(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Barnidge: Understaffed East Contra Costa Fire District can no longer be ignored

The East Contra Costa Fire District, hobbled by inadequate funding, has only three engine companies -- nine firefighters -- on call to answer the needs of 110,000 residents spread across 249 square miles. 
Los Medanos College to present 'Ruined'PITTSBURG -- Los Medanos College students present the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Ruined" Dec. 2-5 at the California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave.  
Brentwood teen partners with group to send overseas care packages  
A three-vehicle crash, which occurred around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday on Vasco Road about a mile south of Camino Diablo, injured five people and apparently was caused when one vehicle attempted a U-turn and was hit by another vehicle.  
The City Council this week decided how it wants to spend just over $442,000, most of which will go toward developing a plan helping developers meet their obligations to preserve open space  
In early December, the Oakley City Council will vote on a new measure that would restrict the size and location of outdoor marijuana cultivation.  
Mimi Kessler
Trees available for purchase or to donate to needy families.  
For many years, the Feed the Need Christmas Party reached out to Antioch's homeless during the holiday season. But the event was suspended in 2010 due to the organizer's poor health. Now, Bob Andrade and his wife, Charla, are working to get the party rolling again.  
John Burgess
The Antioch City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a ban on the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, preventing users from obtaining a state license that would allow them to produce their own supply.  
Thousands attend Brentwood lighted parade  
(Colin Young-Wolff)
Gwyneth Paltrow sings on new Coldplay record

Coldplay singer Chris Martin suggested ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow sing some lyrics she wrote for their new single “Everglow.”