Contra Costa County

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The California Highway Patrol, Golden Gate Division is calling upon all motorists to drive safely as the weather warms. Over the weekend, five individuals lost their lives in fatal traffic collisions. These unfortunate tragedies are compounded by the fact that each death could have been prevented!

“Safety on our Bay Area roadways is everyone’s responsibility,” said Chief Avery Browne. “We’re calling upon all motorists to watch their speed, to drive safely, and to avoid distractions behind the wheel.”

On Friday, March 27, 2015, near 8:15 PM, the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle was observed leaving a local tavern in the Pescadero area. The vehicle entered a sweeping curve at a high rate of speed, and the driver was unable to negotiate the curve. The vehicle left the roadway and traveled down an embankment, colliding with the opposing bank of the creek bed and crushing the front end of the vehicle. The vehicle subsequently erupted in flames and the driver succumbed to his injuries.

On Saturday, March 28, 2015, at approximately 3:20 PM, the driver and passenger of a Subaru turned left from Occidental Road to Piezzi Road. The driver of the Subaru failed to notice a motorcycle approaching them on Piezzi Road, and pulled out directly in front of the motorcycle. The rider was unable to stop in time and collided with the right side of the Subaru. The rider and his passenger were ejected from the motorcycle. The rider succumbed to his injuries. The passengers of the motorcycle and Subaru were transported to nearby hospitals in critical condition.

On Sunday, March 29, 2015 near midnight, CHP received reports of a pedestrian on the freeway on I-580 EB near 150th Avenue. The pedestrian was apparently attempting to cross the freeway lanes when an unknown white vehicle struck the male, who later succumbed to his injuries. The white vehicle did not stop and fled the scene.

At 6:55 AM, the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle was observed traveling at a high rate of speed (100+ MPH) on I-80 EB near Red Top Road. The driver lost control of his vehicle, striking the guardrail and ejecting the unrestrained driver from the vehicle onto the roadway. The driver succumbed to his injuries.

At 8:00 AM, the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle was observed passing slower traffic at a high rate of speed (80-85 MPH) on I-80 EB near Red Top Road when the driver lost control of his vehicle, ran off the freeway and through a perimeter fence, subsequently colliding head-on with a tree. The driver succumbed to his injuries.

The warmer weather of April and May will lead to more vehicles on our roadways. We encourage all motorists to take your safety and the safety of those around you seriously. Help the CHP make April a month free of fatalities on Bay Area roadways!

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Have you heard it? It is the familiar buzz of yellowjackets that are quickly leaving their winter slumber and looking for places to set up new nests. And those underground nests can become colonies that can support, on average, from 1,500 to 15,000 yellowjackets. Now is the time to take a few simple steps to prevent these aggressive wasps from establishing a home on your property and taking the fun out of your spring, summer, and fall activities.

  1. Hang yellowjacket traps out now
    Hang traps as far as possible away from your home and any area of your yard that is frequented by people or pets. Use the pheromone insert that is sold with the trap. Once trapped, yellowjackets can’t build a nest nearby.
  2. Trim under bushes to reveal holes and fill them in
    Ground-nesting yellowjackets typically build nests in abandoned rodent holes, near root systems, and other voids in the earth.
  3. Move wood piles away from fences and elevate them from the ground
    Yellowjackets build nests between and under wood piles and fences. Neat and elevated wood piles leave few options for nest sites.
  4. Remove outdoor pet food and water dishes
    Food and water attract yellowjackets, rodents, skunks and other wild guests.
  5. Observe your yard in the morning and evening
    If yellowjackets have already set up a nest in your yard, their flight to and from the nest can often be observed after sunrise and before sunset. Once you identify the area where you suspect the nest is located, contact the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District  to receive a free yellowjacket inspection on your property.

The Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District treats only ground-nesting yellowjackets (not aerial yellowjackets). A map to the nest location is required for service. Simply place a stick or other marker near the location and then draw a simple map on a piece of paper to illustrate where the nest may be located. If the District employee finds an underground nest, she can treat it, free of charge if in Contra Costa County. Yellowjackets can bite and sting several times and do not die during the process, unlike bees.

