LAMORINDA

City, town offices close for holidays

City and town offices in Lamorinda will be closed for the holidays.

Lafayette city offices will close Dec. 23 and reopen Jan. 2. Orinda city offices will close at noon Dec. 24 and reopen Jan. 2. During that time, the police department can be reached through the dispatch phone line at 925-284-5010.

Town of Moraga offices will close Dec. 20 and reopen Jan. 6.

Lafayette

Acalanes grad earns recognition for film

Valery Jorgensen, a 2011 Acalanes High School graduate, has won two Awards of Merit from The Accolade Competition of Southern California as part of the MediaLab team of Pacific Lutheran University students for their 2013 documentary "Tapped Out: Unearthing the Global Water Crisis."

"Tapped Out," which premiered in Seattle in October, focuses on water-related issues across North America. It won in the categories of "Short Documentary" and "Use of Film/Video for Social Change."

Jorgensen said the awards are gratifying and rewarding.

"Our team worked hard to make the documentary thought-provoking and influential, so it's a great feeling to be acknowledged," said Jorgensen, who also served as assistant videographer on "Tapped Out." She is a junior in Communication at Pacific

Lutheran in Parkland, Wash. near Tacoma.

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.

Meher School holiday boutique Dec. 22

Volunteers are scrambling to sort an avalanche of donations for families from local businesses, community groups and individuals for the annual "Free Toy and Clothing Boutique." The tri-yearly event will be held at noon Dec. 22 at Lafayette's Meher Schools. Toys and clothes are donated and collected and then given away to low-income and homeless parents from all over the East Bay.

Stephanie Monson, event coordinator said volunteers are for hundreds at the next event. Brand new items have come in from Walnut Creek businesses and companies from as far away as Santa Rose and Oakland.

The last Toy and Clothing Boutique on Oct. 6 had the Saranap Community Association serving 518 parents and children who began lining up over an hour before the event at Lafayette's Meher Schools. Parents traveled from Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord and Richmond.

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

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.

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

City manager contract approved

City leaders this week approved a new three-year employment contract with City Manager Janet Keeter. Under the terms of the contract, Keeter's total salary will rise from $189,002 to a base of $198,452 and includes possible salary adjustments such as a merit increase of up to 3 percent; a performance bonus of up to 3 percent and a salary adjustment for inflation. Like previous contracts, the new agreement also stipulates that amendments will be negotiated should Keeter become the lowest-paid city manager is Contra Costa County.

Keeter will also receive a one-time $2,500 payment for entering the contract and an additional one-time payment of $,2500 on June 30, 2014 if she remains in her position, according to a city report.

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, rice, pasta, peanut butter and other "shelf stable" items. Republic Services will donate a matching amount of food. Items may be dropped off at Glorietta Elementary from Feb. 3-14.

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

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 15 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; deadline is Jan. 19.

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