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Archive for January, 2011

Another earthquake shakes the area

The night owls of Lamorinda would have noticed another earthquake shaking the area around shortly after Sunday turned into Monday. A 3.0-magnitude earthquake hit the area at 12:31 a.m.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake was centered approximately 2 miles northwest of Concord, making it one of several earthquakes to shake up the Lamorinda area during the past few days.

An earthquake registering a magnitude of 3.2, as well as several other smaller quakes shook the area the night before.

For more information on all of the local earthquakes, visit the USGS’s earthquake tracker.

Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Wake up to a shake up?

While most of our friendly Lamorinda residents likely slept through the night, some certainly felt the earthquake that struck around 3:30 a.m. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake recorded a magnitude of 3.2, one of the biggest to strike the area recently.

The earthquake was centered one mile south of Alamo, so it was an ultra local earthquake for Lamorinda.

A 2.2-magnitude earthquake struck a few hours later at 5:39 a.m. and was centered in the same general area as the 3.2-magnitude earthquake.

For more information about the two earthquakes, visit the USGS’s local earthquake page, which is online here.

Posted on Sunday, January 30th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Campolindo Jazz Dinner Dance

The Campolindo High School Jazz Band will be hosting and performing at their 2011 Campolindo Jazz Dinner Dance on Saturday, Feb. 26, from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. The event will take place at Temple Isaiah, located at 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.

Campolindo’s two jazz combos, the Impro-Visors and the Jazz-Manian Devils, will be performing a variety of jazz music throughout the night.

Tickets for the dinner dance are $55 each if purchased before Feb. 7 and $60 if purchased after. Proceeds from the event will go to the Campolindo music program.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit, or call Diane Haley at 925-631-1439.

Posted on Saturday, January 29th, 2011
Under: Moraga, Music, Schools | No Comments »

Friday night high school basketball and soccer

Acalanes and Miramonte split the Lamorinda rivalry games in basketball on Friday night. The Acalanes boys beat Miramonte, 61-54, while the Miramonte girls won their match-up with Acalanes, 57-46. Dougherty Valley proved to be too much for Campolindo, as the Campolindo boys fell, 49-42, and the girls lost, 60-48.

After Friday night’s games, in the boys DFAL standings, Miramonte is tied for second, and Acalanes and Campolindo are tied for fourth. On the girls side, Campolindo, Miramonte and Acalanes are in second through fourth, respectively.

In DFAL soccer, it was almost a perfect night for the Lamorinda teams. All three boys teams won, as Acalanes beat Alhambra, 3-0, Campolindo beat Dublin, 3-1, and Miramonte beat Las Lomas, 2-1.  The Campolindo girls beat Dublin, 2-1, while the Miramonte girls tied Las Lomas, 1-1.

Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Saint Mary’s finally wins at Gonzaga

The Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team was able to do something tonight that it hasn’t done since 1995. The Gaels beat Gonzaga on the road in Spokane.

The 73-71 win included a  game-winning shot from Mickey McConnell, who scored 27 points in the game to lead all players.

With the win, the Gaels remain perfect in West Coast Conference play with a record of 6-0. They are currently in first in the WCC, one game ahead of USF, who the Gaels beat 71-57 on Jan. 13.

They are also 18-3 overall and currently ranked 24th in the nation.

Saint Mary’s next game is at the University of Portland on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Under: Moraga, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Moraga council OKs Rancho Laguna II

For once, a Rancho Laguna II hearing that ended before (well before) midnight. This will be posted online sometime Thursday morning and updated later in the day:

MORAGA — After years of planning and months of appeal hearings, a controversial hillside housing development finally got the approval of the Town Council on Wednesday.

Council members OK’d the Rancho Laguna II project, which would place 27 houses in the hills just east of Rheem Boulevard near St. Marys Road. Nineteen of the lots would be near the top of a ridge located on the property; the other eight would be down the hill and closer to Rheem Boulevard.

