Homelessness in CoCo topic of Dec. 1 seminar

A seminar on homelessness in Contra Costa County, including the relatively affluent central county area, will be presented from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 1 in the Bortin Fellowship Hall at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane, in Walnut Creek.

Speakers include Howard Crawford of the Trinity Center, Walnut Creek; Officer Ryan Hibbs of the Walnut Creek Police Department; and Gwen Watson of the Winter Nights Program, a cold-weather shelter program in Contra Costa County.

A second panel with Lavonna Martin of the Contra Costa County Homeless Program; Timothy O'Keefe of Shelter, Inc.; and Louise Bourassa of Contra Costa Interfaith Housing will share information about their programs working with the homeless.

Following the panel, we will discuss ideas for filling the gap between available resources and the ever-growing need of our neighbors in Contra Costa County.

There is no cost to attend the seminar, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, the Social Justice Council of the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church and the Social Justice Alliance of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.

For more information, contact the League of Women Voters Diablo Valley at 925-283-2235 or Mary Fenelon at 925-385-0037 or mefenelon@synergycollaborative.net

Broadway Plaza Parade of Lights tonight


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The 2012 Broadway Plaza Parade of Lights starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the downtown shopping center, the highlight of an event that also includes the lighting of the plaza's 40-foot Christmas tree, a Retailers Open House and other holiday festivities.

The festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the parade beginning at 7 p.m. along Broadway Plaza Street. At the conclusion of the parade, special guest Santa Claus will light the Christmas tree in the promenade.

The Mistletones will perform holiday music, and the stores will be open until 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Aquanuts competing in Mexico City this weekend

The Walnut Creek Aquanuts will represent the United States at the FINA Synchronized Swimming World Trophy in Mexico City Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

Five members of the 2012 U.S. Junior World Team -- Morgan Boneburg, Karina Boyle, Jamie Kuchan, Sandra Ortellado and Alexa Tchekmarev -- will compete in Mexico. The team will take part in the Thematic Team, Thematic Duet, Highlight Routine and Free Combo events; Kuchan and Tchekmarev will be the United Stares pair in the duet competition.

This is the seventh annual World Trophy competition, which will be judged solely on artistic merit. There will be two panels of judges -- six Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) neutral judges and six celebrity judges. The participating countries are the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine.

Pearl Harbor remembrance dinner Dec. 7

The Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii will be remembered by veterans groups Blue Star Moms and the Navy League of the United States at a Dec. 7 dinner in honor of Pearl Harbor Survivors.

Everyone is invited to the event, at which the guest speaker will be retired Rear Admiral Thomas A. Cropper, a high-ranking Navy aviator and current president of the California Maritime Academy at Vallejo. Cropper served in attack squadrons on five carriers, flew in 43 different aircraft, made over 1,200 carrier landings and flew nearly 5,000 hours in his career. A onetime Atlantic Fleet Pilot of the Year, his last assignment was as commander of the "Top Gun School" at Fallon, Nev.

The dinner will be held at Zio Fraedo's Restaurant in Pleasant Hill with social hour beginning at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. The cost is $35 per person, including wine with dinner; reservations are required.

The event is sponsored by Contra Costa Council, Navy League of the United States; West Contra Costa Council NLUS; Oakland Council NLUS; Summerset Veterans' Club; Blue Star Moms; Livermore Military Families; Golden Gate Chapter, 1st Marine Division Association; Mt. Diablo Detachment 942, Marine Corps League; and the San Ramon Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 75

For more information, call Jeanne Sharkey at 925-228-1375 or email bjsharkeyiii@yahoo.com

'AnyBody Can' sing; join in on Dec. 4

Maxine Chan started the ABC (AnyBody Can) Singers when her daughter was small and she didn't have enough money to donate. But she could sing, knew a lot of Christmas carols, and started a caroling group at three convalescent hospitals in one night with a few other single parents.

She was an agent with Kropa Realty and called the group Kropa's Karolers, invited others in the real estate industry to join her, and the project grew from there into the ABC Singers.

Maxine arranges performances for AnyBody Can Sing throughout the holiday season at neighborhood assisted living venues.

She is seeking some good souls who like to sing Christmas carols. Their debut performance begins Dec. 4, at Chateau at Poet's Corner Assisted Living Community, 540 Patterson Road in Pleasant Hill.

Assistance League gets busy with Operation School Bell

Assistance League of Diablo Valley's eight hands-on philanthropic programs target every age group in the community, helping those who are at-risk and in need. One meeting the needs of students -- some 4,000 this year -- is Operation School Bell, a nationally acclaimed program that provides clothing for elementary schoolchildren.

The Assistance League also supports foster youth through its scholarships and community programs. Don Graves, coordinator for Contra Costa County Independent Living Skills Program, recently thanked the organization for the scholarships and noted that recipients received more than money -- they got a feeling of self-worth and the knowledge that someone believes in them and their future.

To learn more about Assistance League of Diablo Valley's other philanthropic programs, visit the chapter website at diablovalley.assistanceleague.org. To learn how to help foster youth, visit www.cocoilsp.org.

Kiosks for 'Liberty Bell Pop-up Plaza'

A half dozen retail kiosks showcasing specialty retailers will be in place shortly at Liberty Bell Plaza, the open area (with fountain) on the northwest side of the intersection of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Broadway downtown.

The plaza is owned by the City of Walnut Creek, and making it a more interactive area is part of the City's Economic Development Plan. In addition to the kiosks, the re-christened "Liberty Bell Pop-up Plaza" will offer a variety of live entertainment.

For more information, go to the website www.popupplazawc.com

Tea and Holiday Faire at Shadelands museum

The annual Victorian Tea and Holiday Faire at the Shadelands Ranch Museum will feature high-quality crafts and specialty holiday items for sale daily through Dec. 1.

Handmade gifts and quilts, clothing, jewelry, porcelain, and gourmet foods are only a few of the items available.

A "high tea" (really a three-course luncheon) will be served in the parlor and dining room daily at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for $30 per person. These limited-seating teas are already filling up fast, but some reservations are still available. Proceeds benefit the Walnut Creek Historical Society.

Admission to the house and vendors is free, and free parking is available.

Reservations are required for the high tea; call 925-935-7871.

-- Compiled by Sam Richards.