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Archive for July, 2011

Orinda Summer Concert Series

The Orinda Idol finalists are performing publicly as a part of the Orinda Summer Concert Series this Tuesday, July 19. The concert will take place in the Orinda Community Park from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Those attending are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy during the concert.

On Wednesday, July 27, the Orinda Library will be presenting “Eastern Strings,” as part of their summer concert series. The show, which is free and open to the public, will feature traditional instruments and music from Egypt, Lebanaon, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Posted on Sunday, July 17th, 2011
Under: Music, Orinda | No Comments »

Principal and teacher Ballock dies

Eugene Ballock, a longtime mainstay on the campuses of local schools, died at the age of 80 due to an unspecified illness.

Ballock served as the principal of three Lamorinda schools during his career, spending time at Stanley Intermediate School and Fairview Intermediate School in Lafayette and at Inland Valley Intermediate School in Orinda.

Later in his career, Ballock also served as the principal at Del Valle High School and Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek before retiring in 1989.

A celebration of Ballock’s life will take place Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, 1543 Sunnyvale Ave.

Posted on Friday, July 15th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda, Schools | No Comments »

Tauscher returns to the area to speak

Ellen Tauscher is returning to the area on July 28 to give a talk called “Arms Control and Nonproliferation: The Road From Prague.” The talk will take place at the meeting for the Commonwealth Club at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center.

Tauscher will discuss national and international security in the current state of the world.

Check-in for the event will begin at 6:00 p.m., and the talk will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for general admission, $12 for Commonwealth Club members and $7 for students.

Tauscher is currently the U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security. She formerly represented California’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Arts in the park

The Orinda Arts Council is hosting an event called “Arts in Bloom…in the Park” next Tuesday, July 19. The event, which will take place in the Orinda Community Park, is free and open to the public.

The event will feature a variety of art exhibits, arts and crafts activities and a silent auction. There will also be a hot dog and ice cream stand for those who want to get food at the event.

Starting at 6:30 p.m., the Orinda Idol finalists will perform in the park to provide entertainment.

Proceeds from the event go to the Orinda Arts Council.

Posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Drop in property values hits Orinda budget

Just weeks after the Orinda City Council approved its 2011-13 budget, the economy has blown a $100,000 hole through it.

Assessed property tax values are down throughout Contra Costa County, as my colleague Paul Burgarino reported this morning. In Orinda, they’ve declined 3.1 percent, which means about $150,000 less revenue for the city in the coming year, according to City Manager Janet Keeter. The city had planned for property tax revenues to remain flat.

The adopted budget included a general fund shortfall of about $53,000, which the city hopes to close through negotiations with its employees union. The city will receive $100,000 in state COPS funding it had not planned for, but will lose money it gets from vehicle license fees.

Add all that together, plus the property tax hit, and next year’s shortfall is now $146,000.

Keeter said city staff has had preliminary discussions about how to deal with the now-increased budget deficit but is, at this point, not sure if the gap should be addressed immediately or this winter when the City Council does its standard mid-year review.

Assessed property values in Lafayette dropped about 0.7 percent, which translates to about $23,000 less revenue, which Administrative Services Director Tracy Robinson said is “not enough to be a big difference.” She said she will keep an eye on incoming property tax revenue over the next few months and make adjustements, if needed, in December during the mid-year budget review.

Property values in Moraga rose 0.5 percent, making it one of only three Contra Costa County cities to see an increase.

Posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Orinda | No Comments »

NorCal Kids Triathlon

The NorCal Kids Triathlon is returning to the area on Saturday, August 27. The event will take place at Miramonte High School from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., although some courses for older age groups head into the adjoining neighborhood.

The triathlon requires that each participant swim, bike and run their way through the course.

The triathlon courses are made based on the age of the competitors with there being different courses for six age groups from 6 and under up to high school students. Results are also split between male and female competitors.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit

Posted on Monday, July 11th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda, Sports | No Comments »

Go into nature with the Lafayette Hiking Group

The Lafayette Hiking Group is one of Lamorinda’s little secrets. The group gets together regularly to explore trails all over the Bay Area. Volunteer trail leaders take the group on an exploration of nature.

The Lafayette Hiking Group will be going on their next hike this Saturday, July 16. The group will be meeting at the Lafayette BART station at 8:30 a.m. to form carpools for the drive to the trailhead near the Presidio in San Francisco. The hike is 5 miles long and will include a bit of nature and some art exhibits.

For more information, call 925-284-2232 or email

Posted on Sunday, July 10th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Get out of jury duty online

Ever get a jury duty notice in the mail and immediately start making excuses as to why you shouldn’t have to go? The Contra Costa County Superior Court has made it easier to forward those excuses on to them.

In the past, all excuses had to be either made at the court in person or via telephone. Now, potential jurors can visit and send their excuse directly to the court, as long as it is at least five business days before their jury duty date.

The court will follow up with a postcard stating their decision on the matter.

Posted on Saturday, July 9th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Starlight Players set for summer performances

The Orinda Starlight Players are ready to present “Send Me No Flowers,” starting one week from today.

The performances will run from July 15 through August 6 on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 4:00 p.m.

The performances take place in the outdoor theater at the Orinda Community Center Park, so throw a blanket down and enjoy a picnic dinner and some live local theater.

Tickets are $16 for general admission and $8 for seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, and reservations can be made by emailingĀ

For more information, visit

Posted on Friday, July 8th, 2011
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Orinda Idol finalists

The Orinda Idol finalists have been named. The finalists will be performing at the Orinda Community Park on July 19 and one or two other to be determined events before the finals happen on September 11.

The finalists are:

Grades K – 2
Grace Barmmer
Audrey Biles
Amelia Chen
Sophie Lurie
Ava Schmitt

Grades 3 – 5
Emily Barlow
Isabel Fine
Kiera Glenn
Avery Hansen
Nicholas Karr
Garrick Manz
Kate Marvin
Jackie Patton
Michaela Sasner
Lindsey Wallace

Middle School
Grace Baer
Sarah Cain
Lucy Clearwater
Danica Dabasinskas
Ellie Glade
Casey McGonigle
Jocelyn Purcell
Eleanor Roeder
Skylar Sjoberg
Leah Woodcox

High School
Kate Avery
Matt Barber
Sophie Belinn
Kevin Depolo
Lindsay Kathryn Ford
Katie Marino
Amrita Newton
Paige Powell
Montana Rowson
Sofie Woodlee

Group Category K – 5
English Beat: Ellie Belshaw, Lila Insalaco, Kaylin Ishizu, Ava Jacuzzi
Rising Starz: Leah Douglas, Hannah Hoffman, Nicole Prozan
Arriana and Keira: Arriana Glenn and Kiera Glenn
Topaz Girls: Samantha Martin, Jennifer McFarlane
The Husky Girls: Grace Sterner & Sarah Westergren

Group Category 6 – 12
JAMin': Alex Meckes and Julia Meckes
Sister Act: Annalise Baer and Grace Baer
Maritza and Katie: Maritza Grillo and Katie Marino
PACK: Kevin Depolo, Amrita Newton , Paige Powell and Carter Soso
Hasler & Sanderson: Parker Hasler & Jamie Sanderson

Posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2011
Under: Music, Orinda | No Comments »