Police proactive during holiday season

Walnut Creek are touting some recent arrests during this holiday season, that they call "excellent proactive work by officers." All involved catching alleged thieves and each case methamphetamine was discovered on the suspects.

On Dec. 13, officers responded to "a large retail store" downtown after a report of fraud in progress. The responding officer recognized the suspect as one responsible for fraud at the same store two weeks prior, according to a news release. In the earlier case, the suspect now identified as 38-year-old Tony Gawd of Antioch fled before police arrived but an arrest warrant was issued. On Dec. 13, Gawd was allegedly attempting to buy items and using stolen checks as payment; police arrested him and found a "large quantity of methamphetamine" on him, according to the release. Also arrested for assisting Gawd was 39-year old Victor Vigil, and both were booked into the Martinez jail.

A day later, an off-duty Walnut Creek officer was shopping downtown when he recognized 20-year-old Nikelas Scanlan of Concord, who had an active arrest warrant, according to police. The officer followed and watched Scanlan, along with Stefanie Spillane and Gabriel Guerrero as they began shopping inside a store. Other officers were called in and the three were detained and several items that had been reported stolen from a vehicle burglary one hour earlier were on them, according to police. The items included a credit card, stolen property from a Concord burglary and false identification, police said in the release. Meth was also found, all three were booked into jail.

Just a few days later on Monday at 2 p.m., officers stopped a vehicle that had recently been stolen out of Concord and had stolen plates. The three suspects in the car had burglary tools, meth and stolen property from a home burglary in Clayton, according to police. The suspects, Matthew Miracle, Jason Jacobson and Monica Sahagun, were all booked into jail.

City offices closed during holidays

Most city offices, including City Hall, will be closed for the winter holidays beginning 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, reopening at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2.

Public Safety services will remain available throughout the holidays.

Also closed Dec. 24-Jan. 1 are the Bedford Gallery; Larkey Swim center; administrative offices at the Lesher Center for the Arts, the Shadelands Arts Center, Civic Park Community Center, and Heather Farm Park Community Center. The community centers may be open on select days for rentals or programs, but are not open to the public.

The Clarke Swim Center and the city gymnasiums will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 only.

The Lesher Center Ticket office will be open on Dec. 27 and 28; for Lesher Center information, call 943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

Meher School holiday boutique Dec. 22

Volunteers are scrambling to sort an avalanche of donations for families from local businesses, community groups and individuals for the annual "Free Toy and Clothing Boutique." The tri-yearly event will be held at noon Dec. 22 at Lafayette's Meher Schools. Toys and clothes are donated and collected and then given away to low-income and homeless parents from all over the East Bay.

Stephanie Monson, event coordinator said volunteers are for hundreds at the next event. Brand new items have come in from Walnut Creek businesses and companies from as far away as Santa Rose and Oakland.

The last Toy and Clothing Boutique on Oct. 6 had the Saranap Community Association serving 518 parents and children who began lining up over an hour before the event at Lafayette's Meher Schools. Parents traveled from Antioch, Pittsburg, Concord and Richmond.

Diablo Dems host update on reproductive rights

Planned Parenthood Shasta-Pacific Public Affairs Director Susannah Delano will discuss "Pushing Back on the War on Women" at the meeting of the Diablo Valley Democratic Club at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Rd. in Walnut Creek.

Delano will discuss the state of reproductive rights across the nation, efforts to limit them and how Californians can work to promote women's health and reproductive choice, according to a news release. Since joining the Planned Parenthood staff in 2010, she has assisted in the expansion of the affiliate and the development of its advocacy program. She is a member of Planned Parenthood's statewide Strategy Team and Legislative Committee.

For more information, call 925-946-0469 or go to www.dvdems.org

County Connection's free senior, disabled rides

County Connection's board of directors recently approved a promotional free ride program for senior and disabled riders in the middle of the day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week on any County Connection regular or express fixed-route service. This will begin Dec. 22.

"County Connection is responding to a need in our community for reliable transportation options for the elderly and persons with disabilities," said County Connection Board Chair and Walnut Creek Councilman Bob Simmons said in a news release. "Because this group is often living on a fixed income, we are pleased to offer this Free Ride Program during the midday, in addition to our already reduced rates to ride at other times of the day."

To take advantage of the Free Ride Program, riders need to show bus operators proof of eligibility. People with a photo ID showing a birth date of 65 years of age or older, or a senior Clipper card qualify for the senior pricing. Eligible disabled passengers need an RTC Discount Card, DMV placard registration receipt, a Medicare Card, or a Veteran Disability card.

The Free Ride Program will be offered by County Connection for a period of six months, after which officials will study at the possibility of extending the program.

For more information go to countyconnection.com or call 925-676-7500.

Diablo Ballet holiday singalong Dec. 20

Walnut Creek-based Diablo Ballet will celebrate the holidays with song at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 at the Steinway Piano Gallery, 1605 Bonanza St, Walnut Creek.

Those who come will ring in the holidays with an evening of dance led by Diablo Ballet ballerina Rosselyn Ramirez, and beloved Nutcracker characters, and holiday and "Nutcracker" songs with pianists and singers, including Diablo Ballet's Lee Foster and Justin Levitt, executive director and manager of the Steinway Piano Gallery and a concert pianist. There also will be food, wine, and punch and cookies for children.

Tickets are $20 each, or 3 for $50. Donation will be earmarked toward Diablo Ballet's $20,000 year-end matching donation campaign, which benefits the Ballet and its PEEK Outreach Program, which provides in-school movement and music curriculum and free performances to students with limited opportunities to experience the performing arts.

-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi.