Milestones

Celebrating a milestone this year is John F. Kennedy University with the 50th anniversary of its founding and the 10th anniversary of the opening of its main campus in Pleasant Hill.

Pleasant Hill has been honored to have JFK these past 10 years. The university's presence has reinforced Pleasant Hill's reputation as an education city adding to the strong educational opportunities long provided by Diablo Valley College and the Mt. Diablo School District.

In recognition of its deepening ties to the Pleasant Hill community, JFK has announced that it is offering a $500 resident scholarship.

The scholarship is available this fall for incoming first-time students in the bachelor's and master's programs who reside in Pleasant Hill.

JFK offers a multitude of other scholarship opportunities, including scholarships for students transferring from DVC, diversity scholarships and scholarships for the support of community service projects, veterans and active duty service members. Check out www.jfku.edu for more details.

Gateways Project

As you may recall, this city project is an initiative to enhance the main gateway/entryways into Pleasant Hill by designing and constructing new gateway markers and entry signs.

The first city Gateway Project workshop was held June 12.

Attendance could have been better, but those who did attend shared their ideas and opinions about what makes Pleasant Hill unique.


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Comments and feedback ranged from the strong sense of community in the city to the natural features that surround and characterize the many neighborhoods.

The group also talked about cost being an important consideration for this project and over the next two meetings, the discussion will include more focus on design, budget and how project implementation might be phased.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 19, and will again be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at City Hall in the large community room.

Light refreshments will be provided and all our encouraged to attend the meeting.

This is an exciting project that will help shape the city's brand and image now and into the future.

This is also a great opportunity for residents, businesses and students to get involved in a project that will help beautify and encourage new investment in the city.

I hope to see you there!

Mayors' cook-off

The sixth annual Contra Costa County Mayors' Healthy Cookoff competition is at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord on Thursday, July 31.

All 19 Contra Costa County cities were invited to bring their mayor and a chef from their city to compete "Iron Chef" style for an unspecified "grand prize."

So far, 10 cities, including Pleasant Hill, have entered the contest.

Each chef is given a grocery bag containing a protein food item and produce from local farmers.

Judges decide the winning dish based on creativity, presentation, taste and most importantly, healthiness.

I am excited to represent Pleasant Hill in the cookoff, along with Chef Oscar Patlan from El Aguila.

Oscar is the former sous chef and chef de cuisine of Prima and Esin, two of Contra Costa's most highly regarded restaurants.

A couple of years ago, he opened his farm-to-table Mexican cuisine gem of a restaurant at 1300 Contra Costa Blvd. I am predicting a Pleasant Hill win!

No matter what the outcome, the importance of the Mayors' Cookoff is to promote healthy living through health and nutrition education.

And be sure to visit El Aguila -- tell Oscar that the mayor sent you!

New city clerk

As you may recall, our City Clerk resigned May 19 with a little over two years remaining in her term.

The City Council subsequently decided to fill the position by appointment rather than call a special election.

The council then appointed Vice Mayor Ken Carlson and me to an ad hoc committee to interview candidates.

We interviewed all three stellar applicants for the position, and at its July 7 meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint Paige Kremser Stenrud to the City Clerk position.

Ms. Kremser Stenrud will formally take over the clerk duties at the Aug. 4 meeting of the council.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Timothy M. Flaherty is the mayor of Pleasant Hill. Contact him at tflaherty@ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us.