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Archive for April, 2010

Miramonte student’s film selected for film festival

Kate-Marie Engberg’s comedy film “Doug Bruce: At the Park” was recently selected to be shown at the Project YouthView Film Festival. Her film will be among eight student short films shown out of more than 30 that were submitted.

Engberg is currently a senior at Miramonte High School. She will be a film student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts next year.

The Project YouthView Film Festival will take place at the Alameda Theatre on May 6 at 6:00 p.m. Audience members will vote on the films to determine the audience award, while a group of judges will also award a film.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2010
Under: Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

College Fair on Saturday at Saint Mary’s

Saint Mary’s will host the 2010 East Bay College Connection’s College Fair next Saturday, May 8, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. The fair is free to attend and is open to all high school students and their parents, as well as teachers and counselors.

Representatives from colleges throughout the state and country will be in attendance to discuss their schools and ask any questions prospective students may have.

A variety of workshops will also be available throughout the length of the fair, focusing on college-related topics including financial aid and being a student-athlete.

For more information about the college fair and to see a list of colleges that will be in attendance, visit the home page for the event.

Posted on Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Under: Lamorinda, Moraga, Schools | 1 Comment »

BART adding more bike police

After considerable amounts of crime on BART and in BART parking lots, BART officials have announced that they will continue to add more officers on bikes through the summer. Many BART stations have already seen an increase in officers. BART officials have stated that they could add as many as 40 sworn officers and 24 community service officers by the end of summer.

The increased presence of officers is expected to produce a decline in crime, particularly a decline in car break-ins. Expect to also see an increase in parking tickets being handed out as that will be the focus of the community service officers.

Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Orinda | No Comments »

Claim against SMC professor turning into he said/she said

Local forums and blogs have lit up with debate about an incident at Saint Mary’s College where a student has accused a vocal instructor of racial insensitivity stemming from another student’s singing of “Old Man River” in class. With some exceptions, most are saying this is a case of political correctness gone too far.

They’ve gotten new fuel for that argument with a statement released by Saint Mary’s student Paige Palmer, who says the version of “Old Man River” sung did not contain derogatory language. She also disputes E.J. Youngblood’s assertion that following the song, instructor Louis Lebherz told the student who had just sang it he was “brave” for performing it in front of a “gangster” like Youngblood.

(Full disclosure: I attended Saint Mary’s from 2002-2006).

It’s clear this situation is fast becoming a case of he said/she said. What’s (maybe) surprising is that people who were so quick to discount what Youngblood said are readily accepting Palmer’s statement as fact. And it’s clear the facts are still murky. If it’s not fair to judge Lebherz based solely on what Youngblood says (and it isn’t), it similarly is not fair to judge Youngblood based only on Palmer’s statement. Certainly, Youngblood and Palmer weren’t the only students in the classroom that day; the school has an obligation to talk to the others and find out what happened.

Politically, Saint Mary’s is in a tricky spot. Accreditors in 2008 criticized the Catholic college for a lack of diversity and poor race relations. Those same accreditors commended the school earlier this year for improvements, although many students say more needs to be done.

Lebherz has issued a written apology to Youngblood, and the school has forced him to apologize to the class and undergo diversity training. School officials would not comment on his employment status.

You can read Paige Palmer’s statement here. And here is Youngblood’s YouTube video detailing his allegations. Finally, here is Bay Area News Group higher education reporter Matt Krupnick’s article from yesterday regarding the incident.

Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Under: Moraga, Schools | 1 Comment »

Cinco De Mayo in Moraga

Moraga’s 2nd Annual Cinco De Mayo Festival will take place on Wednesday, May 5 (surprise, surprise!) from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The festival will be held at Hacienda de las Flores, located at 2100 Donald Drive.

A live mariachi band will be playing throughout the festival. Activities available for kids will include pinatas, tortilla making and a variety of games. Mexican food and drinks, including Margaritas and beer, will be available for purchase.

Parking will be available at AAAAA Storage on Moraga Road next to the 76 gas station. A shuttle will take people from there to the festival.

Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Judge rules University of Wyoming must let William Ayers speak

Story here from AP via Chicago Tribune.

Ayers is speaking on the invitation of a student. The school tried to block him from speaking out of safety concerns.

Ayers spoke at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga last year, although he was invited by the school, and college officials defended the decision to bring him to campus. A number of demonstrators came to campus that night to protest his presence.

Posted on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Another race issue at Saint Mary’s

A singing instructor at Saint Mary’s may lose his job following an incident, in which the professor had his class sing “Old Man River,” a song that includes derogatory names for African-Americans.

The incident was reported to the college by an African-American student in the class who found the song offensive.

The instructor, Louis Lehberz, has apologized to the class, written a letter to the student who reported the incident and attended mandatory diversity training.

The reporting student believes that Lehberz should be removed from the college completely. Officials at Saint Mary’s have stated that Lehberz’s future is under discussion.

Posted on Monday, April 26th, 2010
Under: Moraga, Schools | No Comments »

Next St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event

A number of people have called me today to ask about how they can get involved with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and when the next opportunity is for them to shave their heads.

You can read my story from this morning about such a head-shaving event in Moraga this past Saturday here. St. Baldrick’s sponsors these head-shavings all around the country as a way of raising money for and awareness of children fighting cancer.

The next one in our area will be at 4:30 p.m. at the Civic Park Community Center Assembly Hall, 1375 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. You can find more information about it online here.

And if you notice a few more bald heads patrolling the mean streets of Moraga in the coming weeks, here’s why:

St. Baldrick's 02

St. Baldrick's 01

Posted on Monday, April 26th, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Movie in the park

The Moraga Commons Park will host an outdoor movie screening of the movie “Up” on Friday night. The movie is scheduled to start around 8:20 p.m. to allow for darkness.

The movie screening is open to the public and is free to attend. Food and beverages will be available at the movie, or those attending can bring their own food as well.

In addition to the movie, a raffle will be held with a variety of prizes including copies of the movie “Up.” Raffle tickets will be available before the movie starts.

If you have any questions, call Melanie Giedlin at (925) 878-1457.

Posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Three local teachers nominated for Teacher of the Year honor

Mary Dolan, Brian Mangold and Alice Noyes were nominated by their school districts for the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year honor. The three teachers will go through a process that includes interviews, classroom observations, a speech and an application screening. The Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year will then be decided based on these factors and will be announced at an awards dinner in September.

Dolan is the Bilingual Specialist at Del Rey Elementary School in Orinda. Mangold is a Special Education teacher at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette. Alice Noyes is a fifth grade teacher at Donald Rheem Elementary School in Moraga.

Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »