Broadway Plaza plan back at the table

A study session to discuss the newly refined Broadway Plaza Master Plan will be held 7 p.m. April 11 at a Planning Commission meeting, city hall, 1666 N. Main Street. The meeting will focus on the rezoning necessary for the long-range master plan of the outdoor shopping center. Future development is proposed to include construction of up to 300,000 additional square feet of commercial floor area. At one time the plan also called for the closing of a city street and the possibility of housing, but that has been scrapped from the project for the 60-year old mall. Even with the scaled-down scope of the project, it would increase the retail space in the mall by almost a third.

Bancroft's Spring plant sale April 13

The Ruth Bancroft Garden's annual Spring Opening and Plant Sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 13. Featured succulents include agaves, aloes, and echeverias, including plants propagated from the garden's plants, some dating back to Ruth's original collection. The garden's staff, docents and nursery propagators will provide insider tips and tricks to planting a stunning garden that looks great all year long with less irrigation than a lawn. Free admission is offered all day. The garden is located at 1552 Bancroft Road in Walnut Creek.

Special park commission meeting Monday

The Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission will hold a special meeting 7 p.m. Monday at city hall, 1666 N. Main Street. The commission will decide on liaison appointments, get an annual report on sports, camps and social services and receive updates on both the way finding effort and the secondhand smoking ordinance. There will also be an update on the all abilities playground project, which would revamp a city park so that children with disabilities could use the park.

Seventh-grader to compete is state geography bee

Christopher Verga, a seventh-grader who lives in Walnut Creek, is a semifinalist eligible to compete in the 2013 California National Geography Bee, to be held at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento Friday, April 5.

Chris attends a Mt. Diablo district program offered only at Valley View Middle School in Pleasant Hill, where he won the school's geography bee. He took a qualifying test and the students with the top 100 scores were invited to compete at the state level.

The state winner will receive $100, the "complete National Geographic on DVD," and a trip to Washington D.C., where he or she will represent California in the national finals at the National Geographic Society headquarters on May 20-22. The first-place national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the Society. This is the 25th anniversary of the Bee.

Peace center hosts speaker David Cobb

David Cobb, leader of the "Move to Amend" movement will speak at 7 p.m. April 5 on "The American Creation Myth" and amending the Constitution to reduce big money's domination of the U.S. Government, according to a news release. The Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center is putting on Cobb's speech which will take place at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universilist Church, 55 Eckley Lane. The talk is free and open to the public. There will be a reception where light refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. for $10 at the peace center before the talk.

Horse Faire postponed until May 4

The Equestrian Center of Walnut Creek will now present its 2012 Horse Faire Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Heather Farm Park equestrian area.

The even had originally been scheduled for March 30, but was postponed on short notice due to expected inclement weather that day.

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

Memoirs featured at library event

On April 23, Bay Area writers Cheryl Dumesnil and Marilyn Abildskov will share their adventures and misadventures as told in their memoirs: Dumesnil's "Love Song for Baby X: How I Stayed (Almost) Sane on the Rocky Road to Parenthood," and Abildskov's "The Men in My Country." The free event will be held 7 to 9 p.m. April 23 at the Walnut Creek Library. Registration on the Library Foundation's website is required to reserve a seat at the library, www.WCLibrary.org.

Dumesnil's memoir details her road to parenthood "following her and her unlawfully wedded wife through four conceptions, three miscarriages, a temporarily legal wedding and finally the arrival of their longed-for-son after twenty-five hours of labor," according to a news release. Dumesnil is the winner of the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

In her memoir, Abildskov tells the story of her journey from Utah to Japan, to teach English to high school students. "Her memoir becomes a story of how, in losing herself in a foreign place, she became dangerously—and gloriously—undone," according to the release. Abildskov is a professor of English at Saint Mary's College and winner of a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award.

The free program is part of the Library Foundation's Live! From The Library series, which features public lectures and other cultural and literary events held at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek.

For more information about this and other programs, please visit www.WCLibrary.org, or call 925-935-5395.

Episcopal Church leader to be at St. Paul's in Walnut Creek

The Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will visit Walnut Creek April 6 and 7 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. She will preach at the 9:30 a.m. service.

The church is located at 1924 Trinity Ave.

Schori is chief pastor to the Episcopal Church's 2.4 million members in 16 countries and 110 dioceses. She was elected at the 75th General Convention in June, 2006, and invested at Washington National Cathedral in November, 2006.

For more information about the visit go to www.stpaulswc.site.aplus.net/wordpress

Thursday workshop on proposed secondhand smoke ordinance

As Walnut Creek continues to explore a new ordinance that would restrict smoking in the downtown and commercial areas, the city will hold a workshop for all interested residents 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday April 4, third-floor conference room, 1666 N. Main St.

This meeting is specifically for residents who want to learn more about the proposed ordinance, ask questions and give opinions. The ordinance would prohibit smoking on public sidewalks in the downtown, all outdoor dining areas and outdoor services such as bus stops, within 20 feet of doorways and windows. It would also prohibit smoking within all new multifamily units, owned or rented.

Can't make the meeting? Residents can also weigh-in via the new virtual "Open Town Hall" by going to www.walnut-creek.org/citygov/opentownhall.asp

For questions contact Matt Huffaker, special assistant to the city manager, by email huffaker@walnut-creek.org.

Register for April 'Spotlight' in the open space

April's "Second Saturday Spotlight" will shine on the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation with a guided walk to three restoration projects.

The 90-minute program begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 13.

Tour guides will stop at several open space restoration sites where foundation members will explain how sites are chosen, and the process they follow to plant, grow and care for native plants at those sites, according to the city.

Check-in and parking will be in the Walnut Heights School parking lot, 4064 Walnut Boulevard.

The 1.25-mile walk takes place on unpaved trails and uneven ground, participants should bring water and wear a hat, sunscreen and sturdy shoes.

There will be an optional hike at the end of the tour along Indian Creek, where open space guides will point out native plants. All spotlight programs are free.

Advance registration is requested. To register, visit www.walnut-creek.org/spotlight or call 925-256-3505. To register, visit www.walnut-creek.org/spotlight or call 925-256-3505.

The spotlight program is a yearlong community outreach effort led by Mayor Cindy Silva, featuring "behind the scenes" tours of various Walnut Creek programs and locations.

www.WalnutCreek100.com website.

Learn about Mt. Diablo's plants on April 21 walk

Spot early blooming flowers, rare plants, the critters that pollinate them and learn the legend and lore surrounding Billy, the flower-loving dog on his visit to Mount Diablo in 1830 on a two-hour, three-mile hike up Mitchell Canyon on Sunday, April 21.

The hike starts at 10 a.m.; meet at the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center on the northwest side of Mount Diablo State Park (accessed through Clayton), The hike is free, but it's a $6 entrance fee per vehicle. For more information, go to http://www.mdia.org/

-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi