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Archive for May, 2011

Orinda suspected burglar arrested

A man that police believe is responsible for a string of recent burglaries in Orinda and around the East Bay was arrested in the Oakland Hills on Tuesday.

Lee Crago, 41, was arrested when he was found to be living illegally in an unoccupied home on Valley View Road after police responded to a report of someone trespassing in the home.

Upon investigation of the home, police found stolen items connecting Crago to more than 10 burglaries in the East Bay.

If you have any additional information concerning any burglaries in the area, the Oakland police are asking that you call 510-238-3326.

Posted on Saturday, May 7th, 2011
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Lamorinda schools do well in annual rankings

The annual public school rankings are out, and would you believe it, Lamorinda schools are among the best in the state.

Schools are ranked from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. As my colleague Katy Murphy puts it in her story from this morning’s paper:

Public school rankings, which are released each spring, range from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. The rankings are evenly distributed by school level; in other words, 10 percent of elementary schools in California earn a 1, and 10 percent earn a 10.

Each and every school in Lamorinda received a 10, meaning they are all within the top 10 percent of schools in the state. The schools also generally did well when compared with schools that have similar demographics.

The rankings are based on schools’ Academic Performance Index, or API, which are based on standardized tests.

To see where each school landed on the rankings list, check our our database here.

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

Trust in Education’s Change for Change Drive

Schools throughout Lafayette will be holding Change for Change Drives, sponsored by the nonprofit organization Trust in Education, next week to continue supporting education in Afghanistan.

Over the years, the drives have helped raise enough money to build a school and playgrounds. The money will  now go to ensuring that students are able to remain in school instead of being forced to work at an early age.

The founder of Trust in Education, Budd MacKenzie, will be visiting Burton Valley Elementary School, Happy Valley Elementary School and Stanley Middle School next week to speak to the students.

For more information about the organization Trust in Education and what they do, visit their website at

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Blood drive in memory of Rachael Wenger

The Red Cross will be running a blood drive at Springhill Elementary School tomorrow, Friday, May 6, in honor of the memory of Springhill student Rachael Wenger.

The blood drive will take place in the multipurpose room from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

To set up an appointment to donate blood at the blood drive, visit and enter the sponsor code RachaelWenger. You can also set up an appointment by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Donated blood helped extend the life of Rachael Wenger, so her family has asked that people donate blood to help other people extend their life with much-needed blood.

Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Young Lafayette virtuosos are winning

I’m pretty sure my biggest accomplishment by the time I was in second grade was managing not to mess up “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” for my dad’s family holiday video.

Here’s a pair of Burton Valley Elementary School students that put my first seven years (and probably yours, too) to shame. They both won awards in the National PTA’s Reflection Program, an arts competition.

First up is Zevin Acuña, who submitted this video of his family preparing sandwiches for the homeless as part of the theme, “Together We Can.” It won him first place in the K-3 video category, $200 in cash and a trip to the national competition.

Next up is Marcello Severo. You may remember Marecello for his epic tribute to the 2010 Saint Mary’s mens basketball team. Here’s his piano performance from last week’s assembly:

You know what that sound is? Winning (duh).

Not impressed? First, what’s wrong with you? Second, Marcello wrote that song. Everything he submitted to the contest were original compositions. They earned him a special award of merit, the only one given in the state.

Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

High school lacrosse and volleyball update

Acalanes continues to be the local powerhouse in lacrosse, as both the boys and girls teams are undefeated in league play.

The Acalanes boys lacrosse team is 8-0 in league and 15-2 overall. Miramonte is second in the DFAL with a 6-2 league record. They are 13-6 overall. Campolindo is in fourth place with a 5-4 league record and a 10-7 overall record.

The Acalanes girls lacrosse team is 10-0 in league and 13-4 overall. Miramonte is in second at 7-2 in league play and 12-4 overall. The Campolindo girls are 5-8-1 overall and 3-6 in league, which puts them in fifth place.

The Campolindo boys volleyball team is one of the top in the area. The Cougars are 6-0 in the DFAL and 21-4 overall. Acalanes sits in last in league with an 0-3 league record and a 3-8 overall record.

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

A “Too Perfect” celebration of a premiere

The cast and crew of the new film “Too Perfect,” including writer-director Julie Rubio, glitzed it up April 29 for a real red-carpet premiere at the Orinda Theatre. It was cool to see this sort of celebration of our local arts, a fun event for all concerned. Read about it in Friday’s Sun, or go to the story through this link:

The movie “Too Perfect” will be shown again Friday night, at the Miramonte High School theater at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

By the way, our theater columnist Sally Hoagrty has a part in the film ….

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

What they’re saying about Measure B

Roundup of what folks are saying today about the passage of the Measure B parcel tax last night. Will be updated as I get more reaction.

