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The Sound of Silence

Sun columnist Mike Zampa wrote in last week’s column that “we don’t appreciate sound enough. At least I didn’t, until the gunshots, the coyote and the smoke detector woke me up the other night. And it got me thinking: isn’t there a better way to make garlic bread?

“And before you ask — what’s garlic bread got to do with it? – allow me to say: Butt out. When you get your own column syndicated to nearly 1.4 percent of all the readers in the nine-county Bay Area’s sixth most populous county, you can write it any way you want to. This is how I choose to do it.

“Sorry if that sounded cranky. I’m just a little short on sleep. It’s all that sound.”

(Photo by Flickr user jspatchwork under Creative Commons attribution license)

-Leanne McLaughlin

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

School warns of test registration scam

Las Lomas High School administrators are warning parents about an apparent scam offering to register students for an upcoming national exam in exchange for their credit card information.
Parents are receiving calls from someone calling himself Alex Brown, who offers help in getting high school juniors set up for the PSAT, said principal Patrick Lickiss. The exam determines students’ eligibility for a National Merit Scholarship and often serves as a tune-up for the SAT, which is widely used by college admissions offices.
Las Lomas is in Walnut Creek and is part of the Acalanes Union High School District, which also oversees the Lamorinda high schools.
Lickiss said exam registration — scheduled from Sept. 26 to Oct. 17 — can be done online or in person through the school. He suspects that the caller might have been able to target juniors, who comprise most of the test-takers, by getting a copy of a school directory meant for internal use.
Lickiss said he has not heard any reports about a parent actually submitting credit card information to the caller, who leaves a telephone number of 800-858-9673.
Lickiss asks any parent who receives such a call to contact the school at 925-280-3920 so administrators can keep track.

Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Campolindo High School’s first principal has died

Alexander W. Winchester, who was Campolindo High School’s first principal, died on Sept. 4. He was 86.
Friends and family are invited to the memorial service at 2 p.m., Oct. 13 at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd. in Walnut Creek.
Winchester attended Poly Tech and San Francisco State University, and received his master’s degree at UC Berkeley.
He taught biology and physiology at Acalanes and was the first principal at Campolindo, hiring the staff and meeting with parents whose children would attend the brand new school.
Winchester also was president of the Association of California School Administrators, region 7.
He loved sports and traveling. He was a member of the Air Corps and ferried the wounded from the Pacific campaign back to the United States.
Donations may be made to the American Heart Association.
– Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Vandals arrested in Miramonte window-breaking spree

Two former Miramonte High School students have been arrested in connection with an early morning vandalism spree Wednesday in which more than dozen classroom windows were broken.
Declan Johnston, 18, of Orinda and a 17-year-old boy from Lamorinda were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism after school staff members recognized Johnston on surveillance video and tipped off police, Orinda Police Chief Bill French said.
A motive for the vandalism is unknown.
“I wish I knew,” French said. “I don’t know if they had a motive, or if it was knucklehead behavior. They did not provide a reason.”
Police received several calls about 2:15 a.m. from residents who reported two teenagers running through the football field toward the school. Minutes later, the witnesses saw the boys running along an outdoor walkway, breaking classroom windows with wooden 2-by-4’s, garbage cans and fire extinguishers, Sgt. Steve Andrews said.
Officers with five police agencies — Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, San Ramon and the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office — went to the scene, and some officers chased the suspects, who got away, Andrews said.
The school maintenance staff got an early call to clean up the shattered glass and board up the windows before the start of the school day. Classes were not affected.
The preliminary damage estimate by police is $5,000.
“This is a huge cost to us as taxpayers,” Zamora said.
– Malaika Fraley and Robert Salonga

Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
Under: Orinda | 1 Comment »

Food composting debuts– tell us what you think

The Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority has launched a new food composting program here that allows you to put everything from chicken bones to old tea bags into a new kitchen container delivered to your house. You then empty the container into your green yard waste recycling cart. The stuff will get whisked away, composted and turned into soil that’s sold to nurseries and landscapers.

Tell us what you think of the new program. We’d like to hear from you. Click the comments tab with this blog entry to give your two cents.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Lafayette library, now more than a giant hole in the ground

Lafayette’s new Library and Learning Center is starting to take shape. Curious residents, who for weeks feasted their eyes on a giant hole in the ground as crews dug at the site, can now see rebar going up for the walls. Crews have begun pouring the basement level walls. The basement is expected to be finished by the end of October.

The webcam across the street from the library is capturing the construction. Click here to view.

The $43 million library is slated to open at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and First Street in 2009.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Review of coach complaints continues

An investigator has been hired to look into complaints that an Acalanes High School basketball coach uses demeaning language toward players and fosters an environment where athletes play out of fear, but the review won’t be done this week.

School district officials had said a report could reach the school board as early as Wednesday. But it isn’t ready yet, said Jim Negri, superintendent. He did not have a date when it would be.

Parents John and Diane Clouse and Scott and Toni Hampton filed claims against coach Russ Scheibley last month and want him dismissed. They say Scheibley’s behavior violates codes of conduct that call for respectful treatment of students and setting a positive example. The district is liable for his behavior, they added.

In addition to the complaints, the school board received e-mails from others in support of Scheibley.

— Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Burns is JM’s new principal – permanently

There was an error in today’s Sun story about Los Perales Principal Bruce Burns being selected to replace Catherine Mikes, who is leaving her position as principal at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate.

The story should have made clear that Burns is the permanent principal at JM. The district is searching for an interim principal to fill his spot at Los Perales Elementary.

Brooke Bryant

Posted on Friday, August 3rd, 2007
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Memorial service planned for Lafayette’s second mayor

A memorial service for Gordon Holmes, one of Lafayette’s first councilmembers who sheperded the newly-incorporated city in the late 1960s, is scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2396 Overlook Drive in Walnut Creek.

Holmes supported the city’s incorporation some 40 years ago. He was elected to the first City Council in 1968, serving as mayor in 1969. That first council helped get the new city on its feet, hiring key staff members, forming commissions and developing a general plan that called for preserving Lafayette’s rural atmosphere.

The father of five was a vascular surgeon who lent his talents to refugees in Asia after the Vietnam War and who passed his knowledge onto students at the UC Berkeley/UCSF Medical School where he was a professor.

He died July 30 of chronic cardiovascular disease. He was 83.

For Wednesday’s article on Holmes, click here.

Katherine Tam

Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Thieves steal air conditioning units at Stanley

Thieves stole five air conditioning units and took the copper parts out of three more at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette, according to police and school officials.

The theft was discovered by the school’s maintenance crew Monday morning, and likely took place over the weekend, said Lafayette Superintendent Frank Tom. The units were enclosed in a locked cage, but someone broke in.

Generations in Jazz workshops that were scheduled for the affected classrooms were moved to rooms that still had air conditioning, Tom said.

The cost to repair the three damaged units and replace the five stolen ones will range between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on how difficult it is to get parts, he said.

Thefts of copper are on the rise, thanks to an increase in the price of copper.

In Moraga, police found on Friday that someone had cut underground power cables at Campolindo High School in an attempt to steal the copper. The attempt was unsuccessful, but damages were estimated at $600. There were at least two suspects, who drove on campus in a silver Chevrolet Silverado, according to police reports.

The Sun wrote a story in June about the rise in copper thefts across the state, which you can read here.

Anyone with information on the Stanley thefts can call Lafayette Police at 925-283-3680.

— Brooke Bryant

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »