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Archive for June, 2011

Downed power pole closes Mt. Diablo Boulevard

UPDATE 3:50: Lafayette PD just tweeted that one lane is open in each direction on Mt. Diablo Boulevard near the reservoir.

UPDATE 2:16: PG&E crews are on scene replacing the power pole and expect that work to be complete around 5 p.m., said spokeswoman Nicole Liebelt. About five customers are still without power, she said.

The pole came down after a vehicle struck it, Liebelt said. PG&E first got word the power was out about 4 a.m Monday. At that point, approximately 320 customers were without power, she said.

Got into the office a little while ago and this picture from Lafayette police was in my inbox. A power pole near the reservoir this morning snapped and fell across Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The pole was not hit by a vehicle, police said. (see update).

PG&E crews are working to repair the pole. Mt. Diablo Boulevard is closed between El Nido Ranch Road and Village Center. The road should be open by 4 p.m.5 p.m., Lafayette police tweeted earlier this morning.

power pole down lafayette

Posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Lafayette Farmers Market still succeeding

The second season of the Lafayette Farmers Market is proving to be just as successful as the first season, as local shoppers from Lafayette and the greater area stop by to support local businesses by buying local products.

The second season of the Lafayette Farmers Market kicked off on May 5 and has been running every Thursday since. It will continue to be held every Thursday from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. until the end of September.

The Farmers Market has grown to include a variety of activities for kids and regular live music performances.

The Farmers Market is held in Lafayette’s Plaza Park at the corner of Moraga Road and Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

Posted on Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Relay for Life in Lafayette

The popular charity event Relay for Life will be making a stop in Lafayette the weekend of August 6-7.

Relay for Life events are sponsored and organized by the American Cancer Society as a way of honoring cancer survivors and victims of cancer. Proceeds from the event go directly to cancer research.

The Lafayette event will be held at Springhill Elementary School, starting Saturday and going overnight until Sunday for as many as 24 consecutive hours of walking.

The event is still looking for more volunteers in addition to more participating walkers.

For more information about the event, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/lafayetteca.

Posted on Saturday, June 11th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Garamendi, CD10 get ‘Better Known’

Congressman John Garamendi allowed himself to be the latest victimsubject of Stephen Colbert’s “435-part series,” Better Know a District on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” last night.

No mention of Lamorinda in the roughly-six minute segment, but Fairfield’s Jelly Belly factory, Livermore’s centennial lightbulb and Walnut Creek (you’ll just have to watch) get shout-outs.

And Colbert rips into Garamendi for not actually living in the 10th Congressional District (Garamendi says his Walnut Grove home is right on the border).

Check it out:

All I can say is, as a native Livermorian (Livermoron?), thanks for ruining our lightbulb, Stephen.

Despite the ribbing on his residence and an awkward marriage proposal from Cobert, Garamendi didn’t make a fool of himself, which is about the best you can hope for in an interview with Colbert.

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Meeting notes: Orinda City Council

Quick hits from last night’s long session at the Orinda Library…

Martin Engelmann of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority gave the council a presentation on the Plan Bay Area “Initial Vision Scenario.” As in Lafayette last month, staff, council members and some residents were not happy with the amount of new housing units proposed for Orinda: 1,920. Engelmann said he does not believe the IVS is feasible — it admittedly does not take local constraints into account, only capacity. The folks behind the One Bay Area plan, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, are working on developing five “detailed scenarios” that officials believe will represent a more realistic allocation of population growth over the next 25 years.

Councilwoman Amy Worth gave a final report on the year of discussions with Moraga and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District about the district’s funding. Folks from FAIR were there to encourage the council to form a citizen’s task force to continue looking into their claim that Orindans subsidize Moragans fire service. The council declines, with Worth the only member in favor of a task force.

Continued discussions on the budget. Here’s my story from earlier this week. Staff said the deficit in the second year of the two-year budget dropped by $89,000 after union representative Peter Finn found an accounting error during negotiations earlier that day. Finn told the council the error causes him to question the rest of the numbers in the budget and asks if an outside party can audit the budget. City employees repeated their position that they are willing to make concessions to help the city budget but only if there are no layoffs. That could become a sticking point in negotiations, as the city budget includes eliminating a planning staffer.

Posted on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Special Lafayette school board meeting Wednesday

The Lafayette school board will hold a special meeting tomorrow night to get input on community priorities should the district be able to reinstate any of the programs it has cut recently due to budget woes.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Stanley Middle School, 3455 School Street in Lafayette. You can view the agenda here.

Posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Joe Campana, 1920-2011

The Lafayette music community, and the community in general, lost Joe Campana Sunday. The owner and operator of Campana Music Co. since 1946 was 90 years old, and had worked a full day at his store Sunday. A celebration of his life will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Petar’s Restaurant in Lafayette ….

Posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Posey moving out of Orinda?

Looks like just Orinda gains one famous resident, it could lose another. Andrew Baggarly’s latest story about San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey’s injury contains this bit of information about his living situation:

(Giants General Manager Brian) Sabean said Posey remains mentally shaken as well as in physical pain. Sabean said the organization is working to find Posey new accommodations because his rental house in Orinda involves stairs.

Maybe he’s just horrified at the prospect of three story buildings downtown. Either way, looks like we may never have that epic Perata-Posey showdown for Orinda City Council.

Posey for Orinda mayor

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Meeting notebook: Acalanes school board

Some quick hits (and one longer one) from last night’s Acalanes Union High School District governing board meeting:

The board was the latest to honor Blake Marggraff and Matthew Feddersen, the two Acalanes High School seniors who took the top prize at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair in May. The board also recognized Acalanes High School librarian Karen Findlay, the district’s educator of the year.

Trustees received a report on how technology is being and can be used in the classroom, all from a slick-looking Apple iPad plugged into the board room’s AV system. The Acalanes school board, which gives members laptops with which to look at meeting documents, is easily the most technologically-saavy agency in Lamorinda.

A community member gave a presentation on the stress teens face while attending high-performing schools, and urged the board to do something to address the issue. Board members said they shared his concerns, but some worried budget woes could make tackling the problem difficult.

Speaking of the budget …

At least Christopher Learned no longer has former Superintendent John Stockton around to introduce him as “Dr. Doom.” Learned, the associate superintendent for business services, gave the board a presentation about the district’s budget following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised state budget last May. The new budget now promises more money for schools thanks to an unforeseen uptick in revenue, but Learned told me Thursday all that will do is swap out “deferred money” — funds promised to schools but held over until the next year — with real money, resulting in a flat budget for 2011-12. The good news, he said, is that because of the extra cash, cuts to schools may not be as large should Brown’s tax extension measures either fail to make it to the ballot or get rejected.

Learned showed the board two budget scenarios. The first assumes a flat budget (taxes pass), and results in a $1.7 million year-end surplus. The second assumes a roughly $1.8 million cut (taxes fail), leaving the district with a deficit of $112,587. That’s not that big of a deal for the coming school year, Learned said. But it could become problematic in years ahead. The budget for 2011-12 includes about $1 million in federal grant money as well as $1 million less expenses due to employee furloughs. The grant money won’t be there in the following years, and neither will the furloughs, meaning beginning in 2012-13 the district could have a $2 million hole blown through its budget.

So Learned doesn’t have to play Dr. Doom until then.

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »