("Doug Duran")
A 'Mr. Christmas' finale after 36 years

12/24/2014 07:37 PM PST
Health issues lead Bruce Mertz to say that central Contra Costa's most famous and popular Christmas display will shine for the last time this season. 
CRIME & COURTS
Man found dead on UC Berkeley campus was from San Ramon

BERKELEY -- A 20-year-old man who was found dead in the heart of the University of California at Berkeley's fraternity and sorority residential area early Saturday was from San Ramon, according to online posts. 
OBITUARY
British singer Joe Cocker dies of lung cancer

Joe Cocker, the raspy-voiced British singer known for his frenzied cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends," the teary ballad "You Are So Beautiful" and a contorted performing style uncannily parodied by John Belushi on "Saturday Night Live," has died. He was 70 
HOMETOWN HEROES
( JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO )
Hometown Hero: Doug Schuster founded Concord Police Department's neighborhood patrol program

CONCORD -- Doug Schuster stumbled into a career in law enforcement in the military and found the work so rewarding that he has spent nearly 20 years and thousands of hours volunteering with the Concord Police Department. 

Public Employee Database

The details of more than $12.2 billion in tax money spent on local government salaries in 2009 are now available

University of California Employee Database

The database covers more than 250,000 workers in the University of California system.

Life in the wild

Follow the seasons at the SF wildlife refuge with photo slide shows and more on our ongoing interactive map.

Salary search

Find out how much Contra Costa County employees make in our searchable salary database.

Shortened Lives

Where you live affects how long you live.

Running on Empty

Experts worry that the Bay Area transit system has entered a death spiral.

Tips for the college-bound

It's never too early to start preparing for college, especially during these economic times. With the right steps, students and their families can stay on the path to a higher education.

 
BAY AREA NEWS
DVDs: Films do dysfunctional family comedy right, wrong

12/24/2014 06:30 PM PST
"This is Where I Leave You"Mining the dysfunctional family theme for dark comedy gold has become a favorite for the laurel wreath cadre of semi-independent filmmakers. 
Alameda: Thompson Avenue aglow at Christmastime
12/24/2014 06:20 PM PST - Christmas Tree Lane -- also known as Thompson Avenue in Alameda -- is an annual event that draws people from all over the East Bay and beyond as they enjoy holiday lights, decorations, carolers and a visit from Santa. The annual tradition since 1938 runs through New Year's Eve. 

Alameda: Islanders have plenty of choices to ring in 2015
12/24/2014 06:20 PM PST - Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, 2317 Central Ave., will host its sixth annual New Year's Eve event with a carnival-themed affair. Admission includes games, prizes, clown performances, magic shows, Pacific Pinball Museum games, face painting, a grand prize drawing, and two live simulcast ball drops at 9 p.m. from Times Square in New York and at midnight from San Francisco.  

Alameda: Longtime butcher Joe Scalise dies at 80
12/24/2014 06:19 PM PST - Known by legions of loyal customers as "Joe the Butcher," Joe Scalise passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Dec. 19. He was 80. 

Brentwood won't ask council members to repay health coverage costs
12/24/2014 07:05 PM PST - Interim city manager says former council mistakenly increased its benefits in violation of state law, costing the city $11,530 -- and considerably more than that in investigating the error 

Alameda city briefs: Capone's Speakeasy donates toys to Alameda police
12/24/2014 05:14 PM PST - On Dec. 20, Capone's Speakeasy donated 250 toys collected by the Alameda High School girls (frosh) basketball team to the Alameda Police Department for the Toys for Tots program. 

Alameda: Man faces narcotics charges after traffic stop
12/24/2014 05:14 PM PST - Officers searched the man, who was arrested about 3:10 p.m. Dec. 18 in the 1800 block of Yale Drive, and his vehicle after a background check revealed he was on probation, police said. 

(Adam Berry)
Are car keys a thing of the past?

The furor over General Motors' deadly ignition switch has the potential to doom the car key, a technology drivers have been using for 65 years. Full Story
(Chris Pizzello)
Famous bidders lining up to buy Clippers

Billionaires, entertainers and athletes alike announced their intentions to pursue the Los Angeles Clippers with varying degrees of seriousness Wednesday, proving the longtime losers will be quite a prize if the NBA is able to wrest control of the team away from Donald Sterling after his lifetime ban for racist remarks. Full Story
(Chris Pizzello)
Louis CK is back and grumpier than ever

Louie, who (like Louis) is a New York comic and a divorced father of two daughters, knows struggle and angst and cloudy wonderment. He views life through eyes with a stricken look, dwelling in a state of comfortable dread. Full Story