For more information on the District’s program to control ground-nesting yellowjackets, visit our website.

Information provided by Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District

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PLEASANT HILL, Calif., March 27 2015 – The following four teachers have been named as the 2015-2016 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year (TOY) Finalists: Paul Fitzgerald, Acalanes Union High School District; Dawn Foote, Brentwood Union School District; Maria McClain, Antioch Unified School District; and Kate Perry, Liberty Union High School District. Two of these four finalists will be chosen in late September, and will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program.

Paul Fitzgerald teaches history to grades 11-12 at Miramonte High (Orinda). The 40-year highschool teacher has taught U.S. history, AP U.S. History, AP European history, English, and psychology. Prior to coming to Miramonte 18 years ago, Fitzgerald’s education career also included teaching high-school courses in Denver; Chicago; and Costa Mesa, Calif.

Dawn Foote has been a speech pathologist for grades K-5 at Ron Nunn Elementary School (Brentwood) for the past 24 years. During her 25-year career, Foote has also served as a speech therapist for the Regional Center East Bay, the Valley Memorial Center, and the Pittsburg Unified School District.

Maria McClain is currently completing her 27th year of teaching grades 10-12 for the Antioch Unified School District. For the past 19 years, McClain has been at Deer Valley High School (Antioch). McClain has taught high school pre-calculus, AP Calculus, AP statistics, and algebra, as well as junior high school mathematics and algebra.

Kate Perry is finishing up her fourth year of teaching social science to grades 9-12 at Independence High School (Brentwood). The eight-year teacher also taught social studies at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School (Vallejo) and worked as a service learning coordinator for Irvington High School (Fremont).

The Contra Costa County Office of Education directs the county’s TOY program. With such A high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from (this year there were 20 eligible teachers), the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidate as follows:

I Application Screening:
On March 20, a committee of 13, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners meticulously reviewed the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rated each application. After the application screening and scoring was completed, these four teachers were selected to advance to the next two phases as TOY finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
During the months of April and early May, a small committee of education specialists and business partners will observe the four finalists interacting with their students during class, followed by interviews with the TOYs. The committee and finalists will discuss topics such as their teaching philosophies and student-progress techniques.

III Speech Presentation:
This coming August, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 24, 2015, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces all the TOYs to the audience. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given at the Speech Presentation) to the filled banquet room. The always-exciting evening will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2015-2016 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

Currently, there are approximately 8,126teachers educating more than 173,000students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives. (See entire list of the county’s TOYs on our earlier news release.) This year’s 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Twenty of these representatives, those who teach grades pre-K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two winners of the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

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Last night two California Highway Patrol officers arrested a women driving a stolen vehicle. CHP stated she had her two-year-old daughter in the stolen vehicle with her at the time of the arrest.

CHP had to transport the two year old to their officers where her grandmother could care for her.

A CHP officer noticed the little girl seemed upset, so he grabbed a giant teddy bear from the office and placed it in the front seat of his patrol vehicle.

“I thought if a gigantic teddy bear felt safe riding with me, so would she,” the Officer reflected.

As it turned out the fuzzy bear worked to calm the child, turning her worry into laughter as the officer, the two year old, and one enormous teddy bear headed safely to our CHP office in Martinez, where grandma was awaiting with open arms and lots of love for her granddaughter.

Information and photo provided by CHP-Contra Costa.

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The East Bay Municipal Utility District is proposing in its two-year budget, a rate hike of 7 percent to most residential water users.

EBMUD says the rate increase would jump bills $3.57 taking the average bill from $48.60 per month to $52.17 each month. Meanwhile, under the plan, the highest 1 percent of water users would see an increase of 18 percent in 2016.

The wide range in water rate increases in fiscal year 2016 stems from the findings of a cost of service study the district conducted last year.

