LAMORINDA

Joint emergency operations center training

Lamorinda safety leaders, city and town staffers, Saint Mary's College representatives and the American Red Cross will participate in a three-day emergency operations training exercise beginning Dec. 3.

The training is being taught by the Texas A&M Engineering and Extension Service and will allow participants to manage a large-scale simulated disaster. Training will be provided by instructors with extensive emergency management experience.

Children and disasters focus of CERT meeting

Lamorinda CERT will present a panel discussion on helping children deal with natural and man-made disasters and other tragedies Dec. 9 in Orinda.

"Dealing with Children in Disasters" panelists include organizational behavior and design expert Dr. Leslie J. Berkes; Dr. James Betts, director of trauma services and chief of surgery at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland; child life specialist Christy L. Johnson and Michelle D. Heckle, emergency management officer at Children's Hospital in Oakland.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Orinda library auditorium, 26 Orinda Way. To reserve a spot, contact registrar@lamorindacert.org.

The group will discuss gas and electric utility hazards at their next meeting Jan. 13.

Moraga-Orinda Fire District

Fire chief contract approved

The Moraga-Orinda Fire District board of directors has greenlighted a five-year contract with new fire Chief Stephen Healy.

According to the contract approved Nov. 20, Healy will earn an annual base salary of $220,000. However, unlike the agreement with the previous chief, Healy's contract stipulates the board can negotiate the chief's salary should directors decide to implement across-the-board salary cuts.

Decreases in district medical and dental benefits will also impact the chief. Should the district decide to decrease those benefits, it will lower its contribution toward the chief's benefits in an equal amount.

Under the county retirement plan, Healy can retire at age 50 with a pension equal to 3 percent of his final average salary multiplied by years of service. Like the district's other employees, the chief will contribute 100 percent toward the employee share of retirement costs. He will also continue to receive a "fire retirement allotment" equal to 3.91 percent of base salary.

Approved in 2000 by the district to reduce employees' share of retirement contributions, that allotment is a pensionable benefit. Employees hired before new pension laws went into effect this year receive the income but can't include it in retirement benefit calculations.

Lafayette

Design Review Commission recommends Terraces project denial

Design review commissioners have forwarded a recommendation to the planning commission to deny several permits for the proposed Terraces of Lafayette apartment development.

Commissioners made the recommendation at a meeting Monday to deny the permits for the 315-unit affordable multifamily development proposed for a large hillside property on Deer Hill Road.

The decision this week followed comments made by commissioners in September rejecting the initial design for the Terraces. Commissioners also did not support an alternate "concept site plan" presented last month. Developers have proposed reducing the number of units to 208 spread through 14 two- and three-story buildings.

The planning commission is scheduled to consider the project at a meeting Dec. 9.

American Legion crab feed Dec. 15

A crab feed for area members of American Legion Post 517 in Lafayette will be held Sunday, Dec. 15, with a social hour at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6.

The feed will take place at the Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.

The cost is $40 per person. Checks can be sent to Americal Legion Post 517, Box 324, Lafayette, CA 94549. For more questions, call Dom Sidari at 925-376-1511.

City still seeks projects for vacant sites

The city has received a handful of project proposals for two vacant parcels near downtown that include the relocation of city offices and school district expansion. However, staffers are still accepting proposals for the buildings reuse.

City leaders are accepting ideas for the reuse of the former library building and a doctor's office at 949 Moraga Road. The city council recently decided to form a task force to study ideas for the "highest, best and most fiscally responsible" uses for the sites. Task force members are expected to be appointed this month and will begin analyzing proposals in January with recommendations to the council targeted for April or May, according to City Manager Steve Falk.

An application form is available on the city's website at www.lovelafayette.org under "Hot Topics." Proposals should be submitted to the city manager by Jan. 1.

Youth writing and photography contest

The Lafayette Youth Arts Society is accepting entries for their youth writing and photography contest through their website www.lafayetteyouthartssociety.com. Entries may also be dropped off at the Lafayette Library or Barnes and Noble in Walnut Creek.

There is a 1,000-word limit for written entries. Photos may be any size but should be submitted in a digital format. Additional information and entry details will is posted on the group's website. There are no entry fees. The contest deadline is Jan. 15.

Judges include author Daniel Handler, also known as "Lemony Snicket," and landscape photographer Gary Crabbe. For information, contact lafayetteyouthartssociety@gmail.com.

MORAGA

Saint Mary's Guild Christmas luncheon

A Christmas luncheon fundraiser benefiting Saint Mary's College students will be held Thursday, Dec. 5 at Soda Activity Center at the college, 1928 St. Mary's Road.

The event kicks off with a social hour at 11 a.m. and includes a holiday bake sale, raffles and entertainment by pianist Sharon Lee Kim and the Saint Mary's College chorale. Lunch will be served at noon.

The cost is $40 per person. All proceeds benefit the Saint Mary's College Scholarship Fund.

Checks should be made payable to the Saint Mary's College Guild and sent to Dolores McGonigle, 828 Crossbrook Ct., Moraga, 94556. For information, call 925-376-3306.

Volunteers sought for town boards, committees and commissions

The town is seeking volunteers for a number of boards, committees and commissions. Openings will soon be available on the town's audit and finance committee, design review board, park and recreation commission, planning commission and traffic safety advisory committee.

Applications, letters of interest and resumes must be submitted to the town clerk's office before 4 p.m. Jan. 10. The office is located at 329 Rheem Blvd.

Additional details are on the town's website at www.moraga.ca.us.

Town food drive now underway

The town is hoping to collect 500 pounds of food by Dec. 18 to feed the hungry during a food drive in support of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

Donations of canned foods, peanut butter and jelly in plastic containers, powdered milk, cereal, 100 percent fruit juice in plastic containers and enriched rice or pasta may be placed in two collection barrels in the lobby of the town offices at 329 Rheem Boulevard.

Online donations are also being accepted at www.foodbankccs.org/moragafooddrive.

Police collecting 'emergency' stuffed animals

New and gently used stuffed animals are being collected by the Moraga Police Officers Association as part of a the Stuffed Animals for Emergencies toy drive.

Stuffed animals may be dropped off in collection bins located in the lobby of the Moraga Police Department, 329 Rheem Boulevard.

The donations will be distributed by the S.A.F.E. organization to police, fire and selected military agencies to benefit children coping with fire, natural disaster, trauma or loss of a loved one.

The drive runs through Jan. 2.

ORINDA

Council reorganization Dec. 3

The city council's annual reorganization will take place Dec. 3 at the Orinda library auditorium after officials thank mayor Amy Worth for her year of service.

According to council tradition, the new mayor will be nominated and elected by the council to assume the role until Dec. 2014. A new vice mayor will also be named. The current vice mayor is councilwoman Sue Severson.

The yearly shuffling will be held during the city council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

Multiagency city food drive

The city of Orinda, the Orinda Union School District and Republic Waste Services have teamed up to host a food drive benefiting the Contra Costa Food Bank.

Residents may donate nonperishable canned goods and packaged foods along with fruits and vegetables, rise, pasta, peanut butter and other "shelf stable" items. Republic Services will donate a matching amount of food. Donated items can be placed in collection bins at city hall and the community center until Dec. 20. Items may also be dropped off at Del Rey, Sleepy Hollow and Wagner Ranch Elementary schools from Dec. 2-19 and Glorietta Elementary from Feb. 3-14.

For information, call food drive coordinator Aimee Stevens at 925-570-5654.

City seeks applications for treasurer

The city of Orinda is accepting applications from residents interesting in serving as the city's treasurer.

The treasurer is appointed by the city council and is responsible for duties including overseeing the city's moneys, bonds and securities; investing available funds and idle cash as guided by the city's investment policy; maintaining records of city investments and preparing reports.

Applicants should be familiar with state and city codes relating to public funds and have skills their investment. The two-year term expires Feb. 28, 2016.

Applications, a position description and copies of the city's investment policy are available at the city clerk's office, 22 Orinda Way. The deadline is Dec. 6.

For information, call 925-253-4221.

City seeking commissioners, other volunteers

The city is seeking volunteers to serve on a variety of commissions and committees.

Residents are needed to fill vacancies on the art in public places committee, the planning commission, parks and recreation commission, citizens' infrastructure oversight commission, traffic safety advisory committee, finance advisory committee, public works aesthetic review committee and historic landmark committee.

City liaisons are also being sought for the Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Aging and the County Connection Citizens Advisory Committee. A trustee for the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District and a Contra Costa County Library Commission representative is also being sought.

Statements of interest forms should be submitted to the city clerk's office by 5 p.m. Jan. 3. The city council will hold interviews Jan. 11.

Contra Costa

Helen Diller award nominations open

The Helen Diller Family Foundation is accepting nominations for the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, a $36,000 award that recognizes up to 10 Jewish teens who are spearheading volunteer service projects in their communities and beyond.

Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller--the quiet force behind the awards--started the prestigious awards program in 2007 to support California Jewish teens, and just last year expanded the program nationally. To date, the program has recognized 40 Jewish teens across the country with nearly $1.5 million dollars to support their education and philanthropic visions.

Talia Young, 18, of Lafayette was one of the 10 2013 winners. Teens may be nominated by any community member who knows the value of their project -- except a family member -- or teens can also nominate themselves. Complete a nomination form at www.dillerteenawards.org

For more information, email dillerteenawards@sfjcf.org or call 415-512-6432.

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.

The next workshop will take place on Jan. 25 and will focus on mammals.

The workshop 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