City may ban plastic foam takeout containers

Walnut Creek is considering an ordinance to prohibit the distribution of polystyrene-based disposable food service ware by all food vendors. This includes but is not limited to restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias and mobile food trucks.

The city itself -- specifically city facilities, city-sponsored events and city-permitted events -- would also be prohibited from using polystyrene-based disposable food ware. All city departments, franchises, contractors and vendors doing business with the city would be prohibited from acquiring disposable food serviceware made from polystyrene. Exempted under the ordinance are prepared foods that have been packaged outside the city, coolers or ice chests and certain emergency situations.

The City Council will consider the new ordinance 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 20. To view the proposed ordinance language, go to www.walnut-creek.org/greentogo. To comment send an e-mail by May 6 to greentogo@walnut-creek.org.

Thomas J. Long Foundation announces new CEO

The board of trustees of the Walnut Creek-based Thomas J. Long Foundation recently announced that Mark Friedman will become their new chief executive officer effective June 1.


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Friedman, an El Cerrito councilman, joins the foundation from First 5 Alameda County, where he was CEO since 1999, leading the nonprofit's innovative early childhood programs in early care and education, health care and family support. The Long Foundation has been a longtime partner of Alameda First 5, having contributed $1.3 million to the organization over the past four years. The board was on the lookout for a CEO as it embarks on the foundation's new strategy to disperse major multiyear grants to needs initiatives in Alameda and Contra Costa County over the next eight years. By the year 2022, the foundation will spend-out its $90 million endowment.

The grant initiatives will be focused in the areas of education, disabled services, senior services and safety net services.

The foundation will continue its responsive Community Grants Program that has been in place since 1972. Supporting organizations in the arts, education, conservation, and health and human services, in 2013 the foundation awarded 230 responsive grants totaling more than $6 million.

Friedman was appointed by Governor Brown to the California State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care. He is a council member on the El Cerrito City Council, where he currently resides.

All-cities picnic June 8 at Heather Farm

Walnut Creek Sister Cities is having an all-cities picnic at Heather Farm on Sunday June 8 starting at 5 p.m. This is to celebrate Walnut Creek's 100 birthday. The public is invited; cost is $10 per person over 5 years of age.

Before the picnic there will be an "amazing race" with teams of up to five people able to compete. There must be at least one adult on each team, as a car will be needed. The race will start at 3 p.m. at Heather Farm Park where each team will pick up their first clue -- think of it like a citywide scavenger hunt.

Teams will need to solve the clue to go to where the next clue will be. The clues will be about Italy and Hungary, the countries of Walnut Creek's sister cities. The cost is $10 per team. There will be a first prize and all who participate will receive participation ribbons.

All must preregister for either the picnic and/or race by June 2 at www.wc-sister-cities.org. and click on events. Registration fees are to be sent to Walnut Creek Sister Cities, 1921 Argonne Dr., Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

Art and wine festival coming soon

The 33rd annual Art & Wine Festival will come back to Heather Farm Park May 31 and June 1. The annual event features entertainment, thousands of distinctive handmade crafts and works of art and of course, award-winning local and regional wines and microbrews. There will also be ethnic and traditional festival foods, a special premium wine tent, beer garden and a children's area. The Art & Wine Festival annually draws 100,000 visitors over two days. While admission is free it does cost to drink and eat.

This event is put on each year by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. There are sponsorship packages still available that range from $800 to $50,000. For more information call the chamber at (925) 934-2007.

Trees coming down in Walnut Creek

Beware Walnut Creekers -- over the next three weeks Walnut Creek and contractors will be removing trees. But it has nothing to do with the 735 trees that PG&E plans to remove and city leaders are raging against.

Here are the locations and the reasoning from the city for removal of some other trees:

  • Heather Farm Park -- Three eucalyptus trees in front of the preschool and are in decline, having dropped several branches. They are a safety concern for the children in the preschool.

  • Heather Farm Park -- Seven trees are in poor health and need to be removed for the construction of the All-Abilities Playground.

  • Oak Grove -- Two magnolias trees located in the sidewalk and their roots have raised portions of sidewalk creating an ongoing public safety hazard.

  • North Main Street -- Two ask trees are located in the sidewalk and their roots have raised portions of the sidewalk creating an ongoing public safety hazard.

  • Walnut Avenue -- Nine various species trees have lifted and damaged the sidewalk along Walnut Avenue. This is part of the city's capital budget "Sidewalk Repair Project."

  • Heather Farm Tennis Center -- Two trees are have lifted and damaged the concrete flat work adjacent to the tennis courts. This is part of ongoing capital budget work.

    In most cases these trees will be replaced in the same location. However, the species of tree may change to better suit the site, according to city officials.

    And the Centennial Grove legacy project will result in 85 new trees at Heather Farm Park.

    Playground bricks are still available

    There's still time to adopt a commemorative brick for the new All Abilities Playground, to be built this summer at Heather Farm Park.

    The Walnut Creek Civic Pride Foundation has extended the deadline for the brick program to June 30. The Foundation is trying to raise more than $325,000 for the playground.

    Two sizes of bricks are available for individuals or families -- 4-by-8-inches for $100, and 8-by-8-inches for $250.

    Other donor opportunities are available for businesses and community groups. To make a donation or for more information, go to www.WCCivicPride.org. Earthquake historian to speak at Library

    Author and Historian Richard Schwartz will share stories of how refugees transformed the East Bay when they fled San Francisco in the wake of the 1906 quake at a special presentation at the Walnut Creek Library.

    The free presentation begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 15 in the Walnut Creek Library's Oak View Room.

    On April 17, 1906, the day of the great earthquake, Berkeley had 26,000 residents.

    A year later, its population had grown to 38,000, largely due to the influx of homeless refugees. Berkeley residents set up temporary camps, dispensed food, listed jobs, took in the homeless and helped victims reconnect with their loved ones.

    Schwartz's book "Earthquake Exodus, 1906" highlights how community members organized relief efforts to feed and shelter the earthquake victims with virtually no help from the government.

    The presentation is hosted by Walnut Creek's Community Emergency Response Team and is open to the general public. Signed copies of Schwartz's book will be available for purchase.

    Advance registration is requested. Visit www.walnut-creek.org/cert or call 925-943-5895.

    Applicants needed for county boards

    The city seeks applicants for County Connection Advisory Committee and County Library Commission.

    Applicants for both positions must live in incorporated Walnut Creek and be registered voters.

    There is one opening for a Walnut Creek representative on the County Connection Advisory Committee and one opening for an alternate representative on the Contra Costa County Library Commission.

    The appointment to the County Connection Advisory Committee will be for two years will be for a period of two years and the appointment to the Contra Costa County Library Commission will be for a term through Dec. 15, 2015.

    Applications are available on the city's website at www.walnut-creek.org; at the City Clerk's Office, 1666 N. Main St.; by phone at 925-943-5818; and via e-mail at smartinez@walnut-creek.org.

    Completed applications and the supplemental questionnaires must be submitted to the city clerk's office.

    For additional information, please contact Suzie Martinez, city clerk, at 925-943-5819.

    -- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi