Lafayette

Mt. Diablo Boulevard project preliminary review

The City Council, and planning and design review commissioners met this week to discuss a townhome development proposed along Mt. Diablo Boulevard in the city's west end.

The city council held a joint study workshop with representatives from Lennar Homes, who have proposed developing the parcels at 3666, 3672 and 3682 Mt. Diablo Boulevard. Officials provided feedback on the development and raised questions and concerns about issues including the project's look and feel and its suitability at the site.

Residents and nearby business owners also gave input about the proposed development's location, the potential loss of commercial space and building heights.

The developers are hoping to construct 47 homes including a live/work "component" they say will add a commercial element to the project. Lennar is proposing a density of 23.5 homes per acre on the 2 acre site, and 8 units with heights approaching 45 feet. The city does not permit building heights greater than 35 feet without council approval.

The developers had not submitted any permits or design plans at the time of the workshop, and the council took no action on the project.

East end pedestrian, bike improvements move forward

Despite some pleas from residents and business owners to modify a plan for updated medians and beautification in the east end and delay their improvements, a majority of city leaders has voted to move forward with the project.

The approval this week to award a $1.16 million construction contract for improvements to a section of Mt. Diablo Boulevard from First Street to Brown Avenue will allow work to begin in about two weeks, said city engineer Tony Coe. Staffers expect the construction to last until January; the schedule will include a break between Christmas and New Year's, Coe said.

Some council members questioned the use of certain city funds, including some dedicated to road repairs, to fill a $248,000 shortfall in project funding. The council decided to tap walkway development and street tree funds before using surplus funds from road projects.

Some city leaders asserted their viewpoint that they consider the median project a road project, and urged moving forward.

The city has held numerous public meetings and workshops on the improvement project.

MORAGA

Pear & Wine Festival this Saturday

The Pear & Wine Festival, celebrating the town's history as a significant grower and exporter of pears, will be held Saturday at the Moraga Commons Park.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, 1425 St. Marys Road.

Pears were grown all over Moraga Canyon from 1913 until approximately 1960; by the time Moraga became a town in 1974, commercial growing had ended.

One section of the original commercial pear orchards still stands at the corner of Canyon Road and Camino Pablo. This acre of 100 year old pear trees is the site of a pear harvest every August.

This year's event includes a pear recipe contest and a poster contest. All recipes will be judged at noon at the festival in the following categories: dessert, appetizer and other. Winners will be announced at the bandshell at 1 p.m.

Pest control workshop, demonstrations Oct. 1

Parents for a Safer Environment and the Town of Moraga will present a series of the most practical, cost-effective and least toxic pest control alternative demonstrations Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga.

There will be hands-on demonstrations by experts in their fields who will show long-term and economical methods for controlling gophers, moles and weeds on landscapes, and rats, mice, ants, fleas and termites in structures while using the least toxic methods possible.

These demonstrations are recommended for the staffs of schools, child care facilities, towns and cities, businesses, country clubs/golf courses, growers, churches and homeowners and renters. This represents eight continuing-education units approved by state Department of Pesticide Regulation for pesticide applicators and advisers.

The cost is $10 for each of the six, 1-hour demos or $50 for the entire day, with half off for additional registrants from public agencies, nonprofits, or businesses with six or fewer staff. Organic, gourmet lunch available with pre-orders. Preregistration deadline is Sept. 23; go online to www.pfse.net. Walk-ins are OK, space permitting.

Livable Moraga Road workshops

A series of workshops to discuss proposed improvements to Moraga Road between Campolindo High School and St. Marys Road will kick off Oct. 3 at the Hacienda de las Flores with a welcome meeting and open house.

The event will offer residents the opportunity to learn about the project and ways to get involved, according to a town newsletter. The town plans to address traffic flow, safety and connectivity in the project, as well as the design and character of the roadway as a "key gateway."

A walking tour of the project area will be held Oct. 5.

For information, visit www.moraga.ca.us/liveablemoragaroad.

Saint Mary's College Guild Italian Night

The Saint Mary's College Guild will hold an Italian night fundraiser Oct. 12 to raise money for financial aid scholarships.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. at the college's Soda Center and will feature accordion music by Gene Falcone. The cost is $35 per person. Checks should be made payable to the St. Mary's College Guild.

Contact Pat Wiegmann at 925-376-6088.

ORINDA

School facilities task force looks for input

An Orinda School District Facilities Task Force will meet regularly from September through November to gather

public input on updates to the district's updated Master Facility Plan on issues related to the improvement of district facilities.

This plan contains recommendations for the use of funds from the recent sale of the Pine Grove property. It is anticipated that the task force shall present its recommendations to the school board this November.

The task force is made up of five parents -- Kirsten Odmark (Del Rey), Bruce Saldinger (Glorietta), Paul Dolan (Sleepy Hollow), Primo Orpilla (Wagner Ranch) and John Eddy (Orinda Intermediate School); and two school board members; Tyson Krumholz and Matt Moran.

These meetings will be scheduled in the evenings at the district office, 25 Orinda Way-Suite 200, plus one meeting per school site: Sept. 25 (Sleepy Hollow), Oct. 1 (Orinda Intermediate), Oct, 3 (Del Rey), Oct. 17 (Glorietta) and Oct. 24 (Wagner Ranch), All meetings -- at the school district office and at each school -- begin at 7 p.m.

For questions, contact the Superintendent's Office at 925-258-6201.

'Crime After Crime' documentary, Q&A at library

Join our friends at STAND! For Families Free of Violence for a wine and cheese reception at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2, followed by a screening of the documentary, "Crime After Crime," featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

Nadia Costa and Joshua Safran, the two attorneys highlighted in the film, will take part in a discussion following the screening, led by ABC7 news anchor Cheryl Jennings. It will be held Oct. 2, at the Orinda Library Auditorium, 26 Orinda Way.

For more information, call Katie Owensby at 925-603-0120.

Contra Costa

Restaurant Walk benefits girls' science education

More than 25 Walnut Creek restaurants will be providing delicious samples from their menus as part of the Walnut Creek Restaurant Walk, from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 1, sponsored by the American Association of University of Women.

This is essentially a progressive dinner party in downtown Walnut Creek, with ticket sales revenue to benefit the Orinda-Moraga-Lafayette Tech Trek fund, which supports sending young women to science/math university summer camps designed to develop interest, excitement and self-confidence in young women who enter eighth grade in the fall. The camps feature hands-on activities in math, science and related fields.

Send checks, at $30 per person, to Gail Chesler at 2914 Fyne Dr., Walnut Creek, CA 94598. Checks should be made out to AAUW OML Community Outreach Fund, Inc.

Get 'up close' at Lindsay Wildlife Museum

Lindsay Wildlife Museum introduces "Saturday Keeper Workshops" that let young animal lovers meet the museum's professional animal keepers, and learn how they do their jobs caring for the museum's resident animal ambassadors.

This two-hour workshop explores the world of the museum's animals and their human caretakers close-up. Young naturalists, ages 6-15, learn how animal keepers care for animals, clean enclosures, prepare diets, encourage exercise and activity and train cooperative behaviors. Workshops begin at 9 a.m. before the museum opens to the public.

The first workshop will be held 9 a.m. Sept. 28 and will focus on raptors. The second workshop will take place on Jan. 25 and will focus on mammals.

Both workshops will take place at the museum, 1931 First Ave., in Walnut Creek. The cost is $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers. For more information call 925-627-2913 or go to wildlife-museum.org.

-- Jennifer Modenessi and Sam Richards