Mt. Diablo district OKs appointments, budget
The Mt. Diablo school board on Wednesday made a dozen appointments and approved its state-required accountability plan and budget, and funding for school resource officers in Concord.
The board appointed Rianne Pfaltzgraff as principal of Concord High, Jonathan Roselin as principal of Riverview Middle School, Lorie O'Brien as director of school support and accountability, Lisa Murphy Oates as administrator of equity and disproportionality, Maria Kuvetakis as an occupational therapist, Rob Greathouse as interim manager of building and grounds, and John Clark as director of facilities, operations and resource conservation.
In addition, trustees appointed Chris Holleran, Bill Morones, Christine Richardson, Marie Schirmer and Julianna Sikes as school support administrators.
The board also approved an accountability plan and $219.6 million budget that includes more professional development, funding for high school sports and fifth-grade instrumental music, improved parent outreach and campus supervision, and extra support for low-income students, English learners and foster youths. Trustees also agreed to spend $240,000 to jointly fund school resource officers at high schools in Concord, with the city paying an equal amount.
-- Theresa Harrington, Staff
Bella Vista Elementary is the winning name
With construction just starting this month, Dougherty Valley's fifth elementary school has yet to be born, but it already has a name.
The San Ramon Valley school board Tuesday unanimously approved "Bella Vista Elementary School" as the name of the district's 36th school, to be built in east San Ramon.
Expected to open in fall 2016, the school will be on 7.4 acres about a half mile southwest of the Dougherty Station Community Center and Library, next to a 30-acre community park that is under construction.
Bella Vista beat out hundreds of community-suggested names, including those of celebrities like Beyoncé, Chuck Norris and One Direction.
"Bella Vista means 'beautiful view' in both Spanish and Italian, which is very appropriate given the view of Mt. Diablo and other local hillsides from this location," said Board President Rachel Hurd. "I think this name will truly resonate with students and the community."
-- Joyce Tsai, Staff
BART police arrest serial robbery suspect
BART police arrested a juvenile Friday morning suspected of robbing at least three BART passengers at gunpoint at the North Berkeley station in the past eight days.
The boy robbed his victims at similar morning commute times and at the same location, in the parking lot, police said. Victims reported a similar description.
Around 6:45 a.m. June 18, the suspect demanded cash from a victim in the west parking lot of the North Berkeley station before running away, and then robbed someone else five minutes later.
On Wednesday, the suspect demanded cash again at 5:47 a.m. No one was injured in any of the robberies.
BART police and Berkeley police staged extra patrols at the station Thursday. On Friday morning, BART police saw someone matching the description of the suspect and arrested him on the edge of the station near Franklin and Francisco streets.
Police found a gun and took the suspect to Alameda County Juvenile Hall.
-- Samantha Clark, Staff
Second suspect arrested in shooting
The second suspect in the shooting of two men in South Berkeley earlier this month turned himself in Friday, police said.
Anthony Durant, 23, of Berkeley walked into the Berkeley Police Department around 3:15 a.m. and surrendered, Officer Jennifer Coats said. Police issued a warrant charging Durant with assault with a deadly weapon after the June 11 shooting.
Two men, ages 18 and 21, were shot in the 1600 block of Russell Street near California Street around 4:30 p.m. on June 11. Both have recovered.
Police arrested another suspect, 22-year-old Donzale Mejia, of Oakland, on Thursday at an undisclosed location.
Durant was in custody Friday afternoon in the Berkeley jail, Coats said.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Judge reaffirms trial in Coke slaying
The defense lawyer for career criminal Randy Alana asked a judge Friday to dismiss charges that he murdered his longtime girlfriend Sandra Coke last August, alleging that the prosecution only has "a very weak, circumstantial evidence case."
Defense attorney Al Wax, who has represented Alana, 57, in two other murder cases, argued that there's "insufficient evidence" that Alana murdered Coke, 50, a federal public defender investigator who knew him for about 20 years and had a 15-year-old daughter with him.
Coke was reported missing from her Oakland home last Aug. 4 and her body was found at a park in Vacaville five days later.
But Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay said another judge, Thomas Reardon, who held a preliminary hearing for Alana last November had "sufficient probable cause" to rule that there is enough evidence for Alana to stand trial.
However, Clay said it is "another issue" as to whether there is enough evidence for a jury to convict Alana, whose trial is set for Oct. 6.
-- Bay City News Service
Podiatrist facing new illegal drug charges
A San Leandro podiatrist who was convicted of selling illegal prescriptions in 2008 has been charged with two new counts of the same offense, authorities said Friday.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement that Dr. Tan Nguyen, 62, had written more than 5,000 prescriptions -- mainly for addictive narcotic painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone, the muscle relaxer carisoprodol and the anti-anxiety medication diazepam -- in the last year.
On June 17, an FBI agent posing as a patient called Nguyen's office and was told she could get Norco, a narcotic painkiller.
When the agent arrived at the office two days later, Nguyen told her, "I can only give you 100 Norco," according to the statement.
The agent then asked for the controlled substance Soma, a muscle relaxer. Nguyen agreed and told her to pay $65, according to the statement.
After she paid, Nguyen, who had not examined her in any way, told her: "You have plantar fasciitis. Heel pain."
On Thursday, the agent returned to Nguyen's office with an undercover Alameda County Sheriff's deputy. Nguyen wrote the deputy a prescription for 100 Norco and 50 Soma, again without any kind of medical exam.
As the pair left Nguyen's office, he told them to limp as they walked away from the building, according to the statement.
Nguyen was previously convicted of selling illegal narcotics prescriptions in 2008. He was sentenced to 65 days in jail and 5 years' probation, and had his medical license placed on probationary status for seven years, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
-- Samantha Clark, Staff