KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS: As part of the recent youth summit in Pleasant Hill, 450 students in grades 6-12 from Valley View Middle School, College Park High School and a few others submitted answers to two pressing questions: What do you like about Pleasant Hill, and what would you like to change? The results were tallied, and then another group of 200 young people selected their favorite responses to those questions.

Their No. 1 gripe with the city? High gas prices.

"We'll be working on that at our next council meeting," Councilman Michael Harris quipped.

"We're going to find oil somewhere in Pleasant Hill," Mayor John Hanecak said.

And the thing the kids like most about their fair city? Sunvalley mall. Which is in Concord.

Survey says: These kids need lessons in geography and the complex geopolitical forces that shape global oil supply and demand.

PRACTICE makes perfect: When you're a high school senior excited about graduation, it can be hard to concentrate.

The Eye saw this first hand last week as giddy students at Antioch's Dozier Libbey Medical High School participated in trial run of the ceremony.

Many were excited to take some candid camera phone pictures with their friends, arrived late to the practice, or were talking while instructions were given.


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It took the students two tries to sit down after the Pledge of Allegiance; the first time, the seniors took their seats as if they were a falling row of dominoes.

The second time was much more uniform and satisfied Principal Nancie Castro.

While running through the program, Castro told speakers to say a couple of words into the microphone. Senior Antonio Hernandez made everybody chuckle when he said: "Words words words. Words, words. Words words words."

After four years of hard work, the Eye thinks it's OK to be a little silly. Especially since Friday's real ceremony went off without a hitch.

GOING GREEN: Richmond may have a particularly dirty industrial legacy, but its leaders are determined to get greener -- even if it hits the public pocketbook.

The city's Public Works Department on Tuesday introduced a proposed ordinance that would ban the use of carcinogenic pesticides by city work crews.

The biggest impact could be on anti-weed solutions, which are often used in landscape maintenance applications.

Under questioning from Councilman Nat Bates, public works officials said that switching to nontoxic solutions for landscape maintenance could cost seven or eight times more per ounce and potentially cost the city thousands in annual costs.

For four of the six council members present, the costs were justified and they approved the first reading of the ordinance.

But Councilman Corky Booze voted no, and Bates abstained. Both expressed concerns about increasing costs on the city's tight budget.

"I've been spraying with Roundup and weed killer all my life," said the 80-year-old Bates. "And I'm just fine."

Final passage of the new law could come later this month.

STUDENT SHENANIGANS: The Eye's coverage of the senior pranks and resulting suspensions at Brentwood's Heritage High School has generated a lot of feedback in terms of reader comments and phone calls.

While most calls pertain to the May 31 incident, The Eye has also heard about pranks from years past.

Police officers, teachers, lawmakers, city workers and family friends have reminisced about the antics that were pulled off over the years. The Eye's younger sister even reminded him of pranks that his classmates pulled.

Among the antics mentioned: Gluing doors shut, deceiving teachers, flooding parts of campus, placing or moving objects on campus and soap in water fountains.

couch forum: The forum pages on ContraCostaTimes.com are designed to be a place for readers to share what's important to them and discuss local happenings.

The Eye noticed recently that for one poster on the popular Antioch page, the goal was to get rid of a free couch.

The Craigslist-type ad was trying to unload the brown recliner sofa but was taken down after a short period.

This is not the first time there have been some deviations from the intent of the forums, with spam ads also popping up on occasion.

Staff writers Lisa P. White, Paul Burgarino and Robert Rogers contributed to this report.