West Downtown plan gets more discussion March 12

The West Downtown Specific Plan will be discussed again at the next Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, after a Feb. 6 meeting on the subject yielded ample suggestions on the future of the area.

The "West Downtown" area runs from California Boulevard in the east, Interstate 680 on the west, Olympic Boulevard on the south and the BART station on the north.

The advisory committee's main task Feb. 6 was to organize all of the suggestions into logical groups to form the basis for various alternative scenarios for the area.

This community-led planning process is expected to take about two more years.

The most recent discussion included the proposed 141-unit "The Landing at Walnut Creek" apartment complex on Ygnacio Valley Road near the BART station, on the specific area's north end.

Horse Faire at Heather Farm March 30

The Equestrian Center of Walnut Creek presents its 2012 Horse Fairer Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Heather Farm Park equestrian area.

Watch riding performances and drill teams, do horse-related arts and crafts, listen to live music, enjoy food and drinks are more. Admission is free, and activity tickets are $1 each.

For more information go to www.ecwc.org

Watch the 2013 "State of the City" on TV

The 2013 State of the City presentation by Mayor Cindy Silva will be aired on Walnut Creek TV at the following days and times throughout the month of March: Tuesdays, 5 p.m.; Fridays, at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 11 a.m.; and Sundays, 7 a.m. and noon.

For other air times, visit www.walnutcreektv.org .

Walnut Creek TV is the City's government access channel, paid for through specific cable company fees. It is found on Comcast Channel 28 (incorporated Walnut Creek only); Comcast 26 in Rossmoor; Astound Channel 29, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99. In addition, Walnut Creek TV is streamed at www.walnutcreektv.org, and original programming is available at Youtube.com/cityofwalnutcreek.

City studying second-hand-smoke ordinance

The City Council has asked staff to study a prospective ordinance imposing restrictions on smoking downtown and in apartment buildings and other multifamily homes, along with other ways to cut secondhand smoke exposure dramatically.

In a recent statewide report, Walnut Creek received an "F" grade for its overall tobacco control from the American Lung Association. The city has received this grade since 2009 from that group, which uses three main grading criteria -- smoke-free outdoor air, smoke-free housing and reducing sales of tobacco products.

In the report to the council, city staff recommended restricting smoking at public events to designated smoking areas, and prohibiting smoking at bus stops, ATMs and ticket lines, and within 200 feet of gathering spots including playgrounds and sports fields. They did not recommend banning smoking downtown,or pursuing smoking restrictions in multifamily units. They did, however, recommend prohibiting smoking in all indoor and outdoor common areas, balconies and patios.

Another area of concern in the lung association report was ensuring that minors are not able to buy tobacco products. Walnut Creek already has an ordinance requiring retailers obtain a license from the county health department to sell tobacco, but the lung association recommends a renewed effort to enforce that licensing.

Grand jury applicants sought

The Contra Costa grand jury is seeking applicants for the 2013-14 fiscal year to oversee city and county governments, and school and special districts.

Grand jury members must be 18 years or older, US citizens and have resided in Contra Costa County for at least one year before selection. They can't hold any elected positions within the county and must be able to be released from their jobs to perform jury duties, among other requirements.

Sixty applicants will be selected to be interviewed by the grand jury Selection Committee. A final panel of 19 will be chosen by random drawing on June 14.

Interested applicants should contact the Office of the Civil grand jury at 925-957-5638 or visit www.cc-courts.org/grand jury.

Paint collection sites established

Several paint collection sites have been set up as part of the California Paint Stewardship Program, which requires paint manufacturers to develop a system to retrieve leftover paint from household and commercial consumers.

The program will be funded by a "recovery fee" attached to the purchase price of paint sold in California. That money will go to PaintCare, a nonprofit organization created to administer the state paint disposal and recycling programs. These fees go up to $1.60 per one- to -five-gallon container of paint.

Some collection sites include Kelly Moore, 2700 N Main St. in Walnut Creek; Glidden Professional, 2260 Commerce Ave. in Concord; Kelly Moore, 5600 Imhoff Drive in Concord; Sherwin-Williams, 1241 Diamond Way in Concord; Dunn-Edwards, 555 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill; and Kelly Moore, 1725 Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill.

For more information about the California Paint Stewardship Program visit www.paintcare.org

-- Compiled by Sam Richards