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Archive for May, 2011

Trent Baker of Acalanes awarded GE scholarship

Trent Baker, a senior set to graduate from Acalanes High School in two weeks, was recently awarded a scholarship from GE. The scholarship is called the GE Star award and is gifted to him by the GE Foundation in the amount of $1,500.

Baker will use the scholarship money toward his tuition at Boston College in the fall.

In addition to Baker’s award, Baker’s English teacher, Ken Derr, was awarded $500 by the GE Foundation, as Baker listed him as a major factor in his improving skill and passion for English.

Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Memorial Day in Lafayette

No matter your stance on whether the Lafayette crosses are a memorial honoring soldiers or an anti-war protest display, people come together at the Lafayette crosses every year for a Memorial Day celebration. The families of local fallen soldiers come to the event each year to discuss their family members, while others come to honor all of the fallen soldiers signified by the crosses on the hill.

To watch a video from last year’s Memorial Day celebration in Lafayette, check it out at If anyone has video from today’s celebration, please post the link in the comments section.

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011
Under: Crosses, Lafayette | No Comments »

Acalanes girls win NCS lacrosse title

Although the Acalanes girls lacrosse team was the number two seed in the NCS playoffs, the team felt they were the favorites for the Division 2 title. The team proved it by beating Marin Catholic, 12-10, in the NCS Division 2 final on Friday night at Marin Catholic. The Dons got to the final by beating Miramonte 14-9 in the semifinals.

The top-seeded Acalanes boys lacrosse team also played in the NCS Divison 2 final on Friday night, hosting the number two seed, Marin Catholic. The boys fell a goal short of earning two NCS titles for the school in one day, as Marin Catholic won the title by a score of 8-7.

Posted on Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Soccer fans go crazy in Rheem

Soccer fans from all over Lamorinda came together today to watch the UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United in The New Rheem Theatre.

There were easily several hundred soccer fans in attendance, as almost every seat in the theater’s largest screening room was taken.

Players from local soccer organizations, including East Bay Eclipse Soccer Club, Lamorinda Soccer Club and LMYA, were in attendance wearing their uniforms and cheering on their favorite team.

The majority of the crowd was supporting Barcelona and went home happy, as the Spanish club won the title by a final score of 3-1.

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Posted on Saturday, May 28th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda, Sports | No Comments »

Orinda’s newest famous resident

don perata cropped

It’s former state Senate President and would-be Oakland Mayor Don Perata. Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbruggen with the story:

Former Democratic Senate President Pro Tem and would-be Oakland mayor Don Perata has a new home address: Orinda

He bought a single-family house valued at $998,000 and opened an office of his political consulting firm in the bucolic Orinda a few months ago.

Someone tell him to take it easy with the leaf blower.

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Musical performances in Lafayette next weekend

Next Friday, June 3, Stanley Middle School will be hosting their annual Jazz Cafe event. The event kicks off at 6:00 p.m. in the Stanley Auditorium and features music by musicians from Stanley Middle School and Acalanes High School. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. There will be food, desserts, and beverages available for purchase throughout the night.

The following night, Saturday, June 4, the Gold Coast Chamber Players will be performing in the Lafayette Library’s Community Hall, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Music, Schools | No Comments »

PG&E rates change

The California Public Utilities Commission approved some significant changes in the rates households will pay for electricity from PG&E.

The households that use the highest amounts of electricity, falling into PG&E’s Tier 4, will see a 15% decrease in their rates; however, they will still have higher rates than households using less electricity.

PG&E will maintain its revenue through restructuring the other three tiers of users. Many users will get bumped into the next tier up, raising their rates and making up for the revenue decrease coming from Tier 4 users.

The commission did vote down a proposed $3 surcharge that would have been on every household’s bill.

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Budget season is upon us

If it’s May, it must be budget season. Here’s a quick roundup of where all three cities are in their budget process:

Lafayette: You can read my story on the Lafayette budget, which will be in tomorrow morning’s Sun, here. Last year city officials projected they would have a $515 surplus for 2010-11. Now, they’re projecting a $223 surplus for 2011-12. The good news is that $515 for the current year has grown to more than a half-million.

Moraga: The council has not taken a formal look at the town’s 2011-12 budget yet, but its Audit and Finance Committee did today and Town Manager Jill Keimach says the budget will come before council members at their June 8 meeting. With both revenues and expenses remaining relatively flat, the town doesn’t expect much change from this year. Officials are projecting an $86,000 surplus, Keimach said.

Orinda: The situation is a little less rosy here. The city is projecting a $417,000 shortfall over the next two years (Orinda prepares biennial budgets, so right now they’re working on fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13). The council has held a couple meetings on the budget, and city staff has begun looking for ways to close the gap. They found $132,000 in savings by recalculating their salary and benefits expenses. Another $75,000 could come through forfeitures of recycling deposits — this is money developers give the city to be returned once they can prove their project has met recycling standards. Another roughly $112,000 in savings will come through yet-to-be-specified reductions in the planning department and public works and engineering department. As of the council’s May 17 meeting, the city still needed to find $57,100 more to cut. City Manager Janet Keeter told council members at that time that she would be meeting with union representatives to try to negotiate additional savings.

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

High school baseball teams fare well in NCS openers

In the NCS Division 2 high school baseball playoffs, Campolindo won their first round game, 2-1, over Concord on Tuesday. The fourth-seeded Cougars will play the winner of the Casa Grande/Northgate game in the quarterfinals at Campolindo on either Friday or Saturday.

In the NCS Division 3 high school baseball playoffs, Miramonte proved worthy of their number two seed, beating Hercules, 17-0. The Matadors will host Alhambra on Friday at 5:00 p.m. in the quarterfinals. In the same bracket, the third-seeded Acalanes Dons  won their first round game over JFK-Fremont, 3-1. They will host the winner of the Sir Francis Drake/Tamalpais game in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Merrick preliminary hearing set

The date for the preliminary hearing in the Michael Merrick molestation trial has been set for June 20 at 9:00 a.m.

At the preliminary hearing, Judge Nancy Davis Stark will decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a criminal trial.

Merrick, a teacher at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, is accused of molesting a student that he tutored in his Stanley classroom. A slew of inappropriate text messages between Merrick and the girl are being used as evidence.

Also to be decided at the preliminary hearing is how open the facts of the case will be to the public.

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »