Sobriety check point Friday night

Walnut Creek Police will hold a sobriety checkpoint Friday night to provide education regarding drinking and driving, and to reduce the number of impaired drivers within the city limits.

The sobriety checkpoint will be located on Lawrence Way north of Parkside Drive, near the onramp to northbound Interstate 680. Hours of operation will be from approximately 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

"WCPD encourages anyone who intends to drink, to make plans to have a "designated driver" or arrange to take a cab ride home," according to a news release.

In 2013, the department launched a partnership with the Center for Human Development aimed at reducing underage drinking. Several projects have taken place in the past year working toward that goal.

Parking fee hike at Walnut Creek BART

Parking fees at several Bay Area BART Stations will jump in July. And Walnut Creek will not be left out; the cost to park at the Walnut Creek station will jump from $2 a day for daily parking to $2.50 beginning Monday, July 14.

Fees at BART lots in Lafayette, Orinda and Pleasant Hill are also going up to $2.50 a day.

Parking lot usage is evaluated every six months, according to the BART website. If the lot at a station is full, then the daily parking fee may increase by 50 cents. If the lot is less than 95 percent full, then the fee may decrease by 50 cents. BART's parking fee policy has a $3 parking daily fee maximum, except at West Oakland.


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"All revenue generated from these new fees will be placed into a special account to be used only for programs for improved station access, including shuttle and feeder service to stations, and much needed station rehabilitation and modernization," according to the website.

For more information go to www.BART.gov/parking for details.

'Movies Under the Stars;' the sequel this July

After a hiatus of a few years, the city's "Movies Under the Stars" event returns this summer, with "Frozen" on July 11 and "The Sandlot" on Aug. 8.

The movies begin at dusk at Heather Farm Park's Ballfield No. 2. And families are encouraged to come and picnic while watching the free movie. For more information call 925-943-5858 or go to www.WalnutCreekRec.org

Local chef grabs honors at BBQ Challenge

Gary Lion's Smokin Lion BBQ from Walnut Creek took first place in the chicken category on Saturday at the eighth annual King of the County BBQ Challenge, Music Festival and Arts & Crafts Fair at waterfront Park in Martinez.

"We are ecstatic! We won on a little Weber," Lion said. His wife Linnea does the decorating and has won Best Booth decoration in the past.

For five years, Lion has freely shared his secrets for chicken, but continued to beat the competition.

"I use a Cajun dry rub and Kingsford charcoal, get the coals hot and add cherrywood smoke chips in foil, heat up the smoke pack and put chicken down," Lion explained.

Lion adds three replacement packs of chips as smoke diminishes to finish cooking.

"There is a lot of the seat-of-the-pants going on because the amount of charcoal varies with the ambient temperature, the wind, and how the vents are adjusted," said Lion, who also took third place in the "Chef's Choice" category.

Landscapers can learn drought survival in Walnut Creek

As California's drought heads into the hottest and driest months of water year 2014, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) at UC Davis are inviting professional landscapers to attend workshops in Walnut Creek on how to reduce water use through improved system efficiency.

Separate workshops will be conducted in separate English and Spanish sessions, and will feature indoor and outdoor demonstrations on understanding precipitation rates to reduce runoff; improving sprinklers; improving controller programs; determining application rates, understanding soils to reduce runoff and understanding water meters to improve irrigation efficiency.

The English-language workshop session will be held 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 25 in The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive in Walnut Creek. The Spanish-language session will be from noon to 3:30 p.m. at the same location.

Registration links for all sessions are at http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu. The $20 registration fee includes an attendance certificate that can be used to obtain continuing education units.

Shadelands business district in front of council Aug. 5

The drive to create an improvement district for the Shadelands Business Park is moving forward.

Shadelands property and business owners have joined together and asked the city to form a special improvement district, which would levy fees on businesses in the park. That money would be used to help pay for a shuttle to the BART station, way-finding signs, security and advocacy on issues including zoning changes.

The property improvement district would bring in nearly $400,000 a year. The rate would be .06 cents per building square foot for commercial properties plus .019 cents per parcel square foot.

The improvement district would have a five-year life beginning in January 2015. If enough property owners protest, the assessment cannot be levied.

A public hearing in front of the City Council, which must vote on the issue, will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 5, City Hall, 1666 N. Main St.

City, volunteers team for trail improvements

The Walnut Creek Open Space Division is partnering with Volunteers for Outdoor California to improve some of the city's well-beaten paths.

Local volunteers are needed and welcome to join in on the project that will help improve trails in the Shell Ridge Open Space.

City staff has long wished to have a large scale project with V-O-Cal and are excited for this opportunity, according to a news release.

On the weekend of June 27-29 staff and volunteers will be working on the connector trail from Wiget Lane into the Upper and Lower Buck Trails in Shell Ridge.

This heavily used trail is showing signs of wear from erosion and off-trail activities, said Supervising Ranger Nancy Dawson Dollard. Volunteers will work to re-establish the trail surface with appropriate slope and an improved alignment.

This project will improve the accessibility and sustainability of a beautiful trail through oak woodlands and grassland savanna habitat, she said. The trail is open to hikers, runners, bicyclists and equestrians.

Volunteers for Outdoor California is a volunteer workforce for large-scale trail maintenance and construction projects on public lands in partnership with public agencies and local volunteers.

The weekend begins with camp set up at the Hanna Grove Activity Area of Shell Ridge near Borges Ranch on Friday June 27.

Camping is available for those wishing to join in but it is not mandatory.

All meals are provided from Saturday morning breakfast through lunch on Sunday.

On Saturday June 28, after an introductory information and safety talk, the crew will hit the trail for a full day of trail restoration work.

Entertainment is provided that evening in the campground. Sunday morning June 29, the project resumes and is completed by 2 p.m. For more information and to register go to http://www.v-o-cal.org.

Free ice cream on the Fourth of July

Walnut Creek continues its Centennial Celebrations with a free 4th of July Concert and Ice Cream Social. The family friendly evening includes performances by the Walnut Creek Concert Band and free ice cream scooped by former Walnut Creek mayors from 5 to 6 p.m., prior to the concert, and from 7 until 7:30 after the concert.

The Valley Art Gallery is hosting a "Walnut Creek Paint-Out" project, a display of plein-air art scenes of Walnut Creek created by local artists. People attending the social will be able to view the works of art and vote for their favorite painting at www.valleyartgallery.org.

The event will take part at the Civic Park Gazebo in Walnut Creek. For more information go to www.walnutcreek100.com

-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi