Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for July, 2011

Out on the water at the Lafayette Reservoir

Photo of Lafayette Reservoir by Flickr user allaboutgeorge under Creative Commons attribution license

The Lafayette Reservoir has always been a popular place for locals to go for a run or enjoy a long walk with friends and family. An often overlooked option is actually going out on the water.

For a small fee, paddleboats and rowboats can be rented at the Lafayette Reservoir and taken out on the water to enjoy a picnic lunch in a truly serene setting. There are also lots of ducks and other birds, which will be clearly visible from your choice of boat.

To rent a boat, start walking around the Reservoir counterclockwise from the parking lot, and you’ll see the building to rent the boats near where they are docked.

Below is a slideshow from Flickr user allaboutgeorge’s December 2007 walk around the reservoir:

Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Summer Wine Festival at Saint Mary’s

Saint Mary’s College is hosting their 7th Annual Summer Wine Festival on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Wine tasting, appetizers and a silent auction are all part of the event, which will be held in the Soda Center on campus.

Tickets for the event are $35 if purchased before Aug. 7 and $45 if purchased after. There is a special $15 ticket for designated drivers. Tickets can be purchased online through Saint Mary’s website.

All proceeds from the event go to the student scholarship fund for the college.

Some of the wines being featured at the event are Captain Vineyards, Mantra Wines and Olin Wines.

Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2011
Under: Moraga, Schools | No Comments »

Redistricting commission releases final maps

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo


Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez


More maps! The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (the folks to whom voters gave the job of redrawing the state’s congressional, senate and assembly lines) have released their “preliminary final” maps. These will go on display for two weeks of public review before becoming final on Aug. 15.

There have been no major changes for Lamorinda from the first draft maps released a few weeks ago. Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda will change their congressman (from Democrat John Garamendi of Walnut Grove to Democrat George Miller of Martinez) and their assemblywoman (from Democrat Nancy Skinner of Berkeley to Democrat Joan Buchanan of Alamo). Democrat Mark DeSaulnier of Concord will continue to represent the area in the state Senate.

You can view all the new districts in the state’s database here. And here is Lisa Vorderbrueggen’s story from this morning about redistricting.

Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Merrick’s date in court has to wait

The story that many in the Lamorinda community are hoping can be resolved quickly isn’t going anywhere yet, as Michael Merrick’s pre-trial hearing was once again rescheduled.

Originally scheduled for June and then rescheduled to today, the hearing is now set for Aug. 12. At the hearing, the judge will determine if there is enough evidence against Merrick to go to trial.

Merrick is being charged with 25 felonies and 1 misdemeanor for his alleged sexual involvement with a student he was tutoring in his classroom at Stanley Middle School.

Merrick has pleaded not guilty to all of the counts against him.

Posted on Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Under: Crime, Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Search for marijuana put on pause

Following the shooting that took place Monday night in the wooded area near Moraga and Canyon, law enforcement officials believed it was the result of people protecting an illegal marijuana grow in the hills.

After authorities searched for the shooting suspects Monday night, they spent Tuesday searching for the marijuana grow they believed the shooters were protecting.

East Bay Regional Park District police Capt. Mark Ruppenthal called the search off shortly after it begun, saying that more planning and more involvement from law enforcement agencies would be required for a successful search of the terrain.

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

County supervisors update district map

As expected, Gayle Uilkema will remain Lamorinda’s county supervisor. The board of supervisors OK’d its new district maps on a contentious 3-2 vote yesterday. Lisa Vorderbrueggen has the full story.

Changing Lamorinda’s supervisor was never really on the table. Uilkema is from Lafayette and none of the maps that were seriously considered took the area out of her district.

Lamorinda will have new district cohorts, however. The maps move Uilkema’s district to the southeast, replacing Hercules, Pinole and Martinez with Danville, San Ramon and Alamo. I’m no demographer, but the shift does seem to make sense: Lamorinda has much more in common with the San Ramon Valley than the communities in West County.

The only change of any significance in Lamorinda is for residents in the Reliez Valley area just north of Lafayette city limits. Those folks (who are within the Acalanes Union High School District boundaries) are with Uilkema right now. Under the new map, they’ll shift into Federal Glover’s district.

You can take a look at the map here.

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Gunmen shoot at officer near Rancho Laguna

An East Bay Regional Park District officer was shot at by an unknown number of gunmen just before 7 p.m. Monday night. The officer was in the wooded area near Moraga and Canyon when he was fired upon.

The officer was rescued by law enforcement officers from Lafayette, Moraga and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. He was uninjured in the shooting.

Law enforcement officials from several agencies searched for the shooters last night until they deemed it too dark to continue. The search was expected to continue today.

Police believe the shooting is related to potential marijuana grows in that area. There have been marijuana grows discovered in that area before and officers are regularly sent to check for illegal activity.

Posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Moraga post office update

moraga country club post officeThe United States Postal Service today released a list of some 3,600 branches it will consider closing. The Moraga Country Club station is not on the list BUT a USPS spokesman told me via email this is an entirely new list and the Moraga location is still scheduled for closure. I asked if a final decision has been made yet by the folks in Washington D.C. but have not gotten a response yet.

Here’s the story about the new list of potential closures (a few are in the Bay Area). Looks like the USPS is considering “village” post offices set up in grocery stores and other community focal points, although that would not be necessary in Moraga, which has another post office at the Rheem shopping center.

Here’s the list of closures in California.

Posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

The week ahead: July 25-29

calendar.jpgGovernment happenings this week:

Lafayette City Council: 7 p.m. tonight, Community Hall, Lafayette library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Boulevard

  • Lots to discuss tonight. A pair of redevelopment items as the city has to resolve a cash flow issue and figure out whether to keep its redevelopment agency alive. Staff will recommend the city not loan the RDA $1 million (as described here) and hire a consultant to look at whether or not it is worth it to keep the agency running. The council will then get a second presentation from proponents of a roads tax and decide whether to put the measure on the ballot. Plaza Way property owners, businesses and would-be businesses (including Fentons) will ask the city for some relief from parking requirements. And council members will get an update on the proposed BMX bike park, which has received criticism from some residents at pretty much every council meeting over the last year, regardless of whether it is actually on the agenda. Staff reports and agenda here. Bring a snack.

Orinda Planning Commission: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Orinda Library auditorium, 26 Orinda Way

  • The Eden senior affordable housing project is the big-ticket item. Eden has revised its plans in response to feedback it got from the public last year, and this is now their formal application to the city. The project calls for 67 affordable units at 2 Irwin Way. It is going to be relatively tall (three stories plus a basement) so there should be plenty of folks opposed to it on that basis. Staff reports here.

Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Orinda | No Comments »

Miller pleads not guilty

Carl Blake Miller, an Orinda man formerly in charge of a real estate investment group, pleaded not guilty today to nine felony counts against him, including embezzlement, forgery and filing false documents.

Miller is believed to have embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients of Geneva Real Estate Investments. There is believed to be more than 175 victims of Miller’s crimes.

Miller is also accused of taking $16,000 from Orinda’s Boy Scout Troop 327. Although Miller returned the money, the original taking of the money is still a felony crime.

Miller is due back in court on September 22.

Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2011
Under: Crime, Lamorinda | 1 Comment »