***Updated at 12:30 with comments from Shayne Silva and Art Kapoor.
***Updated 4:15 with comments from Teresa Gerringer

Lafayette School District Superintendent Fred Brill:

This is a testament to the hard work, the commitment of the parents of our community, and especially when we consider that 80 percent of our registered voters do not currently have kids in our schools. What that tells us is, a) we know that this is a community of really high standards, they have profound expectations for what we provide for ours students and children in the community, but they are also willing to do what’s necessary to support us, as evidenced by 74.3 percent approval. So they’re saying, provide the best education that you can provide, the best opportunities for the kids, and we’re willing to support you even in really tough economic times, even when there is a lot of anti-tax sentiment in the country.

School board President Shayne Silva:

I am just so pleased for the children of Lafayette, I can’t tell you, and it’s such a tribute to our community that they recognize the importance of well-educated children. And our volunteers were awesome. To get the kind of percentage that we did is incredible. … We have a community that pulls together for the kids.

School board Clerk Stephenie Teichman:

“Obv we’re ext gratified by the suppo of the comm in such a strong way and now that measure b is passed we’re hoping to start focusing again on the actual work of education and curr deve for the betterment of our students.”
“We’re cautiously optimistic. obv we have to wait for the may revise to come out … so the sort of the next step is to see what the may revise indicates baout where the gov is going to go … and it could be sobering. it hoping that it won’t be a tremendous impact to our district, so we’re cuatiously optimistic.”

Obviously we’re extremely gratified by the support of the community in such a strong way, and now that Measure B is passed we’re hoping to start focusing again on the actual work of education and curriculum development for the betterment of our students.

Trustee Art Kapoor:

The passage of Measure B really helps in terms of handling the future, whatever that may be. It just doesn’t look very good coming from the state i just cant imagine a scenario at this point where they’re suddenly going to find a ton of money and make the school districts whole, and so the only way that school districts can really be masters of their own fate is to find other sources of revenue and really legally the only options that are available to school districts are parcel taxes. … It’s such a tribute to the citizens of Lafayette that they feel so strongly about the importance of schools that they passed it with such a high rate. We didn’t just clear the bar, we went way over the top and it’s really gratifying. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of.

Trustee David Gerson:

I was not surprised because I believed that Lafayette would come out and support Measure B ,and I think the result is evidence that we do have broad community support for our schools, so I’m very heartened by that.

Emailed statement from Trustee Teresa Gerringer:

My heartfelt thanks goes out to the Lafayette community, who even in these tough economic times, recognized the real need for additional public education funding and continued their long-standing support of our students and schools.  Now that Measure B has passed, I look forward to continuing to work with the citizens of Lafayette, both Measure B supporters and opponents, to channel the debate in to finding real solutions to the challenge of providing adequate, stable public education funding.

Measure B co-coordinator Juleen Lapporte (Tuesday night):

We’re just trhilled that L is supporting education.

Measure B co-coordinator Corinne Christiansen (Tuesday night):

The biggest thing is thank you Lafayette, it really is. It shows a community that cares. … I’m really grateful for the people who put up with all our pestering. Thank you Lafayette.

Emailed statement Tuesday night from Measure B opponent Larry Pines:

Facing well over $60,000 in PTA and other Measure B contributions, plus the City of Lafayette effectively outlawing public election signs, and the consultant-driven LSD Administration controlling the channels of communication advocating for the tax to anxious parents through their email system, it’s hard to get any message across to would-be voters that this 10th school tax for Lafayette is unfair to property owners.  Moreover, expensive Special Elections guarantee very low voter participation, and skew the outcome toward passage.

In handing out purely aged-based senior exemptions, the District in effect “buys” the senior vote – a very reliable voting block — which in turn puts more financial pressure on everyone else; and, in the long-term will make it more difficult to continue passing such taxes.  In effect, the parents are just taxing themselves more.  In claiming that this 508% increase in the elementary parcel tax over 10 years is a “stable source of funding”, proponents seem to forget that our property tax bills may be viewed as more “stable” by those that don’t have to pay, like seniors and non-homeowners.

Seniors now make up almost 30% of Lafayette homeowners and their number is growing.  With over half now opting out and more each day as they see the tax growing rapidly, the schools are just imploding by allowing them to opt out.  Pretty soon 70% of the residents (of which about half are parents) will be paying for 100% of the school taxes.

Lafayette Citizens for Tax Fairness will continue to strive for tax fairness in this and all future local tax measures effecting our residents.

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Springhill gets new principal

Heather Duncan was hired as the new principal of Springhill Elementary School in Lafayette on Monday night.  Duncan will take over as principal for the 2011-12 school year.

Duncan was officially hired by the Governing Board of the Lafayette School District after going through a process that included interviews, a site visit and reference checks.

Duncan is currently the principal at Buena Vista Elementary School in Walnut Creek.

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette, Moraga residents get statewide posts

BANG political reporter Josh Richmond has the story here.

And in case you missed it over the weekend, here’s the story about Orinda Vice Mayor Steve Glazer’s appointment to the CSU Board of Trustees.

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »