El Cerrito police received a welcome addition to their equipment last week -- a supply of Teddy bears.

The stuffed bears are used by officers when there is a situation involving children who need comforting.

A group of 15 bears was presented to officers at the El Cerrito Police station on Jan. 29 by members of El Cerrito Inner Wheel, a service club affiliated with the Rotary Club of El Cerrito that raised funds to purchase and donate the bears to the department.

El Cerrito police Lt. Steve Bonini told members at the presentation that "You have no idea how much these help when you go into a crisis situation," recounts Inner Wheel member Norma Trillia.

Also last month, Inner Wheel members donated a needed supply of goods such as paper plates, paper towels and toiletries to Family House at Children's Hospital Oakland. Family House provides low cost accommodations to families who have a child at the hospital and live more than 70 miles away.

SAN PABLO POLICE ADD AEDS: The San Pablo Police Department has equipped all of its patrol cars with automated external defibrillators and trained its officers in using the lifesaving devices.

The 22 units were donated to the department in December by the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, which used a federal grant to purchase new devices for its engines.

One of the units will be available in the lobby of the San Pablo police station.

Officers received two months of training on recognizing cardiac emergencies and using the devices from the Emergency Medical Services Division of Contra Costa Health Services.

"All San Pablo police officers have been trained in the devices and can potentially begin delivering lifesaving aid to cardiac victims minutes before a fire engine or ambulance arrives," said Police Chief Walt Schuld.

Learn more about the county public-access defibrillation program at cchealth.org/ems/aed.php.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: Venture, a 6-month-old student-run store at Albany High School, has earned Gold Certification from DECA, an international association of high school and college entrepreneurs. The enterprise is the only one of its kind in California to receive the honor.

The store, which sells school supplies, clothing and accessories, is managed by 32 student-managers who are enrolled in design and accounting classes at AHS.

Certification involved a thorough review of all aspects of the store's operations, finances and marketing.

Students in the operation will now raise funds toward attending a May conference of Gold Certified student businesses in Atlanta, Ga.

  • Yes, the Bay Area has finally had some rain, but the state needs a lot more to ease the severe drought conditions.

    Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, 1310 McGee Ave. in Berkeley, invites everyone to take part in a rain dance at 10 a.m. Feb. 8. The informal event, not surprisingly, will be held rain or shine.

    "Bring your drums, flutes or other musical instruments," reads the Berkeley Hort announcement. "Wear comfortable shoes, turquoise (represents rain) and feathers (represents wind)."

  • Berkeley band Psycotic Pineapple, a local favorite for 40 years known for its music as well as its distinctive posters, performs Feb. 7 at 924 Gilman in Berkeley (the club name is also the address). Also on the bill are Rock N' Roll Adventure Kids, Bobby Joe Ebola And The Children McNuggets, The Gregors.

    Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m. Details: www.924gilman.org.

  • Down Home Music, 10341 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito, hosts another free performance from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 8, featuring "two sets of classic post war honky tonk country with Ray Bierl, Mayne Smith, and Markie Sanders."

  • El Cerrito has been offering passport services at City Hall since 2011 and last year processed 698 applications, as well as offering guidance to people who submitted renewals by mail. The service realized a gross revenue of $17,450 in 2013, according to the city.

    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.