Longtime Richmond resident Fred Davis Jackson dedicated his life to understanding people and their viewpoints, helping people overcome common differences, and working to bring harmony to communities that needed it most.

The message and work of Jackson, who died Sept. 8, 2011 at age 73, are memorialized not only in the people he successfully reached out to, but on a street named in his honor in North Richmond.

Even as he was in severe pain while being treated for the pancreatic cancer that claimed him, Jackson wanted to ensure his message continued.

An accomplished playwright and gifted songwriter/performer, he struggled despite his painful condition to bring his last works to the community he loved and always found hope in.

The result are his book, "Thoughts Set Free on the Wings of Expressions," and a CD of new musical compositions titled "Bouquet According to Fredology."

A special concert to celebrate the release of his new works will be hosted by Jackson's family and friends from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Richmond Police Activities League gymnasium, 2200 Macdonald Ave.

The Bouquet According to Fredology concert will feature recording artists The Sons of the Soul Revivers and Robin Hodge-Williams and Purpose, along with performances of Jackson's music.

The spirit and inspiration that Fred Jackson shared so freely will be there too.

Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at the door, available at www.brownpapertickets or at Reid's Records, 3101 Sacramento St. in Berkeley.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: It may only be mid-October, but for the annual toy donation program held by the Richmond and El Cerrito fire departments, it's not too early to be planning for Christmas.

The program -- which has reached the Christmas trees of needy families from Albany through Crockett for 20 years -- is hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 18 and 19 at Romano's Macaroni Grill at El Cerrito Plaza. Have a meal either day, mention the toy program to your server, and a portion of the bill will be donated to the effort.

Monetary donations for the program can be made online at www.toyprogram.org.

Donations of new, unwrapped toys and gifts will be collected during November and December, with locations to be announced.

  • Richmond has been renovating Lucas Park at 10th Street and Lucas Avenue and invites the community to participate in a tree planting event there from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 19.

    The Rotary Club of Richmond is sponsoring the family event with support from the city and group Richmond Trees, and 35 trees for the planting have been donated by Groundwork Richmond and the Watershed Project.

    Registration and breakfast are at 8 a.m., followed by a workshop led by arborist Molly Batchelder, and then the planting. There will be family activities all day, including music, refreshments and bounce structures, lunch for volunteers, courtesy of the Bay Area Rescue Mission, and speakers at noon.

    The day is part of an ongoing effort to expand the number of street trees in the city as a means of improving quality of life and the environment.

    To learn more about the event or about bringing trees to a Richmond neighborhood, contact city Parks and Landscape Superintendent Chris Chamberlain at 510-231-3004.

  • Shepherd of the Hills Church, 401 Grizzly Peak Blvd. in Berkeley, brings back the golden days of radio at 7 p.m. Oct. 25, when it presents a CBS Radio Mystery episode and some short comedy surprises. The family event kicking off the week leading up to Halloween is open to the public and the church will provide popcorn and refreshments.

  • The second Pecha Kucha Albany event, a series that is kind of like applying the speed dating technique to various topics, will look at the working world from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Community Center, 1247 Marin Ave.

    The format involves presentations in which 20 images are shown for 20 seconds apiece as each speaker gives a presentation. A number of residents from different vocations and walks of life will explain what they do and why, using the quick-flowing format.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.