Gershen named district 'Woman of the Year'

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) has named Walnut Creek resident Cindy Gershen as the "14th Assembly District Woman of the Year." Gershen was recognized along with recipients from the other 79 California Assembly districts recently at the annual California State Assembly Woman of the Year ceremony.

"Cindy's leadership and action-oriented work in the community is having a tremendous impact to improve the long term health of all our residents," said Bonilla in a news release. "Cindy's innovative high school education program, Change the Food, Change the Future, can serve as a transformative model for future educational nutrition programs in our schools."

Gershen, a well known face in Walnut Creek, is chef and owner of Sunrise Bistro and founder of Wellness City Challenge, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve health through nutrition, education and physical activity. "Gershen is being recognized not only as a successful Contra Costa County business owner, community health activist and author, but also for her dedicated service to our local schools," according to the release.

She is involved in promoting healthy eating through education and teaches a course at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord. She is also working with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District to create healthier menu options in their school cafeterias.

"It is of great honor to accept this award from Assemblywoman Bonilla and I am even more appreciative as it reflects my passion for food and health," said Gershen in the news release.

Public meeting on proposed bus route changes

A public workshop to gather comments on proposed changes to bus routes in Walnut Creek will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 20 at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 Broadway. Changes being proposed are: reroute Route 7 to provide more frequent and direct service between Pleasant Hill BART and Shadelands; and eliminate Route 2 and modify Route 5 to provide more frequent and direct service to Walnut Creek BART.

County Connection seeks ublic comment on the proposed service changes. Detailed maps for the changes can be viewed online at http://cccta.org/

Comments can be submitted in writing, via email, or at two scheduled public hearings. E-mail: planning@countyconnection.com

Uniqlo setting up shop in Walnut Creek

Trendy affordable Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo is continuing its Northern California expansion into Walnut Creek. The chain, which had only been on the east coast in 2012, is gearing up to open in the former The Children's Place at 1259 S. Main St. in Plaza Escuela by the end of this year. Its first store on the west coast opened in San Francisco in 2013.

Uniqlo will be in front of Walnut Creek's Design Review Commission 7 p.m. March 19, 1666 N. Main St. for a study session. The company wants permission to remodel the exterior facade and place bigger signs on the building.

Uniqlo, is part of Japan-based Fast Retailing Group, the world's fourth-largest apparel retail company, and has a target to open 20 to 30 stores a year annually in the U.S. through 2020. The company turns high fashion trends into lower-priced, mass-market goods, rivaling retails such as H&M.

Conference to focus on Palestine/Israel conflict

The San Francisco Bay Area Sabeel Conference "Voices for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land" will take place March 21-22 at the Christ the King Catholic Church, 199 Brandon Road in Pleasant Hill.

The conference is an opportunity to hear from and talk with Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular leaders, scholars and activists about the situation in Palestine/Israel.

The keynotes speaker is Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, senior minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., and National President of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice accompanied by a special message from Professor Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories. Other speakers include Palestinian authors Susan Abulhawa and Omar Barghouti, Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, Ambassador Ed Peck, Col. Ann Wright, Dr. Lonnie Bristow and Professor Clayborn Carson.

The conference will also feature several workshops.

The conference is co-hosted by Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, and by Northern California Friends of Sabeel, and is co-sponsored by Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center. For more details, contact Kate Doherty 925-682-2486 or John Erickson 510-542-4629. Registration and conference schedule information can be found at www.fosna.org

Health care presentation and sign-up Saturday

With time running out to sign up for health care, Covered California will hold a question-and-answer event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday March 15 at the Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road.

Anyone with questions about health care reform can watch the presentation about Covered California, the new health care exchange marketplace. The marketplace is now open for Californians to obtain health care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. Sue Hamill, a Covered California certified educator, will dispel some myths and help people understand what to do to enroll for health care insurance through the marketplace.

Following the presentation enrollment assistance will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m.

Eldercare agency celebrates 25 years

Eldercare Services is celebrating 25 years in business in Walnut Creek this year. Founder Linda Fodrini-Johnson saw a need for geriatric care management in 1989 and sought to provide care for families and advocate for older adults by founding Eldercare Services in the kitchen of her home, according to a news release.

Now the agency in Walnut Creek staffs more than 250 people, 85 percent are women.

Eldercare Services, the Bay Area leader in Care Management and Home Care is the largest Bay Area agency of its kind, recently became accredited by the Joint Commission, according to the release. Of the hundreds of agencies now in the Bay Area, Eldercare Services is one of only two who are accredited by the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, according to the release.

"We are honored to have served thousands of Bay Area clients and their families with the expertise and collaborative knowledge of our Care Management and Home Care teams," said Fodrini-Johnson in a release. "We profoundly celebrate our meaningful work and are grateful for the lives we touch daily."

To celebrate the 25-years a private, invitation-only celebration will be held at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum this month.

Meet former swimming Olympians

Walnut Creek Olympians will be available to meet at a special event March 14.

The Walnut Creek Aquanuts, a world-renowned synchronized swim club, has produced more than 30 Olympic athletes, eight of whom are current WCA coaches. Walnut Creek is also currently hosting the USA Synchro National Team.

The public is invited to learn about the competitive sport of synchronized swimming and the Olympic talent and training that exists on the team.

Admission is free and live music will be performed by Fundz Jazz. The event is sponsored by the Walnut Creek Marriott and the Walnut Creek Aquanuts.

The event will take place 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 14 at the Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 North Main Street.

CERT. training registration now open

Registration is under way for Walnut Creek's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT.) basic training, to be held April 9 through May 31. CERT. teaches everyday people how to safely and effectively respond to the needs of the community in the critical hours following a disaster. CERT. graduates are sworn in as volunteer Disaster Service Workers for the City of Walnut Creek.

In the event of an earthquake or other disaster, CERTS gather at predesignated staging areas and organize teams to search the neighborhoods. These trained volunteers are the "eyes and ears" for first responders, gathering critical information for the city's Emergency Operations Center and helping those in need.

Training topics include disaster preparedness, how to shut off utilities and use a fire extinguisher, light search and rescue techniques, disaster First Aid, radio communications, care of displaced pets and how to manage a CERT. team using the Incident Command System.

Classes will be held Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 9 through May 21, with a final class drill the morning of Saturday, May 31. There is a $25 class fee. Registration information is available at www.walnut-creek.org/cert or by calling the CERT. registration line at 925-256-3556.

UC prof: Changing the climate change conversation

UC Berkeley Professor Michael Ranney will explain how Californians can influence the state and national conversation on climate change at the March 19 meeting of the Diablo Valley Democratic Club, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road in Walnut Creek.

Ranney will show clips from the award-winning documentary "Chasing Ice," and his short video "How Global Warming Works." With 156 members of the House of Representatives denying climate change amid record drought and polar vortex storms, Ranney said his projects -- which study policy-making involving socially important data -- are timely. He holds a doctorate in experimental cognitive psychology and heads the university's Reasoning Research Group.

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