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Archive for July, 2009

What is papaverine?

Much of the attention in the Joseph Loudon case has now become focused on papaverine, the medication found in Loudon’s system, according to the coroner’s report.

As mentioned in the story that ran this morning, papaverine is used to improve blood flow and control high blood pressure. It relaxes the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily through the body, and is also used to treat men with impotence. It’s a prescription medication, but Orinda police Chief Bill French said Loudon was not taking any prescription medications at the time of his death.

Still unknown are how Loudon ingested papaverine and where he got it from. According to the National Institutes of Health, papaverine is taken in tablet form, but French said yesterday it can also be injected. He also said this is the first time the department had heard of the drug.

A spokeswoman with the UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy I chatted with briefly yesterday seemed unsure if anyone there would be able to speak as an expert on papaverine.

So does anybody have any information on this drug? Loudon’s blood-alcohol level was described as “very low” and French said it was the combination of alcohol and papaverine that led to his death. The department was unaware of any recreational use, but why this medication was in Loudon’s system remains unanswered.

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Possible underground explosion in Orinda

Moraga-Orinda firefighters were called to the sight of a possible underground explosion this afternoon on Moraga Way.

Calls came in around 2:30 p.m. reporting a potential explosion of underground electrical equipment. Reports said that smoke was coming from the ground in the area.

The problem caused more than 100 PG&E customers to lose their power for part of the day, which PG&E was working to restore throughout the afternoon.

The Mechanics Bank on Moraga Way was blocked off due to its location near where the explosion was reported happening.

There has not been an official report yet as to what exploded.

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Nothing quite like triple-digit temperatures

If anyone was questioning whether or not summer was here yet, today was a summer day that makes sure everyone knows it’s here. Temperatures had reached 90 degrees early this morning and tipped into triple digits in the afternoon.

The high in the Lamorinda area registered at 101 degrees, a noticeable difference from the recent temperatures averaging in the mid to low 80s.

The forecast for Wednesday has a high of 92 degrees, although the high today was forecasted below the 101 it reached.

Starting Thursday the high temperatures are expected to drop into the mid-80s again throughout the weekend.

Posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Many Lamorinda employees late to work after Caldecott crash

Employees of businesses all over Lamorinda were late to work this morning after a crash in the Caldecott Tunnel blocked both lanes for about an hour.

The crash involved a Toyota Scion and a vehicle carrier – a truck that hauls cars. The Scion flipped and came to a rest on its roof just before 7:30 a.m. when the two vehicles collided.

One lane of the crash was eventually cleared by several drivers stuck in the tunnel when they flipped the Scion back over and into just one lane of the tunnel. The tunnel was not completely cleared until almost 8:30 a.m.

There were no injuries reported related to the crash.

Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2009
Under: Lamorinda, Roads | No Comments »

Smaller raise for Lafayette City Manager this year

The Lafayette City Council is expected to approve a small raise for City Manager Steven Falk tonight, bringing his salary to $211,438.42, up 1 percent from 209,349.97.

Last year Falk received a 6 percent increase.

Falk told me he did not seek a raise due to the city’s declining revenues, but Mayor Don Tatzin said the council has been pleased with Falk’s work and felt a cost of living raise was appropriate.

Lafayette employees covered by the labor agreement receive raises based on a performance evaluation. Those employees will be receiving an average increase of about 6 percent for the coming fiscal year.

Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2009
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Saint Mary’s Summer Wine Festival scheduled for Aug. 16

Saint Mary’s College’s Fifth Annual Summer Wine Festival is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 16 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. The wine festival will take place in the Soda Activity Center on the campus of the college.

Wines from more than 25 different California wineries will be available for tasting. Appetizers and microbrews will also be available at the event.

A silent auction will be run with proceeds going to Saint Mary’s general scholarship fund.

Tickets cost $25 if purchased before July 31 and $30 after July 31. VIP tickets cost $40. To purchase tickets, call (925) 631-4200 or visit

Parking will be available for free in on-campus parking lots.

Posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette Farmers’ Market

One of the items scheduled to be discussed at the upcoming July 13 Lafayette City Council meeting is whether or not the Lafayette Farmers’ Market is a realistic goal for the city.

There are currently five dates set for the Farmer’s Market to test whether or not it can be successful without raising too many issues. The dates are Friday, August 2 and 28, and Thursday, September 3, 10 and 17. All dates are scheduled to run from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

The scheduled site is the Lafayette Park Plaza – the grassy area near Squirrel’s and the Park Theater. Those against the event are arguing that there is not enough parking and that it could affect traffic and the local businesses in the vicinity.

Posted on Saturday, July 11th, 2009
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Lamorinda Pétanque Field hosting FPUSA National Championships

The Lamorinda Pétanque Field, located between the Lafayette Community Center and Lafayette Community Park on Saint Mary’s Road, is hosting the 2009 Federation of Pétanque USA National Championships on July 25 and 26.

On Saturday, the mixed doubles tournament will take place, starting at 9:00 a.m. The men’s and women’s doubles tournaments will take place on Sunday with both tournaments starting at 9:00 a.m.

The Lamorinda Pétanque Club is acting as the host club for the tournament. The club plays year-round, meeting Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. during daylight savings time and 1:00 p.m. the rest of the year.

For more information about the tournament or the club, visit

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2009
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Sports | No Comments »

Calling all Tweeters

For story links, headlines, breaking news and other random observations about Lamorinda, follow me at

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Local music events

The Moraga Commons continues to host their summer music concerts every Thursday night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. On July 16, the Dave Russell Band will perform country music. On July 23, Culann’s Hounds will perform celtic rock music.

Orinda Theatre Square hosts their summer music series every other Thursday night with the next concert set for July 23. The Michael Robinson Band will be performing from 4:00-7:00 p.m.

The 2009 Orinda Idol finalists have two performances coming up as well. The finalists will perform at the Orinda Farmer’s Market on Saturday, July 18, from 12:15-1:00 p.m. They will also perform Tuesday, July 21, from 5:30-6:15 p.m. at the Orinda Community Center’s Concert in the Park.

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Lamorinda, Moraga, Music, Orinda | No Comments »