environment where athletes play out of fear, but the review won’t be done this week.

School district officials had said a report could reach the school board as early as Wednesday. But it isn’t ready yet, said Jim Negri, superintendent. He did not have a date when it would be.

Parents John and Diane Clouse and Scott and Toni Hampton filed claims against coach Russ Scheibley last month and want him dismissed. They say Scheibley’s behavior violates codes of conduct that call for respectful treatment of students and setting a positive example. The district is liable for his behavior, they added.

In addition to the complaints, the school board received e-mails from others in support of Scheibley.

— Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Lafayette is outted

Change the sheets. Company’s coming. You can blame “Sunset Magazine.” The guide to western living has made Lafayette a destination, says Mike Zampa.

We were anointed in an August story titled “Picnic in Lafayette.” The article urges day-trippers to “Spend a day by the reservoir in Northern California’s East Bay.” Read it yourself by visiting “,20633,1641592,00.html.>
Then weep. Why? Because this changes everything.

Lafayette used to be a nice place to live. You just didn’t want to visit there. Now we’ve been outted.

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Attempted copper theft; $5 million scam

From the Lafayette police log:

Saturday, Aug. 4
MALICIOUS MISCHIEF — Stanley Middle School officials discovered someone cut the copper pipes to the air conditioning units, causing freon to leak. The individual fled the campus without taking any property and left behind tools. Repairs were estimated at $1,600.

SCAM REPORT — A Stowe Lane resident reported at 7:30 a.m. that a caller told him to write a $500 check that would be picked up from his house. In exchange, the caller promised the resident would receive $5 million.

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda | No Comments »

Recycle those deadly weapons?

From the Lafayette police log

ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON — A 23-year-old Pleasant Hill man reportedly struck a 23-year-old Lafayette man in the head with a plastic water bottle, causing a concussion. The incident occurred at 1:45 a.m. July 31 on Carolyn Court.

GRAND THEFT — Springhill Elementary School officials reported someone dismantled 100 feet of copper piping from an air conditoning unit between July 25 and Aug. 2. The missing copper piping was valued at $5,000.

From the Orinda police log:

Tuesday, July 31
ATTEMPTED THEFT — A 70-year-old Orinda woman reported that she was walking her grandchildren to the library at 6 p.m. when a black Toyota Tacoma stopped and the driver asked for her purse. The woman didn’t understand because she doesn’t speak English, but her granddaughter got scared and told her to keep walking. They reached the library without incident.

Thursday, Aug. 2

THEFT — A La Espiral resident reported at 9 p.m. that someone stole six wooden sheep cutouts from her house. The sheep were purchased in Carmel 10 years ago, and were worth $900. They were white with black heads, except for one that was black.

MISSING JEWELRY — An El Toyonal resident reported at 2:38 p.m. that she was missing $9,500 in jewelry. She said she noticed the absence of the gold tennis bracelet and the ruby and diamond ring on April 25, but took this long to report it because she has been having trouble coping with the death of her husband.

COPPER THEFT — Glorietta Elementary School officials reported at 8:52 a.m. that someone stole copper wiring from an electrical conduit at the school. The wire was live before it was stolen, so police suspect the thief had electrical experience. The stolen copper wire was worth about $2,000.

Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2007
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda | No Comments »

Accident investigation `nearly complete`

By Scott Marshall
The investigation is nearly complete in a fatal March 22 accident on Stanley Boulevard, Lafayette police Chief Mike Hubbard said Wednesday.

A team of officers who specialize in reconstructing accidents is working on final speed calculations, and then the case will be forwarded to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators have reconstructed the accident based on physical evidence, dozens of witness interviews and an array of records, Hubbard said.

Prosecutors will decide what, if any, charges are filed in the case.

A man being investigated in connection with the fatal six-car crash was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, police said Wednesday. Police have not identified, charged or cited the driver.

The chain-reaction crash occurred when a BMW slammed into the rear of a Mazda on Stanley Boulevard at Pleasant Hill Road in front of Acalanes High School.
The Mazda driver, Dale Zenor, 55, of Walnut Creek, died. Five other people in vehicles in front of the Mazda were injured.

Reach Scott Marshall at 925-945-4782 or

Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2007
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Roads | 1 Comment »