'National Night Out' crime prevention Aug. 5
All three cities are taking part this year in the National Night Out anti-crime event, this year set to begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5 in various neighborhoods.
Residents of any local neighborhood can be part of it, by planning a potluck, an ice cream social, a happy hour, a block party or barbecue -- any event that brings neighbors together helps build a stronger community. That, in turn, can lead to better defense against crime.
Take out papers, starting now, to run for council
The filing period for those looking to run in local elections this season, including city council races in all three Lamorinda cities, have until Friday, Aug. 8 to file candidacy papers.
For races in which no incumbents run to keep their seats, the filing period extends to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13.
In Lafayette, the four-year terms of council members Don Tatzin and Brandt Andersson expire in November. (Contrary to what was printed here July 18, Mike Anderson's term in not up until 2016).
In Moraga, incumbents Dave Trotter and Ken Chew are up for re-election in November.
Similarly, the terms of Orinda council members Sue Severson, Amy Worth and Dean Orr expire in November.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
For more information, contact the Lafayette, Orinda or Moraga city clerks' offices.
Several items on Monday's council agenda
The Lafayette City Council is expected to deal with several notable matters Monday night, including the county grand jury's findings on city employee "mandated reporter" rules on reporting suspected child abuse; a new agreement with Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority to serve Lafayette; and changes to the city's municipal code relating to keeping small farm animals, making restrictions stricter.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center's Community Hall.
Lafayette Juniors seek funding applicants
The Lafayette Juniors are accepting applications through Aug. 8 from all nonprofits in Contra Costa and neighboring counties in the San Francisco Bay Area who serve children, families and seniors.
The Juniors -- a nonprofit organization of local women dedicated to raising money and offering service in support of area nonprofits that serve children, families, and seniors -- will select four or five organizations from the applicant pool to become their 2014-2015 beneficiaries. Fundraising for these groups will begin this fall.
Last year, the Juniors raised nearly $50,000 for local nonprofit organizations. To obtain an application or learn more about the Lafayette Juniors, visit www.lafayettejuniors.org.
'Give Together' helps children volunteer
Give Together, founded just last year by Lafayette resident Catherine Aker, hosts events throughout Contra Costa County for family volunteers. The group works with local organizations to develop age-appropriate volunteer activities that are fun for the children and helpful to the organization's mission. Program organizers provide families with additional educational resources and tools to discuss giving.
They organize service projects and craft events that benefit the organization behind the scenes, teaching children that even small acts of giving can make a big impact. Activities are planned for families with children ages 2 to 12, but they welcome volunteers of all ages. Events are held in Contra Costa County and are usually limited to two hours or less.
In June, 48 families decorated place mats for Meals On Wheels clients, picked weeds and planted sunflowers at the Lafayette Community Garden, and created more than 100 friendship bracelets for young hospital patients at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland. At a family service day at Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, blankets and towels were donated to ARF, and families made dog and cat toys.
Thirty-four families participated in July by creating a mini-garden at the Lafayette Community Garden and donating it to seniors at the Lafayette Care Center, filled backpacks with school supplies for families receiving services through SHELTER, Inc., and assembled food boxes at the Monument Crisis Center in Concord.
Families are invited to join upcoming giving activities in September to create birdhouses for Habitat for Humanity at 10 a.m. Sept. 6, at The Home Depot in Concord. On Sept. 20, Give Together will help beautify Wood Park in Oakland from 10 a.m. to noon, including weeding and other gardening work. Registration is required for all events. Visit www.givegrow.org to sign up for events or to learn more.
Assistance League programs support students
Assistance League of Diablo Valley is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving lives in our community through hands-on programs, many serving Contra Costa County students.
League student programs include "R.E.A.D./Listen," in which members read or listen to second graders and the chapter donates new books to school libraries and classrooms each year. "The Kids on the Block" is a nationally acclaimed program that provides life-size puppets, directed by chapter members, to address such issues as learning differences, physical challenges and bullying.
Operation School Bell is another nationally acclaimed student program that provides new uniforms, clothing and shoes for elementary school students. Secondary level, college and foster students benefit from the chapter Scholarships program. Teacher Grants enable district teachers to enhance their curricula to benefit students.
Program funds are raised through proceeds from the Assistance League of Diablo Valley Way Side Inn Thrift Shop, 3521 Golden Gate Way in Lafayette, and through individual and corporate donations, grants and bequests. Chapter offices are located at 2711 Buena Vista in Walnut Creek. Learn more about Assistance League of Diablo Valley at diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.
Town Council cancels meetings
The Moraga Town Council has canceled its July 23 and Aug. 13 meetings to provide what they call a "legislative break."
The next scheduled meeting is now Aug. 27.
Summer Concert Series continues
The Thursday night summer concerts at Moraga Commons Park continue this coming week with Summer of Love (Beach Boys tribute), taking place July 31.
Other planned shows include Moonalice (60s classics), Aug. 7; Chris Gardner Band (country and western), Aug. 14; and Larry Lynch & the Mob (rock and roll), Aug. 21.
Code enforcement changes in place
The Town of Moraga has enacted changes in code enforcement designed to streamline the process, chief among them more direct involvement from town staff and less from the Town Council in declaring "public nuisance" situations.
The process will be streamlined, handled primarily by town staff, armed with additional enforcement tools. The council will now function mainly as an appeals body for residents who take issue with measures taken by town staff regarding code enforcement issues.
If a property owner fails to abate the nuisance in a set amount of time, a town compliance officer could organize the abatement by the town. If the resident appeals that abatement, the town manager would designate an impartial hearing officer to decide the appeal, or refer it to Town Council.
Courtesy calls, notices and written warnings of violations,to encourage voluntary compliance before issuing a citation will continue.
For more information, go to http://www.moraga.ca.us/news-1/code-enforcement-ordinance-update
New school district HQ building now open
The Orinda Union School District's new 7,500-square-foot office building at 8 Altarinda Road opened June 27, with district staff having moved there from its temporary offices at 25 Orinda Way, Suite 200.
The new district offices were created after Pulte Homes bought the school district's unused Pine Grove Intermediate School campus in 2012. As part of the $19.5 million sale, Pulte agreed to build a new district office building nearby.
Pulte is now building its 73-unit Orinda Grove housing tract on the former intermediate school property.
Board-game Thursdays beginning Sept. 11
If you've got board games at home to spare, they can find a good home, with a new city Parks and Recreation program, "Thursdays Together: Games Galore!" set to begin Sept. 11.
Adults are welcome to drop in at the Community Center on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon to play various games and meet new friends. Bring a game to play for the day or donate your gently used board games to the Orinda Community Center.
Neighborhood network 'Nextdoor' now in town
The Orinda Police Department has partnered with Nextdoor to help local neighbors stay in touch with the rest of their neighborhoods and with police, in the name of preventing crime.
The goal is for residents and police to better work together to improve safety and strengthen Neighborhood Watch efforts.
Through Nextdoor, Orinda residents can join private neighborhood websites to share information, including neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, local services and even lost pets.
The police department can post safety tips and crime alerts on Nextdoor websites within the city.
Those interested in joining their neighborhood's Nextdoor website can visit www.nextdoor.com and enter their address.
For answers about their Nextdoor website, visit help.nextdoor.com.
-- Sam Richards