'Movies Under the Stars' sequel back in 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 Ball field No. 2. And families are encouraged to come and picnic while watching the free movie.

Call 925-943-5858 or go to www.WalnutCreekRec.org

Grove to mark Walnut Creek Centennial

To celebrate Walnut Creek's 100 years, it's time to plant 100 trees.

Dubbed the "Walnut Creek Centennial Grove at Heather Farm Park," the public is invited to help make it a reality.

Individuals, families, businesses, community groups and nonprofits can be a part of the gift to future generations by making a donation of $250 to fund the project. The names of all supporters will be etched in stone on the Centennial Rock in the Centennial Grove.

"Designed to provide a peaceful place to relax and reflect, the Centennial Grove of 100 trees, adorned with a new piece of public art, will encircle the pond at Heather Farm Park," according to a news release.

Among the 100 trees in the grove will be both native varieties, such as coast live oak and western rebus, as well as trees from six different continents, according to the release.

"The mixture of native and exotic trees is designed to represent and pay tribute to the diversity of people from around the world who settled Walnut Creek and helped create and build the community residents and visitors treasure today," read the release.

Donations may be made online at WalnutCreek100.com, or by sending a check payable to Walnut Creek Centennial Grove/Walnut Creek Historical Society, 1630 N. Main St., Suite 118, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Call 925-943-5895 or go to the website.

Chevron Family Theatre Festival coming in July

Princesses, pirates and fairy tale characters will be the featured guests at the Chevron Family Theatre Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

Shows will fill all three of the center's theaters, with ticket prices of $5 per performance. And free activities and events will take place both inside and out. For more information, go to www.LesherARTSCenter.org.

Apartment project at council next week

The next major apartment project near the city's transit hub will be in front of the Walnut Creek City Council at 7 p.m. July 1, at City Hall, 1666 N. Main St.

The four-story, 178-unit apartment project called The Landing is proposed next to the Interstate 680 and Highway 24 off-ramp on Ygnacio Valley Road, across from the Walnut Creek BART station. It will also be across from the 599 apartment transit village planned for the BART site.

The Landing will offer studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 524 to 1,156 square feet. Rents will likely range from $1,900 to $2,900 per month. Developers anticipate 380 residents. Amenities include a dog park, gym and rooftop decks.

The public hearing on Tuesday will give residents and city leaders a chance to discuss the 21 residential units that would have to be demolished for the project, and concerns some have over traffic on Lacassie Avenue.

The council will have to approve a general plan amendment, a rezone and certify the environmental impact report. For more information, go to www.walnut-creek.org

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 increase 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. "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.

Go to www.BART.gov/parking for details.

Local chef grabs honors at BBQ Challenge

Gary Lion's Smokin' Lion BBQ from Walnut Creek took first place in the chicken category June 14, 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.

"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.

Bancroft Garden art party slated for July 11

Take a Friday night stroll through The Ruth Bancroft Garden's annual sculpture exhibition while watching plein-air painters interpret the surrounding beauty as the sounds of live jazz music by Dogbone plays.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday July 11, the garden will host its annual sculpture in the garden exhibit and provide visitors with a Cajun feast. The cost is $15 per person in advance; $25 per person at the door, not including food tickets. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is located at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek.

For more information, go to www.ruthbancroftgarden.org or call 925-944-9352.

-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi