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Archive for December, 2010

Lamorinda week in review

Just call ’em state champs.

New mayors and school board presidents.

Moraga economic development team gets to work.

Co-owner of embattled Orinda-based goat company defends practices.

A Santa Clara company is fined as a result of June’s electrical accident in Orinda.

The Lafayette Planning Commission rejects a controversial second-story addition in Burton Valley.

The sidewalks along Mt. Diablo Boulevard are getting an upgrade.

End of the road for the Mats. As for Saint Mary’s … San Diego State was too tough. Ah, that’s more like it.

Posted on Friday, December 10th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

What was the biggest Lamorinda story in 2010?

The Lamorinda Sun’s annual “Year in Review” issue is three weeks away, and I’m interested to hear what you think was the biggest story coming out of Lafayette, Moraga or Orinda this year. Was it Saint Mary’s march to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament? The continued discussion about the future of Lamorinda downtowns? Controversy over leaf blowers or the Dollar Tree?

Let us know in the comments.

Posted on Friday, December 10th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | 3 Comments »

CalOSHA fines Santa Clara-based window cleaning company in Orinda electrical accident

Just posted online. Will be updated later this afternoon.

A Santa Clara-based window washing company has been fined $17,550 after an Orinda electrical accident that injured two of their employees, one fatally.

The state Department of Occupational Safety and Health issued three citations Friday against the Delta Window Cleaning Company stemming from the June 5 accident.

Jose Herrera and Eduardo Guerra were severely burned when the bucket of their cherry picker came into contact with high-voltage transmission lines over downtown Orinda. Herrera died of his injuries nearly three weeks later.

The most serious citation says Herrera and Guerra came within one foot of the power lines despite regulations mandating they be at least 13 feet away.

Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2010
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Mendonca is Moraga mayor, Metcalf vice mayor

Mike Metcalf 2004Karen Mendonca 2008The Moraga Town Council last night appointed Karen Mendonca to be the town’s mayor in 2011. Mike Metcalf was appointed vice mayor.

Mendonca was the town’s vice mayor in 2010. Elected in 2008, this is her first appointment as mayor. Metcalf, elected in 2004, served as the town’s vice mayor in 2006 and mayor in 2007.

Also at the meeting, Councilman Dave Trotter and outgoing Mayor Ken Chew were sworn into second terms following their re-election in November.

The council will not meet again until January.

Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

A Christmas Story in Rheem

The New Rheem Theatre will be playing “A Christmas Story” this Saturday, Dec. 11, at 11:00 a.m. The screening is being put on by the California Independent Film Festival and is part of their Classic Films Series.

Scott Schwartz, who plays the character Flick in the movie, will attend the screening and will be available for a Q&A session afterwards. The Q&A session is included in the price of the ticket for the screening.

Tickets can be purchased at the Rheem Theatre box office or online at Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

For more information about the New Rheem Theatre, visit

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Under: Moraga | 1 Comment »

Smith mayor, Glazer vice mayor in Orinda

Steve GlazerVictoria Smith 2010 croppedVictoria Smith was appointed mayor of Orinda in 2011 at last night’s City Council meeting. Steve Glazer was appointed vice mayor.

For both council members, it will be their second time filling their respective posts. Smith served as the city’s mayor during 2008; Glazer was the city’s vice mayor — then called the mayor pro tem — in 2006 and mayor in 2006.

Smith takes the gavel from former Mayor Tom McCormick, who stepped down from the council altogether Tuesday night following his defeat in the Nov. 2 election.

Dean Orr, formerly of the Planning Commission, was sworn in to take McCormick’s seat.

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

No second story in Burton Valley neighborhood

The long fight for and against a second-story addition to the home at 623 Lucas Drive in the Burton Valley neighborhood of Lafayette finally came to an end Monday night. The Planning Commission denied the application for the addition, as four of the six members voted against it.

The application for the remodel was originally approved by the Design Review Board, but the Planning Commission received it on appeal from neighbors of the home.

The Planning Commission denied the request based on the fact that they believed the addition to the home would take away from its “design compatibility” with the rest of the neighborhood.

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

El Balazo owners in more trouble

When the El Balazo in Lafayette closed its doors in March, there were whispers of the owners of the restaurant chain having some major tax issues. They also had an issue in 2008 when some of their employees were caught in an immigration raid.

All of the whispers and rumors seem to be more than that, as the owners, Marino Sandoval, 57, and Nicole Sandoval, 50, have both been charged with 20 counts of tax evasion, conspiracy and employing illegal immigrants

The couple has been arraigned in U.S. District Court and have since been set free on a $100,000 bond.

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Restaurants | No Comments »

Mt. Diablo Boulevard sidewalks getting upgrade

UPDATE 12/13: Per City Engineer Tony Coe, the city will spend $350,000 from its downtown streetlights replacement reserve fund to meet its matching funds requirement.

The sidewalks in Lafayette are going to get a whole lit more spiffy. The city has won a $1.2 million federal Transportation for Livable Communities grant to upgrade the sidewalks on Mt. Diablo Boulevard between Lafayette Circle/Oak Grove Road and Mountain View Drive.

The grant will pay for the removal of the old concrete sidewalks and replace them with brick paving. The design will also include stone planters, street furniture, decorative billboards, Victorian-style street lights and public art.

Portions of the street, in front of the Lafayette Mercantile Building as well as the Town Centre shops across the street, already have some of those improvements. The new sidewalks will replicate much of what is already in place, said City Manager Steven Falk.

“It will provide a little more integration and coherence to the downtown,” Falk said.

The city hopes to finalize the project design shortly after the first of the year and have construction begin sometime next summer, he said.

The City Council will receive an overview of the plan at a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Lafayette library.

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Roads | 1 Comment »

The rain will warm things up…a little

While the rain is expected to carry on for a while, the temperatures will be a little warmer this week.

The rain is forecasted to continue through tonight and into tomorrow morning. There is also a good chance of rain forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday.

On the bright side of the current weather situation, those windshields shouldn’t be frozen in the morning this week. Overnight lows will be in the mid to high 40s, which is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than overnight lows have been recently.

Daytime high temperatures will be in the mid to high 50s with some sunshine expected next weekend.

Posted on Sunday, December 5th, 2010
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »