West Contra Costa has come forward with strong support of the American Cancer Society, hosting four Relay for Life events. The 24-hour relay walk raises funds for the society and awareness and support in the community.
Hercules held a relay on June 29. Next up is the El Sobrante relay on July 13 at Murphy Elementary School, 4350 Valley View Road (http://bit.ly/182yTuV).
The relay in El Cerrito will be July 20 at Cerrito Vista Park at Pomona Avenue and Moeser Lane (http://bit.ly/14BCqvr).
And volunteer walkers in Pinole will gather Aug. 10 at Fernandez Park, 595 Tennent Ave. (http://bit.ly/181hqzF).
Teams walk a track in shifts, relay-style, for 24 hours, raising money in the process from sponsors.
"The theme is to celebrate overcoming the challenges of cancer; remember those who have died, fought or are fighting the disease; and fight back, taking action against cancer," writes county Supervisor John Gioia in a message to constituents about the relay.
There is still time to participate, by joining or forming a teaming for the three events, or assist as a volunteer. Support as a spectator is also welcome.
The relay organizers in El Cerrito have been holding fundraisers leading up to the event, including dining nights at a local school and a tavern, as well as a car wash this past weekend.
They have had extra support the past few years from Playland-Not-at-the-Beach, the nonprofit Museum of Fun attraction, which has entered teams and hosted fundraisers in memory of its founder Richard Tuck.
This year is no exception and Playland has declared July 20 - 21 as El Cerrito Relay For Life Weekend.
The Playland staff invites the community to come to the relay to cheer on the participants and then enjoy the arcade games and exhibits at the museum celebrating the carnivals, amusement parks and other attractions of yesteryear from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Details: www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org or 510-592-3002.
MIME TROUPE RETURNS: The 54th season production by the San Francisco Mime Troupe opens this week and runs through Sept. 2.
The new show is "Oil & Water," which is actually a pair of one-act musical productions, "Crude Intentions" and "Deal with the Devil."
"The season was miraculously rescued from almost not happening due to money sources drying up," according to the award-winning troupe. "A grassroots fundraising drive saved the season at the last minute."
Because of the financial situation, "A leaner and meaner and (funnier) four-actor company and only two musicians will do all shows at parks."
It also means that some past stops of the touring show, including Richmond, are not on this year's schedule.
East Bay appearances include July 13 and 14 at Cedar Rose Park in Berkeley (1:30 p.m. music, 2 p.m. show); July 25 on the baseball field at Montclair Park in Oakland (6:30 p.m. music, 7 p.m. show); July 27 and 28 at Live Oak Park in Berkeley (1:30 p.m. music, 2 p.m. show); July 31 and Aug. 1 at Lakeside Park in Oakland (6:30 p.m. music, 7 p.m. show); and Aug. 3 at Willard Park in Berkeley (1:30 p.m. music, 2 p.m. show).
WEST COUNTY NOTES: "Blossoms and Thorns," the documentary about the Japanese American families who established cut-flower nurseries and a community in Richmond and El Cerrito despite ongoing prejudice and their incarceration by the federal government during World War II, is one of the films shown regularly at the Rosie the Riveter /World War II Home Front National Historic Park visitors center. If you haven't caught it there, or would like to see it again, the video is coming to television at 2:30 p.m. July 14 on KQED Channel 9.
Wells Fargo donated $500 to the Pinole Historical Society for providing the images used in the mural.
A dedication is tentatively set for 11 a.m. July 25.
More Pinole history is being commemorated at Collins Elementary School, where the original school bell that summoned children to class for 60 years at Pinole-Hercules School No. 1 has been restored and was installed June 26.
The old school served the community from 1906 to 1966, but was demolished in 1968. The bell is all that remains. Plans are in the works for a plaque and a mural by the Pinole Artisans to be installed by the bell.
A formal ceremony dedicating the bell's new home is still to be scheduled.
The honorees are the 1904 Johnson-Earl House at 2823 Benvenue Ave.; the 1936 North Berkeley Branch Library at 1170 The Alameda; and the 1903 Hearst Greek Theatre on the UC Berkeley campus.
Commendations from BAHA go to the Cheney Cottage at 1632 62nd St. and Anthony Hall (aka the Pelican Building) on the Cal campus.
Details about the work done to each is online at berkeleyheritage.com/awards/awards2013.html.
The project was facilitated by the El Cerrito Trail Trekkers group with input from city Parks and Recreation Commissioner Robin Mitchell of the El Cerrito Community Garden Network, and city arborist Steve Pree.
ACADEMIA: Keith Farwell of Hercules has been awarded a full, four-year scholarship as a President's Scholar with the 2013 incoming freshman class at California State University, Long Beach. Farwell, a valedictorian for the Class of 2013 at Alhambra High School in Martinez, is the son of Roy and Kathy Farwell of Hercules. He is planning to major in computer science at Cal State Long Beach.