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Archive for April, 2010

Moraga looking at energy-efficient street lights

While Moraga is asking property owners to increase the assessment fees for the town’s street lights, they’re also trying to get the ball rolling on replacing those lights with energy-efficient LED ones.

Town Engineer Jill Mercurio said last week the town is looking into the option, but the upfront costs are a barrier. It would cost several hundred thousand dollars to replace the whole system she said.

The town has applied for some money to get the ball rolling on this. They’ve asked for a $15,000 an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and $15,000 from an energy efficiency loan from the California Energy Commission, as well as $5,000 in PG&E rebates. That would pay the $35,000 needed to upgrade 48 lights along Moraga Road and Moraga Way, Mercurio said, bringing annual savings of more than $3,200.

Meanwhile, over at EastBayDaze, several are questioning whether the town even needs street lights, with several people saying they’d prefer to see them turned off.

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

“An Evening of Champions”

The Campolindo High School Sports Boosters’ annual “An Evening of Champions” event will take place on Saturday, April 24, at Holy Trinity Church, located at 1700 School St. in Moraga. The event will start at 6:00 p.m.

The event will honor all of those involved with Campolindo’s sports programs, including coaches and players. The event will raise money for the programs through ticket sales. Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased using the form that is available through the Campolindo Sports Boosters website.

The guest speaker for this year’s event is announcer Dick Callahan, who has announced for the Oakland A’s, Golden State Warriors, Cal and Saint Mary’s.

Raffle tickets are also available for sale and are $20 each. The winner of the raffle will receive a Vespa S150.

Posted on Sunday, April 11th, 2010
Under: Moraga, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Moraga’s Rheem Theater to close

It seems the second wind the Rheem Theater has received over the past few months wasn’t enough to sustain it. The historic art deco theater will close April 16, according to the Moraga Citizens’ Network.

Built in the late 1950s, the theater is an anchor in the Rheem shopping center, and its closure is sure to hurt this already devastated retail area.

The community had rallied behind the theater last year after the owners said they may have to close shop. That gave the facility new life, although it apparently wasn’t enough.

The last major event at the theater will be the finale in the Classic Movies Matinees series: a screening of “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The screening will take place at 1:30 p.m. April 14.

Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

High school baseball update

All three high local high school baseball teams are off to great starts this season, as they occupy the top three spots in the DFAL and have all fared well in non-league play.

Miramonte has been the best so far. The Matadors are a perfect 12-0 this season and sit in first place in the DFAL, winning both of their league games. They have dominated opponents by scoring 111 runs and only allowing 17.

Acalanes is tied with Miramonte for first in the DFAL with a 2-0 league record. The Dons are 11-2 overall, outscoring opponents 98-35 this season.

Campolindo is tied for third in DFAL with a 1-1 record and are 9-4 overall. The Cougars have a huge week ahead of them with games against Miramonte and Acalanes.

Posted on Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Run to fight the AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe

On Sunday, April 25, the J.F. Kapnek Trust will be hosting its seventh annual 5K/1K Family Fun Run. The event will start at 9:00 a.m. at Miramonte High School.

In addition to the “Fun Run,” there will also be food, music from Zimbabwe and various other activities.

All proceeds from the event will be used by the Kapnek Trust to help those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe.

All runners will receive food and a t-shirt. Runners can register for the event at any time by visiting this link: At that link, there are also pledge forms runners can print out to help raise more money for the cause.

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2010
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Duuuuude … The police logs for April 8

The highlight from this week’s police logs:

An Orinda police officer observed a 19-year-old man speeding and pulled him over at Camino Pablo and Camino Sobrante. The man told the officer he had lost his driver’s license and offered a bank card as a form of ID. The officer also smelled marijuana in the vehicle. While running a check on the man’s identity, the man’s vehicle suddenly rolled backward, hitting the officer’s patrol car. When confronted about this by the officer, the man laughed and said the vehicle “just rolled” after he turned it off. The officer asked the man if he was high, to which the man responded he was. The officer then asked the man if he knew that it was illegal to smoke marijuana while driving. The man said he didn’t. The man then said he used marijuana because he has Crohn’s disease, but he did not have a medical marijuana card.

The man was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

There were also DUI arrests on March 27 in the 00 block of Orinda Way and on April 1 at Moraga Way and Glorietta Blvd.

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Orinda crime statistics for March

The Orinda Police Department made a total of 13 arrests during the month of March. Four arrests were made for driving under the influence, and three were made for drunk in public. There were two arrests made for domestic battery and one for making terrorist threats. Of the remaining three arrests, one was made for an unidentified misdemeanor and two were made from warrants.

Three vehicles were reported stolen in March, while two stolen vehicles were recovered. There were six instances of burglary, five of grand theft and five of petty theft. There were also three cases of vandalism reported.

The Orinda Police Department responded to 123 false residential alarms in March.

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Slow going for Orinda downtown discussions

It’s safe to say the Orinda Planning Commission has not gotten through as many of the recommendations in the downtown plan as they would have liked. Out of 10 groups of recommendations (land use, parking, etc.) they’ve only made it through one in nearly two months.

The commission began their debate Feb. 9 with the qualitative standards for downtown projects, which they got through that night. But the downtown plan was not on the agenda again until March 23. That night, earlier agenda items ran so late the commission was only able to take public comment on the plan and state some general comments about it’s land use section.

At last night’s meeting, Chairman Dean Orr didn’t even even bother trying to dive into the downtown plan. As discussion of a wireless antenna project ran close to two hours, Orr decided to again take public comment on the downtown plan but continue the item to April 27 without debate.

Orr has the difficult job of trying to move the downtown plan forward while still making sure the public has a chance to comment on it. He made clear last night that beginning the downtown debate past 10 p.m. is a “disservice” to residents. Thus, continuing the item to the next meeting rather than talking about it in front of an empty auditorium.

Still, all of this isn’t pleasing some critics, including Ann O’Connell-Nye, who has written letters to local newspapers decrying the downtown plan and the process that crafted it. She accused the commission and the Planning Process Review Task Force (which came up with the recommendations) of stifling debate by changing meeting dates, putting off the discussion and limiting information given to the public. That drew a heated response from Commissioner Chris Kniel, who countered that the PPRTF and downtown plan process has gone on for two years with multiple opportunities for public input at meetings which were properly noticed.

The commission met yesterday, by the way, because the City Council schedule was changed. The council usually meets the first and third Tuesdays, but because of vacations, they moved their meeting to April 13. The commission then had to move their meeting from April 13 to last night.

The pace of the downtown debate will pick up considerably at the commission’s next meeting on April 27; they’ve devoted the entire agenda to the matter. That means they could get to the most controversial part of the plan, raising height limits to 55 feet in some parts of the downtown, that night.

You can read documents from the Planning Process Review Task Force here.

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Under: Orinda | 1 Comment »

Lafayette woman killed in crash near Bakersfield

The Kern County Coroner’s office has confirmed that Spencer Lynne Neale, of Lafayette, was one of three people killed in a head-on collision on Highway 46 about 50 miles northwest of Bakersfield on Monday. The Campolindo High School graduate was 18. You can read Times’ reporter Robert Salonga’s story here.

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Moraga | No Comments »

Moraga bank robbed on Tuesday

The Union Bank, located at 1460 Moraga Road, was robbed Tuesday morning around 9:30 a.m. by two men carrying guns.

According to police, the two men demanded that everyone in the bank get on the ground, while one of the men entered the bank’s vault to steal money. The amount of money stolen from the vault was not immediately known.

The men fled from the bank in an older dark-blue or purple Ford Escort with a paper rear license plate. Witnesses described the two men to police as black, wearing hooded sweatshirts, gloves and ski masks.

Police are asking for help from the public. If you have any information that could help, call Lt. Jeff Price at 925-888-7049.

Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Under: Crime, Moraga | No Comments »