The Laurel Park Neighborhood Council has some new offerings for this year's edition of its annual celebration from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Abraham Braxton Park at South 50th Street and Plaza Circle in Richmond. The park is just south of Cutting Boulevard by Interstate 80.
Accompanying the live music will be an expanded area of offerings for children, featuring a boardwalk-type carnival area with games and a prize booth, a jumper courtesy of Richmond PAL and treats for sale.
For adults, there will be useful information on community resources, health screenings, 21 vendor booths and -- because this is an election year -- tables representing five of the 11 City Council candidates who were able to accept the neighborhood group's invitation.
Residents can also talk to both backers and opponents of Measure N, the city's much-discussed tax proposal on sugar-sweetened beverages that voters will decide in November.
"We're not taking sides on the sugar tax," said Myrtle Braxton, a longtime resident and president of the neighborhood council.
And while the neighborhood council wants the community to be informed, organizers have made it clear that they want no campaigning when the entertainment is on.
The free 12th annual event is coordinated by Kara Braxton, with support from the city and Chevron.
Proceeds from food and game ticket sales will benefit the Laurel Park Neighborhood Council Scholarship Fund that assists low-income students who have been accepted to a four-year university and maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average.
GETTING SUPPLIES TO STUDENTS: A Richmond-based nonprofit mentoring program that engineered the donation of more than 500 books that were given out to young people in Richmond in June is back with more assistance as the new school year begins.
The organization Everyone Deserves A Chance (EDAC, www.facebook.com/EDACinfo) gathered more than 150 backpacks fully equipped with school supplies that were given to students in low-income areas around the Bay Area.
EDAC is the creation of Richmond resident Therese Barquet, who is a judicial assistant at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco and has successfully appealed for donations from other workers there and at the nearby Federal Building in San Francisco.
Barquet is a member of the Richmond Police Commission and a volunteer at juvenile hall in Martinez and at the Richmond Police Activities League. She noticed that too many of the young people she has worked with in those roles have minimal reading skills that lead to low self-esteem, an inability to better themselves or even function well in society.
That led to the creation of EDAC and the donation drives to help students get the basic academic skills that could keep them on the right path.
"The support was overwhelming," Barquet said of the latest effort. "Not only did we receive over 100 backpacks, but we also received about 70 new briefcases for teachers."
Next up will likely be another book drive. For more details, contact Bree Brooks at 510-717-8424 or Barquet at 510-705-3535.
The packs and school supplies were accompanied by games and food at the free event.
The Rescue Mission is still struggling to meet its financial obligations as expenses have increased and donations have taken a sharp drop.
For details on how to help, visit www.bayarearescue.org or call 510-215-4555.
The event will also have a jump rope contest with free prizes for the winners.
For more details, call 510-215-3204.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: The next Point Richmond Art Walk, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, will feature live blues at the Up and Under Bar & Grill; an exhibit by Arts of Point Richmond in the Community Center; a 5:30 p.m. reception with live music for sculptors Ted and Mary Bayer at Point Richmond Art Collective at the DeWitt Gallery, 121 Park Place; jazz at the Baltic Restaurant; and special offers at other eateries in the historic district.
The screenings at the J.C. Robinson, M.D. Regional Cancer Center at Doctors Medical Center, 2000 Vale Road, in San Pablo, are by appointment only. Space is limited, and priority will go to those with the highest risk factors.
For details or to make an appointment, call 510-970-5236.
The 6:30 p.m. screening will be preceded by a 6 p.m. meal of Indian cuisine and followed by a panel discussion on genetically modified seeds and Proposition 37 on the November ballot.