The Planning Commission approved the project in August 2009, but several residents opposed to building homes near the ridge appealed that decision to the council soon after.

To address opponents’ and council members’ concerns, the developer realigned the project’s main street and relocated the three southernmost houses. Project foes said they would reluctantly support the proposal if one more lot was moved to the street level, something the developer was unwilling to do.

Mayor Karen Mendonca and Councilman Howard Harpham agreed with planning staff that relocating a fourth house was unnecessary and voted to approve the development. Councilman Dave Trotter voted no. Councilmen Mike Metcalf and Ken Chew live within 500 feet of the project and recused themselves from the discussion.

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Mt. Diablo Boulevard to see more bus service

Route 25 of the County Connection bus service recently had its route changed to try and serve more riders in the Lafayette area. The route, which starts at the Lafayette BART station, will no longer get on Highway 24. Instead it will travel the length of Mt. Diablo Boulevard before turning onto Pleasant Hill Road and eventually Olympic Boulevard.

The route had been losing money with an average of only 40 riders per day. The County Connection believes this number will increase as a result of the new route along Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

For more information about the County Connection bus system, visit their website at

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Driver in fatal Orinda crash identified

Police have identified the suspect killed in a car crash in Orinda on Tuesday as a 27-year-old Hayward woman.

Christina Ramos died of blunt force to the head, according to the Contra Costa coroner’s office. Toxicology results are pending.

Ramos was crushed to death when she crashed a stolen pickup truck into a power pole at Camino Pablo and Miner Road in Orinda. The truck, along with a Subaru, were reported stolen in Moraga about 2:20 p.m. Monday.

The victim saw the suspects driving her vehicles away and called Orinda and Moraga police. An Orinda police officer followed Ramos into Orinda before losing sight of her. Another officer found the vehicle at the scene of the accident soon afterward

Ramos was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, said Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jimmy Lee. Police are still trying to find the person who stole the Subaru, which was later found in Lafayette.

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Under: Crime, Orinda | 2 Comments »

Youth Ink competition challenges Orinda’s young writers

Young Orinda writers will be participating in the 2011 Orinda Ink competition, presented by the Orinda Junior Women’s Club, this spring. The competition, which is open to sixth, seventh and eighth graders who live in Orinda, allows writers to use any style of writing, as long as they follow the year’s theme. The theme for the 2011 competition is “But If You Really Knew Me,” which the competition organizers believe will allow writers to open up personally.

Prizes for the competition include $250 for first place, $125 for second place, $75 for third place, and $25 Orinda Books gift certificates to 10 honorable mention writers.

Writing submissions for the competition must be sent to Orinda Junior Women’s Club, Post Office Box 40, Orinda, CA 94563, or turned into a school representative by Feb. 18. Competition forms are available online at or at the local schools.

The Orinda Library will host an awards ceremony on April 28, at 6:00 p.m., for the winners of the 2011 Orinda Ink competition.

Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Under: Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette council rejects Burton Valley remodel

A divided Lafayette City Council on Monday rejected a Burton Valley couple’s proposal to add a second story to their home, saying despite being beautifully designed, the addition was too large and thus incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

The Planning Commission in December rejected the proposal, and homeowners Joe and Noelle Polichio as well as architect Ken Hertel subsequently appealed that decision to the council.

Mayor Carl Anduri, Vice Mayor Carol Federighi and Councilman Brandt Andersson voted to reject the appeal, effectively denying the application. Councilmen Don Tatzin and Mike Anderson voted against rejecting the appeal. Anderson said he supported the proposal as-is. Tatzin said he could potentially support it with additional revisions.

If you add up all public officials who voted on the proposal — Design Review Commission, Planning Commission and City Council — since September, you see how divided this issue has been: seven votes for, eight votes against, with one recusal (Hertel) and one absent.

Full story coming later. For some background, here’s my story from December.

Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | 1 Comment »