GIRL POWER: Men called the shots in designing the original Caldecott Tunnel in 1937 as well as the Art Deco bas relief sculptures above the tunnel openings.

But six girls will design the sculptures to go above the $402 million Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore, which is scheduled to open in late 2013 to widen Highway 24 between Oakland and Orinda.

Six girls -- including two sisters from Oakland -- snagged all six winning spots in a design competition judged by a panel of art and architectural experts.

The judges were not given identities of the entrants who submitted the drawings.

More than 300 male and female students from kindergarten through high school in the East Bay entered the competition sponsored by Caltrans and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

The Contra Costa winners are Daniell McCann, 16, of Acalanes High School in Lafayette; Penelope Watson, 13, of Pleasant Hill MiddleSchool; and Chaya Tong, 8, of Springhill Elementary School in Lafayette.

The Alameda County winners are, Aoife Gorshow, 11, and Nuala Gorshow, 8, of Thornhill Elementary School in Oakland, and Ellina Bartholomew Couts, 10, of Frank Otis Elementary School in Alameda.

The winners won no cash -- but the honor that their images will be cast in concrete and appear above 160,000 motorists that travel through the tunnel each weekday.


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THANK YOU, AT&T: At the start of a recent Rio Vista City Council meeting, Councilwoman Constance Boulware asked city staff to send a thank you note along with a City of Rio Vista pin to AT&T.

She said the gesture would be in appreciation of AT&T's new commercial featuring a San Francisco jogger lost near Rio Vista's windmills looking for the location on his mobile device. He says "Rio Vista?" in confusion.

City officials said the commercial has put Rio Vista on the map, and they received a lot of positive feedback at the Solano County Fair this summer. "We are known," exclaimed Boulware.

Some Discovery Bay residents got a bizarre wake-up call over the weekend from an errant swimmer.

OUT FOR A SWIM: Shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday, Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office dispatchers received reports that a very loud, very naked man was in the waterway that runs along the 1700 block of Dolphin Place.

Deputies arrived to find the 23-year-old subject clinging to a buoy and yelling; a resident loaned them his boat so that they could get closer to the swimmer, said sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

They negotiated with him for about two hours before finally convincing him to swim ashore, where an ambulance took him to a hospital for evaluation, Lee said.

There's no indication whether the man appeared to be on drugs or mentally ill, he said.

THE AIR UP THERE: The Eye recently discovered that sometimes it pays to know someone who is tall.

At a recent Discovery Bay Community Services District meeting, the modular building quickly became stuffy and warm.

The board apologized for the building having problems with its air conditioning. At one point, director Jim Mattison offered all those at the meeting bottles of water.

Luckily for those sweating out the meeting, one of the district's hired consultants who was at the meeting to present information on a municipal bond was also very tall.

Dan Massiello reached up and opened the vents, which released cool air into the building.

Board members Mattison and Kevin Graves joked that the underwriter showed off his versatility as both a bond expert and repairman.

REASON TO SMILE: Smiles are difficult to find in the morning I-680 commute crawl, but one driver of a Scion xB has done his part. "NO TOAST," proclaimed the personalized license plate on the white, box-like mini-car that so resembles a common kitchen counter appliance.

Staff writers Denis Cuff, Paula King, Rowena Coetsee, Paul Burgarino and Andrew McGall contributed to this report.