Human body part reported on shoreline

East Bay Regional Park police found what they believe could be a human body part on a beach in Eastshore Regional Park on Aug. 30.

Around 5:10 p.m., officers responded to the park, just north of Ashby Avenue, after a report was called in about discarded clothes and a body part along the shoreline, Sgt. D. Hall said.

Hall said investigators are fairly certain they know what kind of body part was discovered, but they are not releasing any other information as the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The Alameda County Coroner is aiding East Bay Regional Park police detectives in the investigation.

Drug firms lose suit against Alameda County

Alameda County won a victory last week in its first-in-the-nation bid to make drug companies pay for the cost of throwing away unused pills.

In a ruling that could embolden others to follow the East Bay government's lead, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg denied a lawsuit by the pharmaceutical industry that sought to halt Alameda County's prescription drug take-back ordinance.

That means beginning in November, companies that sell prescription drugs anywhere in California's seventh-most populous county will have to run a "stewardship program" to collect and discard unwanted medicine -- an initiative meant to curb drug abuse and the flushing of pills into the water supply.


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Passed unanimously by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last summer, the new law declares that expired, improperly discarded and illegally resold prescription drugs can too easily poison children, teenagers and the elderly, and that careless flushing of the drugs down toilets can also contaminate drinking water and the San Francisco Bay watershed.

Drug companies assert it will cost them about $1.2 million each year to transport and throw away the unwanted drugs. County officials countered that it will total less than $330,000 annually, shared by about 100 companies that sell drugs within the county's boundaries. The law also prohibits drug companies from passing the cleanup costs on to local consumers through fees.

Free speaker series on Bay starts next week

Bay Currents, a new monthly speaker series sponsored by Friends of Five Creeks (www.fivecreeks.org, f5creeks@aol.com) kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 with a presentation by geologist, paleontologist and former Tilden Park Botanic Garden director Steve Edwards on "The Delta's Late-Summer Splendor."

"East of the coastal hills, California's great Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers merge in a watery world, most of whose glory has succumbed to levee building and agriculture," the group says in an announcement. "But far-flung sites throughout the Delta remain rich in diverse native plants, unique associations, and showy wildflowers. This talk also is helpful background for knotty decisions on the future of the Delta."

The event is free but seating in the Edith Stone Room at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., is limited. Email the friends to be added to the list for future announcements.

Give Scottish country dancing a fling at new class

A nine-week introductory Scottish country dancing class, with live music, begins on Sept. 13 and continues through Nov. 8 at 2138 Cedar St. The class meets from 8 to 10 p.m. and the cost for the series is $30. "Learn the basic steps and figures of the traditional social dancing of Scotland, and put them to use in fun dances dating from the 1700s to the present, say the organizers. "You don't need to bring a partner or a kilt; you do need to wear flat non-slippery shoes." The series concludes with a dance party. Details: dnewitt@sbcglobal.net. A class for ages 7 and up is also available. Contact boldmary@aol.com for more details on the youth class.

Flamenco Festival coming to La Peña Cultural Center

The Bay Area Flamenco Festival brings Spain's greatest flamenco artists to Northern California, and the eighth annual edition kicks off with the riveting Concha Vargas. Since her debut at the Gypsy flamenco festival El Gazpacho de Morón at age 11, she has collaborated with the art form's most formidable figures and became a full-fledged star in her own right through a featured role in the flamenco opera "Camelamos Naquerar." She'll be joined by a group of musicians and dancers from Spain at 8 p.m. Sept. 21 at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Tickets and details: www.lapena.org. The festival runs through Oct. 6 with performances at La Pena, Kuumbwa and Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. More information is at www.bayareaflamencofestival.org

-- Andy Gilbert, Katie Nelson and Chris Treadway

Historical walking tours return for fall

The Berkeley Historical Society has announced its schedule of fall walking tours, which starts with "New Deal Nexus in Berkeley" at 10 a.m. Sept. 21, led by Harvey Smith. The outing will cover downtown buildings of the New Deal era, including Berkeley High School, the Community Theater, Civic Center Park, the art in the downtown post office art, the Old Farm Credit Bank Building, and a mosaic mural on the Cal campus.

On Sept. 28 Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association will lead Architectural Tour of North-Central Berkeley, covering the neighborhood north of University Avenue between Shattuck Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Tours start at 10 a.m., last about two hours and are limited to 30 paid participants. Prepaid reservations are required and can be made at www.berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org/walks.html.