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Archive for November, 2009

Contra Costa Wind Symphony playing in Lafayette on Sunday

The Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church will be the location of the Contra Costa Wind Symphony’s “Wind Symphony Favorites” concert on Sunday, Nov. 15. The concert is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

At the concert, the Contra Costa Wind Symphony will play some of their personal favorite pieces as well as some other well-known pieces. The Symphony will play “Gandalf: The Wizard” from The Lord of the Rings and the score from the film Dances with Wolves

Tickets for the concert will cost $10 and will be sold at the door.

The Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church is located at 49 Knox Drive in Lafayette.

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009
Under: Lafayette, Music, Orinda | No Comments »

Pete Wilson to step down from MOFD Board of Directors at the end of the year

The Moraga-Orinda Fire District Board of Directors will soon be looking for a new member. Pete Wilson, president of the board, has submitted his resignation, effective Dec. 16, a district official said.

Wilson’s wife told me this afternoon that he will be stepping down for health reasons.

While the board vice president, currently Frank Sperling, would typically take over if the president steps down, that won’t be necessary in this case because the board will elect a new president and vice president for 2010 at their Dec. 16 meeting, as they typically do at the last meeting of the year.

The board will discuss the vacancy at their meeting Wednesday.

Wilson, an Orinda resident, was elected to the board in 1997 and has served as president in 2005 and again this year. He was appointed to the old Orinda Fire District board and was part of the group that wrote the application to LAFCO to merge the Moraga and Orinda Fire Districts.

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Falk takes a (long) look back at (long) new library process

You can read my take on the new Lafayette library here. But if you want City Manager Steven Falk’s take, look no further than the sole item in his Friday summary, where he not-so-succinctlydeftly sums up the long process to get the library built:

After twenty years of fundraising, fifteen years of planning, and the study of thirteen different properties; after choosing the most central site in Lafayette, with half of the people living north and half south, half east and half west, with two schools just blocks away; after designing and constructing with the great Art Miller and Terry Murphy the most beautiful stone, wood, and glass Veterans Memorial Building in California; after more than 700 people dropped by on a rainy day to check out the architecture competition and vote for their favorite library design; after Roger Falcone and Bob Fisher dreamed up the Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium and then went out and convinced twelve of the Bay Area’s top cultural institutions that this was an idea worth supporting; after Ann Merideth fired two different grant writers and locked herself in her office for several months to write the State grant application; after a hair raising day in Sacramento with presentations by Richard Whitmore, Roger Falcone, Gloria Duffy from the Commonwealth Club, and Elizabeth Stage from the Lawrence Hall of Science, where the Library Bond Board deliberated until late in the afternoon, never once mentioning the Lafayette grant application; after Assemblywoman Lois Wolk finally spoke up and said, “What about Lafayette? Wasn’t that the most innovative application we received?”; after Anne Grodin, on the drive home somewhere around Davis after winning the $11.9M State grant, said on a cell phone to a reporter, “We’re not driving, we’re FLYING home!”; after Wade Killefer and Barbara Flammang presented most elegant granite and teak concept to the Design Review Commission (and finally delivered the construction drawings); after the low bid was awarded to Lafayette’s own Jerry Overaa and Company; after Jerry said to the City Manager, “You couldn’t have designed a more complicated and difficult project to build”; after Gwenn Lennox and Kathy Merchant took over the fundraising and friendraising efforts, marshalling the forces of a thousand volunteers and treating the community to a dozen celebrity studded events; after the Friends of the Lafayette Library made the first major gift of $1M; after the Cronks and the Mulvaneys and the Lesher Foundation, and so many others made lead gifts that led the way toward a $14M fundraising effort; after Tony Coe and his amazing staff and project management crew kept pushing and prodding, checking and rechecking, and fixing problems on the fly; after Mayor Don Tatzin devoted a year of his life to help with the project, work with the tenants, and develop a sustainable financial plan for the building; after Linda Peterson suggested that we hire the Oakland Museum of California to manage the selection and manufacture of public art for the building; after the dimensions had to be recalculated, after the Community Hall floor buckled, after the first granite arrived with pink splotches and the new stuff had to be harvested and shipped from India; after Anne Cain and Susan Weaver and their hardworking librarian crews moved more than 50,000 books into the new building; after Rhonda Andronico and Rene Rogers planned what some people are saying was the best party they have ever been to; after tomorrow morning at 10AM, after Brian Goggin unveils his “Speechless” sculpture, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center will be open.

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Update on Lafayette Farmers’ Market

At the Nov. 9 Lafayette City Council meeting, the City Council announced that city staff members would begin working with the Contra Costa Certified Farmers’ Markets on a contract to make the Lafayette Farmers’ Market a regular occurrence.

The City Council said the potential draft contract would ensure a regular Lafayette Farmers’ Market from May to October in Lafayette Plaza.  Final approval of the move to begin work on the contract will be voted on at the Lafayette City Council meeting on Nov. 23.

The Lafayette Farmers’ Market had three “trial” dates in September that proved to be successful, despite concerns about parking.

Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Packed house at Lafayette/Walnut Creek Veterans Day ceremony

Since my story today about Veterans Day ceremonies took a decidedly regional approach, there wasn’t much space for items from yesterday’s joint Lafayette/Walnut Creek event at the Veterans Memorial Building in Lafayette.

The hour-long event drew a standing-room-only crowd. There were no official counts, but the building’s Web site says the full hall seats 340 in auditorium mode, and there were easily dozens of people (myself included) standing in the back and along the sides.

Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin and Walnut Creek Mayor Gary Skrel both gave remarks, and the keynote address was given by retired Marine Corps Col. Allan Cruz. He said Veterans Day is not just a time to remember veterans’ sacrifice, but to honor and earn that sacrifice in our actions.

“While it is important and easy to say it is important, the thing that makes it valid is to live a good life,” he said.

A number of veterans were singled out for special recognition, including a Walnut Creek couple who met during World War II and will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary soon, and Stephan Zusman, an Acalanes grad who has served two tours of duty in Iraq.

All veterans present were recognized when the Walnut Creek Concert Band played “Armed Forced Salute,” a medley of all five military hymns. Veterans from each branch of the military rose to be acknowledged when their respective hymn was played: Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force and Navy.

When the Navy hymn played, Walt Snow, a Rossmoor resident who was a naval flight instructor during World War II, turned around in his front row seat, raised his hands high and with a big smile on his face, saluted the audience and his fellow sailors.

Walt parked up the hill near me, and I walked to and from the ceremony with him. He told me the event was nice, but he’s had enough war.

“I think its good to have the celebration,” he said. “I wish the wars would stop.”

“We went through a lot of trouble,” he continued. “I lost a lot of my friends in the fleet. Good guys.”

Herman Alvarado, a World War II Navy veteran, has spent the last 25 years volunteering at a VA hospital. He said people sometimes forget the sacrifices veterans made.

“I believe (by) celebrating (we) make the people more concious about what it’s all about,” he said. “Many people ignore all the sacrifices we’ve been through.”

Bob Tharratt served in the Army and Air Force from 1943-1945. He was shot down in Europe and spent 9 months as a POW in Germany. He said it’s important to continue commemorating Veterans Day, especially at a time when the country is involved in two wars.

“The more people understand, the less chance (the enemy will) have. When we have people that are against democracy, against freedom of the press, freedom of people, somebody has to go to the rescue,” he said.

Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Fall sports NCS update

The NCS Water Polo Championships are already on to the semifinals, which will take place on Thursday. On the girls side, Campolindo has advanced to the semifinals, which they will host Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Miramonte was knocked out in the second round, while Acalanes fell in the quarterfinals. On the boys side, Acalanes will play in one semifinal Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Campolindo against San Ramon Valley. Miramonte will host the other semifinal against De La Salle also at 5:45 p.m. The Campolindo boys lost to De La Salle in the quarterfinals.

The NCS Girls Volleyball Division III Championships start tonight. Campolindo earned the fourth seed and will be hosting El Cerrito tonight at 7:00 p.m. Acalanes earned the tenth seed and will be playing at Moreau Catholic at 7:00 p.m. Miramonte earned the overall top seed and a first-round bye. Their first game will be Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. at Miramonte.

The NCS Girls Tennis Championships will take place Nov. 17 and 18 in Santa Rosa. Anastasia Kaiser, of Miramonte, will be the lone Lamorinda representative in the singles bracket. The only local doubles team will be Sarah Holden and Natalie Korich from Campolindo.

Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

“At Mrs. Dalloway’s Party” begins Thursday

Opening night of Saint Mary’s College Performing Arts Theatre Program’s production of “At Mrs. Dalloway’s Party” is this Thursday, Nov. 12. There will also be shows on Nov. 13, 14, 20 and 21. All of these shows start at 8:00 p.m. in the LeFevre Theater on the campus of Saint Mary’s. There is also a 2:00 p.m. matinee show on Sunday, Nov. 22.

The play is comprised of adaptations of a number of short stories by Virginia Woolf.

General admission tickets for all shows are $15. Saint Mary’s students can purchase tickets for $8, while students of other schools can get a ticket for $12 with a valid school ID card. Tickets can be purchased by calling (925)631-4670.

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette Wells Fargo robbed

A man escaped from the Wells Fargo in Lafayette with an unconfirmed amount of cash around 11:30 a.m. this morning. After entering the bank, the man handed a teller a note demanding the cash.

The man was last seen running toward the Lafayette BART station where trains were stopped while police searched for the man. Police were unable to find the man.

The man who committed the robbery has been described by police as a black man in his 20s, 5 feet 6 inches tall with dreadlocks and a large scab on the tip of his nose. The robber was seen wearing a blue hat, black-and-blue striped shirt, blue jeans and a red Christmas tie.

Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2009
Under: Crime, Lafayette | No Comments »

Lamorinda preschool fair this Thursday

The Oakwood Athletic Club in Lafayette will host the Lamorinda Moms’ 12th Annual Preschool Fair this Thursday, Nov. 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Over 30 Lamorinda preschools will be represented at the fair by school directors and parents of children attending that school. The representatives will be able to discuss the benefits of their school as well as answer any questions parents may have.

All families attending will receive an informational packet comparing all of the different options children in Lamorinda have for preschool.

The event is free for all, and children are welcome to attend.

Posted on Sunday, November 8th, 2009
Under: Lamorinda, Schools | No Comments »

Campolindo beats Acalanes; Miramonte wins

The Campolindo football team went into their meeting with Acalanes Friday night looking at the game as a “must-win.” The Cougars played one of their best games of the year as they beat host Acalanes, 38-27. Tommy Stephens, the Campolindo quarterback, proved to be the star as he completed 19 of his 26 passes for 255 yards. He also threw two touchdown passes. The Cougars improved to 3-2 in DFAL play and 5-4 overall. Acalanes dropped to 4-2 in DFAL play and 5-5 overall.

Miramonte won their game against host Dougherty Valley, 14-7, on Friday night. The Matadors improved to 2-3 in DFAL play and 4-5 overall.

Posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2009
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »