READY TO FEUD: A family with deep Pittsburg roots will appear on "Family Feud" this week.
Sal Coniglio Jr., dad Sal Coniglio Sr., brothers Jim and Joe Coniglio and brother-in-law Phil Culcasi will appear on the Wednesday and Thursday air dates for "Family Feud," the popular TV show in which families compete against each other to name the most popular responses to survey questions.
"I'm a huge fan of the show and have been for a long time," said Sal Coniglio, operations and facilities manager for Contra Costa Waste Service's recycling center and transfer station in Pittsburg. "It was exciting, we had a lot of fun. We had a great time."
His wife, Monica, sent in an application that resulted in the five members of the Coniglio clan making the first cut in an audition held in March in South San Francisco. Then came a phone call from the producers on April Fool's Day asking them to come out for second audition in May in Atlanta, where the show is taped.
"I thought it was a joke. They said this is not a joke," Sal Coniglio Jr. recounted.
The Coniglio clan made it through the second audition, earning a spot on the show where they competed against two families over two nights. The details -- who won, who lost -- cannot be revealed until the show airs.
Sal Coniglio Jr. and Joe and Jim Coniglio are all Pittsburg natives and residents. Sal Coniglio Sr. came to Pittsburg from Sicily, Italy, in 1964.
Pittsburg's roots do run deep, even in Atlanta, where another Pittsburg native, Clarissa Dorton, daughter of Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover, showed up for the taping. Another woman who moved to Atlanta after living in Pittsburg was also in the audience. "You can run into someone from Pittsburg anywhere," said Sal Coniglio Jr.
ELEPHANT ON THE LOOSE: An elephant was running loose in Walnut Creek and other central Contra Costa BART stations earlier this week.
To drum up excitement for a likely postseason run, the Oakland Athletics sent their well-known pachyderm mascot "Stomper" out to area BART stations to give out free tickets to A's games.
But it wasn't just a few A's tickets that Stomper handed out but also free $5 BART tickets. Perhaps the BART tickets were supposed to encourage East Bay residents to travel to games using the train rather than driving the dreaded freeways. But a $5 BART card will only get you to the game; a round-trip fare from Walnut Creek costs $7.10.
Stomper made stops at Walnut Creek, Lafayette and Orinda BART stations. Lucky winners received free tickets to the A's game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
The tech-savvy elephant posed for photos with the three game winners and posted them on Twitter. A mother and son tracked down Stomper through Twitter and were appropriately dressed in A's attire.
ACT OF HEROISM HONORED: Joseph Trapani of Hercules was honored by the City Council on Tuesday for saving a man from a burning house in July. He accepted a plaque from police Chief Bill Goswick and a proclamation from the council, delivered by Mayor John Delgado, commending Trapani for his "gallant act of heroism" and "his courage and quick thinking in a dangerous situation."
Trapani, 29, was on his way to play golf with his brother and two friends on the afternoon of July 21 when he ran into a burning house instead -- twice. First Trapani, a former wrestler at De La Salle High School in Concord, carried out an elderly resident, Khang Do, who had been asleep. Unable to communicate with Do, who did not speak English, Trapani ran back inside to check whether anyone else needed to be rescued.
Tuesday night, Do's son, Hank, thanked Trapani, followed by individual council members.
A standing ovation ensued. But Trapani wasn't done, taking the podium to put in a plug for his community and its youths.
Earlier on Tuesday, he had come upon a fallen tree blocking one side of Refugio Valley Road, he said. He got off his bike and tried to pull the tree aside, but it was too heavy.
"There's grown men passing me," Trapani said. "Three teenage girls from Hercules High School ... came up, helped me pull this tree onto the island."
"There's really good youth here," he said. "There are good people here."
Staff writers Eve Mitchell, Elisabeth Nardi and Tom Lochner contributed to this column.