Separate fitness center, parking garage projects on tap

On Feb. 28, the Walnut Creek Planning Commission will consider permit applications for two distinct projects -- fitness center/ cafe in the Shadelands Business Park and an office building/parking garage/car storage on North Main Street on the former Piedmont Lumber property.

Proponents of the GRE Fitness Center and Cafe seek a conditional use permit to allow conversion of space in a vacant office building (Building 5) at 2820 Shadelands Drive into a fitness center and cafe.

Also, the Ohio-based Zaremba Group seeks a conditional use permit and design review for a proposed new building, parking garage, vehicle storage area other improvements to a 1.93-acre parcel at 2860 N. Main St.

More details about both of these projects should be available after 2 p.m. Friday at www.walnut-creek.org. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the City Hall council chamber, 1666 N. Main St.

Next 'Spotlight' event highlights corp yard

Walnut Creek's next "Second Saturday Spotlight" program is March 9, "Keeping Things Running Smoothly," a behind-the-scenes look at the city's Public Services Maintenance Corp Yard.

It's the third in a planned series of "Spotlight" events that will also allow the public to go to the nerve center of the Lesher Center for the Arts and see what goes on at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum.

The "Spotlight" series in Mayor Cindy Silva's primary outreach program to Walnut Creek's residents, said Gayle Vassar, Walnut Creek's communications and outreach manager.

"This is the mayor's way to connect with the community for the year," Vassar said.

Future scheduled "Spotlight" programs and April 13, "Walnut Creek's Legacy of Open Space," led by the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation

The city encourages people to register for each "Spotlight" ahead of time, so the city can best accommodate those who want to come. The online registration system is on the Spotlight web page. That said, drop-ins are welcome, too.

All "Spotlights" will take place the second Saturday of the month from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and will be very informal tours of a community/city gems. To register or for more information, go online to www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us/spotlight. or call Vassar at 925-943-5895 or email her at vassar@walnut-creek.org

Free estate management seminar Feb. 27

The Walnut Creek law firm De La Housaye & Associates is offering a free seminar about estate management strategies regarding a recently passed new Congressional bill.

This new legislation has opened up questions about how to plan for future estate expenses. The extension of the $5 million individual estate tax exemptions will benefit many homeowners if they know how to prepare for this and recognize the potential volatility of tax laws.

Christopher Jew, an associate trial attorney with De La Housaye, will present the seminar Feb. 27 at the law offices at 1655 N. Main Street, Suite 260.

Library 'Friends' book sale Saturday

The Friends of the Walnut Creek Library's Book Sale takes place in the Oak View Room at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway, on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be a break from 2:30 to 3 p.m., after which time the Bag Sale will be on, where a grocery bag of books can be bought for $5. All proceeds from the book sale are used for the library collection and children's programs.

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

Changes planned for Encina Grande center

A relocation and expansion of the existing Walgreens store, facade improvements throughout the whole shopping center and removal of approximately 25 mature trees are all proposed for the Encina Grande shopping center, near the intersection of Ygnacio Valley and Oak Grove Roads.

The renovation plans call for the Walgreens store to move from its space west of the Safeway store into the space on the far eastern end of the center, recently home of Alexander Kat Furniture and Hardwood Flooring. That store would be expanded, and a drive-in pharmacy window built on its east side.

A new facade would cover storefronts in the entire development, which also includes Ace Hardware, Rocco's Pizza and Applebee's, among many other eateries and retailers. The basic appearance of the center hasn't changed since it first opened in the 1960s.

Also part of the plan is the removal of at least 25 oak, camphor, hackberry and ash trees throughout the center, to accommodate changes in the parking areas.

The city's Design Review Commission must approve the remodel and the Walgreens building expansion, and a use permit must be obtained for the drive-through window, which Walgreens hasn't had there. The Planning Commission must approve the project, likely sometime in early 2013.

East Bay Women's Conference is March 4

The 2013 East Bay Women's Conference, with keynote speaker Marlo Thomas and featured speaker Lisa Kristine, takes place March 4, at the San Ramon Marriott.

Both women have had significant impact on the lives of women around the world and continue to act and speak out for positive change.

ABC 7 news anchor Dan Ashley will emcee the conference that blends keynote and featured speaker presentations; breakout sessions focused on contemporary issues; exhibitor booths; a fully stocked bookstore and author signings.

The conference is presented by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce and Chevron Corporation. The $195 ticket price includes continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon reception.

Tickets for the conference, are available http://www.walnut-creek.com and click on the Women's Conference photo on the face page.

-- Compiled by Sam Richards