New this year to the budget are proposed temporary drought surcharges of up to 25 percent. The drought surcharges of 8, 20 or 25 percent would apply to all customers only during a declared stage 2, 3 or 4 drought and only on the volume of water they use. Drought surcharges primarily would pay for water supplies via EBMUD’s Freeport facility on the Sacramento River.

The EBMUD Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget at a public hearing on June 9, 2015. A Proposition 218 notice will be mailed to ratepayers this spring. The budget and rates, if approved, will take effect July 1, 2015.

Below is a copy of a press release that went out March 20:

EBMUD proposes $1.8 billion budget for next two years

OAKLAND, March 20, 2015 — The tough financial lessons learned six years ago after the last drought ended are weaved throughout the $1.8 billion budget that East Bay Municipal Utility District’s General Manager Alexander Coate will present on Tuesday, March 24, to the Board of Directors. The budget funds critical capital projects, accounts for increased water supply costs because of drought, and balances slimmed down water sales.

Under the first year of this proposal, the average EBMUD household that uses about 7,500 gallons per month would see an increase in their monthly water charge of $3.57, increasing their bill from $48.60 to $52.17 each month. That is about a 7 percent increase to most residential water bills for fiscal year 2016. About two-thirds of EBMUD’s single family residential customers use less than the average amount.

The highest one percent of water using households, those using about 45,000 gallons per month, would see an increase in their monthly water charge of $47.69, increasing their bill from $264.68 to $312.37 each month. That is about an 18 percent increase for those customers in fiscal year 2016.

The wide range in water rate increases in fiscal year 2016 stems from the findings of a cost of service study the district conducted last year. State law requires rates be based on the cost of service. The study recommended adjustments for rates in all customer classes and all tier levels to match customer costs with services received.

A 7 percent rate increase for all water customers also is proposed for fiscal year 2017.

New this year to the budget are proposed temporary drought surcharges of up to 25 percent. The drought surcharges of 8, 20 or 25 percent would apply to all customers only during a declared stage 2, 3 or 4 drought and only on the volume of water they use. Drought surcharges primarily would pay for water supplies via EBMUD’s Freeport facility on the Sacramento River.

Capital spending leads priorities

The two-year capital improvement cash flow for both water and wastewater is $536 million, a 20 percent increase over the prior two-year budget as the district plans to push forward with critical replacement and rehab projects on key segments of the $14.4 billion infrastructure assets it manages and operates across seven counties.

“This drought is happening at the same time we must tackle critical pipeline projects. Operations and maintenance can’t stop,” said Coate. “On the contrary, we have to accelerate our investments. This budget takes the financial lessons we learned after the last drought when we made deep cuts and ensures we have both enough supply for customers and enough resources to meet the challenge of delivering water via aging infrastructure.”

The largest capital spending for water in the proposed budget include funds to

  • Replace 26-30 miles of distribution pipes ($69 million)
  • Rehab 3-4 steel reservoirs ($31 million)
  • Make upgrades at 6 water treatment plants ($28 million)
  • Make safety improvements at dams and reservoir towers ($17 million)
  • Upgrade information technology ($7 million)
  • Launch phase 1 of relining the Mokelumne Aqueducts ($4 million)

“We can’t wait for this drought to end to move forward on repairing aqueducts and replacing pipelines. Our pipes are the East Bay’s lifelines. Our reservoirs are our fire protection. Our dams are our flood control,” said Coate.

The proposed budget authorizes 39 new staff positions, mostly for pipeline replacement crews and temporary drought-related customer service and water conservation positions.

Revenue reality shapes projections

Water usage by all EBMUD customers combined has been on a downward trend for nearly a decade while maintenance costs have increased as more segments of infrastructure show their age. Since 2007, water use has dropped 25 percent.

Customers heeded the call for voluntary conservation during the drought and cut back their water use 12 percent in 2014 compared to their 2013 use. The proposed budget reflects this reduced consumption. Past droughts indicate water usage recovers very slowly after mandatory cutbacks end because customer behavior changes and household efficiency upgrades often create permanent water use reductions.

For the previous two budget periods the district faced financial challenges brought on by the 2008 drought and the Great Recession when water sales, hydropower sales, interest income and other revenue declined. From 2010 to 2013, the district reduced and deferred nearly $200 million in capital projects and operating expenses, implemented a hiring freeze and a salary freeze, and paused less urgent maintenance work. These actions increased the backlog of needed repairs.

“Deferring capital projects doesn’t stop the pipes from aging. At some point waiting becomes more expensive than replacing. We’re at that point,” said Coate.

Temporary drought surcharges may be needed

The proposed fiscal year 2016 and 2017 budget also includes a series of drought surcharges of up to 25 percent that can be implemented to recover the costs of additional water supplies and temporary staff who will support water conservation and enforce watering restrictions.

Depending on the severity of the district’s water supply projections, due after the announcement of the final state snow survey on April 1, the Board of Directors may declare a stage 2, 3 or 4 drought. Surcharges, if approved, could take effect at the start of the next fiscal year and would apply to water customers’ flow charge only, not any fixed charges. The surcharge would not apply to recycled water customers.

If a stage 4 drought is declared, the average water customer would see an increase on their monthly bill of $11.65, increasing it from $48.60 to $60.25.

The highest one percent of water using residential customers would see a monthly increase of $118.91, increasing their bill from $264.68 to $383.59. In addition, this customer would be subject to proposed excessive use penalties.

The surcharges along with additional water supply purchases, mandatory restrictions, increased cutbacks and excessive use penalties make up the district’s new staged system of drought response developed last summer. This staged system of drought response, EBMUD’s first, was initially presented at a series of public meetings last fall and approved by the Board of Directors on December 9, 2014. The drought surcharges must still be approved by the board before taking effect on July 1.

Drought drops wastewater revenue

EBMUD provides wastewater treatment to 650,000 customers in Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Kensington, Oakland, Piedmont and part of Richmond. The total proposed wastewater budget is $169.7 million in fiscal year 2016 and $137.2 million in fiscal year 2017.

In fiscal year 2016, the average EBMUD residential wastewater customer who flushes or drains about 4,500 gallons per month would see a decrease in their monthly wastewater bill of $0.24, lowering their bill from $19.25 to $19.01 each month, about a 1.3 percent decrease. Most EBMUD’s single family residential customers flush or drain less than the average amount. The residential wastewater customer rate decrease will be offset by a rate increase for non-residential customer classes.

Aging infrastructure is also a challenge for the EBMUD wastewater system. Major capital spending is planned to continue in this budget period as the district continues rehabilitation of two major interceptor pipelines on 3rd Street and Wood Street in Oakland, implements odor control measures at its West Oakland treatment plant and begins planning improvements to the regional collection system as agreed to under last year’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent decree.

Process culminates in June

A series of public board workshops held over the past year form the foundation of the budget. The workshops examined short- and long-term impacts of operating and capital needs, financial policies, fixed versus variable costs and the effects of the ongoing drought.

The EBMUD Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget at a public hearing on June 9, 2015. A Proposition 218 notice will be mailed to ratepayers this spring. The budget and rates, if approved, will take effect July 1, 2015.

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As her due date approached, Megan Reynolds faced the prospect of delivering her baby without a reliable partner, income, or housing.

But two years later, Megan has a job, an apartment and a happy, healthy toddler named Benjamin, thanks in part to Nurse-Family Partnership, a Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) program that connects first-time mothers with specially trained nurses who provide resources, information and support.

The program recently celebrated a milestone when its first group of moms and babies graduated from the intensive, multi-year program, including Megan, who was paired with nurse Jaime Baculpo.

“There were times when I was literally just walking down the street with our suitcases, with no place to go,” Megan said. “But each time Jaime and I met, we were talking about the next step, and how we were going to get it done.”

The program, funded through the Affordable Care Act, is intended to improve newborn health among low-income Contra Costa families. Each mother served by the program is partnered with a registered nurse from CCHS’ Public Health Division who makes regular home visits during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of the newborns’ lives.

The nurses tailor their support to the individual, providing advice on topics such as nutrition, breastfeeding and postpartum health, and connecting the families to resources ranging from health referrals to safe child car seats.

Jaime met Megan in a Concord restaurant that became a regular meeting spot, as Megan lacked stable housing. Jaime coached Megan on keeping healthy and raising her baby, but also helped her look for housing, work and other basics she needed, and provided emotional support.

“She would always say, ‘You know everything!’” Jaime said. “Really I didn’t have all the answers, but I was willing to work with her right there to figure out the next step. Sometimes that’s all the motivation we need to get started.”

Nurse-Family Partnership is an evidence-based, national model for improving community health implemented by Contra Costa County in 2012. Data collected by the program’s national service office show participating families demonstrate significantly improved prenatal health and better post-birth health outcomes for both mother and child.

In Contra Costa, where CCHS continuously enrolls 100 women in its local version of the program, 94% of babies born to participants were full term and of a healthy weight, and 100% of mothers initiated breastfeeding.

“We are extremely proud of all our moms,” said program director Dawn Dailey. “They have stuck with us for a long time, and it is so rewarding to see them all with their beautiful, healthy children.”

To learn more about the Contra Costa Nurse-Family Partnership program and other perinatal services offered by CCHS, visit cchealth.org/perinatal, or call 925-313-6920.

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WALNUT CREEK, CA – For the third year in a row, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) has been granted the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has honored CCTA with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ending June 30, 2014. This honor represents a significant accomplishment by CCTA, its Board of Commissioners, and staff.

The agency has long exemplified and been committed to executing excellent practices in financial management of taxpayer dollars. Since its inception, CCTA has capped administrative costs at one percent of its budget annually. Additionally, CCTA has successfully leveraged local, regional, and federal funding sources to complement the half-cent sales tax the agency invests in local transportation infrastructure and programs.

Over the past year, CCTA’s prudent management of public dollars has helped ensure delivery of important transportation improvements – including new bicycle lanes and walking trails, the Caldecott Tunnel’s Fourth Bore and key improvements to Highway 4 – that are meaningfully enhancing the quality of life for Contra Costa residents. The agency has made a significant commitment in recent years to further increase transparency in its operations through voluntary annual audits, which accompany audits performed by the state and federal government.

Randy Iwasaki CCTA Brentwood

“CCTA is proud to once again receive recognition by the Government Finance Officers Association for excellence in financial reporting” stated Executive Director Randy Iwasaki. “Our Board and staff are deeply committed to serving as responsible stewards of taxpayers’ dollars and are truly honored by this recognition of our work.”

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals. An impartial panel convened by the GFOA chose CCTA for the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award because the agency’s financial reports demonstrate a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” and are readable and interesting to diverse readers.

About The Contra Costa Transportation Authority
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA can be found online at www.ccta.net.

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SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is hosting a series of public workshops to discuss the agency’s proposed amendments to Regulation 6, Rule 3: Wood-Burning Devices.

In 2008, the Air District adopted Regulation 6, Rule 3 to protect Bay Area residents from the harmful health impacts of wood smoke. Under this regulation, it is illegal to burn wood, firelogs, pellets, or other solid fuels in your fireplace, woodstove, outdoor fire pit, or other wood-burning device whenever a Winter Spare the Air Alert is issued.

“While the Air District’s wood burning regulation has been very effective in reducing wintertime particulate matter since its adoption in 2008, wood smoke remains a significant health issue in the Bay Area,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “In an effort to ensure that public health is protected, and that the Bay Area achieves state and federal air quality standards, the Air District is proposing to strengthen the rule.”

In brief, the proposed changes to Regulation 6, Rule 3 include:

Mandatory Burn Ban – To prevent regional wood smoke build-up, the Air District proposes to declare a mandatory burn ban when PM 2.5 is anticipated to exceed an unhealthy level within the next 3 days.

Sole Source of Heat Exemption -. The Air District plans to clarify the conditions for “only source of heat” exemption, specify the types of wood burning devices that qualify for exemption, address permanently installed heating devices that are non-functional, and allow a temporary repair exemption.

Visible Emissions Limitation – Following a 20-minute start-up allowance for new fires, visible emissions of greater than 20 percent opacity and aggregate to 3 minutes in any hour is considered an exceedance of the standard.

Manufacturing and Sales of New Wood Heaters - The Air District will adopt the most recent EPA emission ratings and compliance dates for devices sold in the Bay Area.

Requirements for Real Estate Properties – The Air District is proposing real estate requirements that would require the replacement of old uncertified wood burning devices. These requirements would become effective upon the sale and transfer of property, remodeling of a fireplace or chimney, commercial and residential rental property and new building construction.

Registration Program – The Air District is considering establishing a registration program requiring all residents claiming “only source of heat” exemption to register their EPA certified wood- burning devices.

A series of nine public workshops to review and discuss the proposed amendments will be held to seek public input on the proposed changes.

Workshop Dates, Times and Locations

  • SANTA CLARA COUNTY – March 25, 6-8 PM at the City of Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center Hiram Room located at 17000 Monterey Street Morgan Hill, CA 95037
  • SAN MATEO COUNTY – April 6, 6-8 PM at the Redwood City Public Library Downtown Branch 2nd Floor Community Room located at 1044 Middlefield Road Redwood City, CA 94063
  • NAPA COUNTY – April 7, 6-8 PM at the Napa County Main Library Community Meeting Room located at 580 Coombs Street Napa, CA 94559
  • ALAMEDA COUNTY – April 9, 6-8 PM at Livermore City Hall City Council Chambers located at 1052 South Livermore Avenue Livermore, CA 94550
  • MARIN COUNTY – April 13, 6-8 PM at San Rafael City Hall City Council Chambers located at 1400 5th Avenue San Rafael, CA 94901
  • SONOMA COUNTY – April 16, 6-8 PM at Santa Rosa City Hall City Council Chambers located at 100 Santa Rosa Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95404
  • CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – April 20, 6-8 PM at Walnut Creek City Hall City Council Chambers located at 1666 North Main Street Walnut Creek, CA 94596
  • SOLANO COUNTY – April 22, 6-8 PM at City of Suisun City Council Chambers located at 701 Civic Center Blvd. Suisun City, CA 94585
  • SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY* – April 24, 10 AM – 12PM at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Offices 7th Floor Boardroom 939 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94109 *Meeting will be webcast

The public may submit questions or comments on proposed amendments to Regulation 6, Rule 3, by contacting the Air District’s Wood Smoke Hotline at (415) 749-4989, or via e-mail at public@baaqmd.gov.

For copies of the draft rule proposals and supporting documents, visit our website at http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Communications-and-Outreach/Air-Quality-in-the-Bay-Area/Wood-Burning/Wood-Burning-Rule-Information.aspx .

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (www.baaqmd.gov ) is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.

Source:
http://www.baaqmd.gov/~/media/Files/Communications%20and%20Outreach/Publications/News%20Releases/2015/2015028woodburningruleworkshops031915.ashx?la=en

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PLEASANT HILL, Calif., March 20, 2015 – Currently, there are approximately 8,126 teachers educating more than 173,000 students in Contra Costa County’s public schools. To recognize their efforts and bring much-deserved honor to the teaching profession, the participating school districts in the county recently named their Teachers of the Year (TOY) representatives (See list below.)

The upcoming school year’s 22 TOYs represent 17 Contra Costa County school districts, the Contra Costa Community College District, and the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE). Most of these representatives, those who teach grades K thru 12, are eligible to compete in the Contra Costa County TOY competition. The two top teachers in the county TOY program will represent Contra Costa County in the California State TOY Program this coming fall.

“We are immensely proud of these amazing educators,” said Karen Sakata, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools. “They were thoughtfully chosen to represent their schools and districts, and truly represent what is best about public education.”

The county’s TOY program is directed by the CCCOE. With such a high caliber of teaching professionals to draw from, the CCCOE’s TOY program uses a three-stage selection process, with a point and percentage system to determine the final candidates as follows:

 

I Application Screening:
On March 20, a committee of 14 judges, representing the county’s education, business, and public-sector partners carefully review the applications submitted by the school districts. This committee independently rates each application. After the application screening and scoring are completed, four teachers will be selected to advance to the next two phases as finalists.

II Classroom Observation and Interview:
In March and April, a small committee of education specialists and business partners observe the four finalists interacting with their students. Immediately following, the committee interviews the candidates discussing topics such as their teaching philosophy and techniques.

 

III Speech Presentation:
On August 11, the four TOY finalists will each give a three- to five-minute speech to another panel of a dozen educators, business, and public-sector representatives who will judge the finalists on their speech and presentation skills.

On the evening of September 24, 2015, all 22 TOYs, accompanied by their families, friends, and co-workers (an audience of more than 400) will be honored at the annual Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Dinner Celebration, held at the Hilton Concord. Ms. Sakata, who serves as master of ceremonies, introduces the TOYs by sharing a special story that reflects her classroom visits of each teacher during the current spring and summer months. This will be followed by the four finalists giving their three- to five-minute speeches (same speeches given in August) to the filled banquet room.  Finally, the night will come to a dramatic close with the announcement of the two 2015-2016 Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year.

 

2015-2016 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Representatives:

 

  • Michele Bain Knightsen Elementary School District, Knightsen Elementary
  • Lourdes Beleche, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Cambridge Elementary
  • Kathleen Doerr, John Swett Unified School District, Carquinez Middle School
  • Paul Fitzgerald, Acalanes Union High School District, Miramonte High School
  • Dawn Foote, Brentwood Union School District, Ron Nunn Elementary
  • David Giordano, IV, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Olympic High
  • Sripriya Gopalan, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Live Oak Elementary
  • Debbie Henry, Oakley Unified School District, Almond Grove Elementary
  • Vickie Hilty, Orinda Union School District, Sleepy Hollow Elementary
  • Diane Klaczynski. Pittsburg Unified School District, Hillview Junior High
  • Georgeann Kurtz, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Gale Ranch Middle School
  • Maribel Lopez, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Dover Elementary
  • Maria McClain, Antioch Unified School District, Deer Valley High School
  • Juanita McSweeney, Lafayette School District, Happy Valley Elementary
  • Takeo Nobori, Byron Union School District, Excelsior Middle School
  • Laurel Patterson, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Marchus School
  • Katheryn Perry, Liberty Union High School District, Independence High School
  • Don Read, Moraga School District, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School
  • Christina Schreiber, Martinez Unified School District, Martinez Junior High School
  • Shauna Tatum, Walnut Creek School District, Walnut Heights Elementary
  • Keith Valdez, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Hanna Ranch Elementary

 

Note regarding eligible participants:

  • Seventeen of the eighteen Contra Costa County school districts represented, plus the CCCOE are participating in this year’s TOY program. (Because this year’s CCCOE candidate teaches ages 18-22, she is not eligible in the California State TOY competition.)
  • Each year, one instructor from Contra Costa Community College District is submitted to the TOY program for his/her outstanding body of work with their designated college. The colleges rotate each year between Diablo Valley, Los Medanos, and Contra Costa. (These instructors do not compete in the State Teacher of the Year competition.) This is Las Lomas College’s turn, their chosen TOY will be announced in the near future.
  • Due to the larger number of students in their districts, West Contra Costa USD, Mt. Diablo USD, and San Ramon Valley USD are allowed to submit two TOY candidates

 

Follow Contra Costa County’s Teacher of the Year program on Twitter: #CoCoTOY

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Concord – After today, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking will have a place to go in Central  to get the comprehensive assistance necessary to get out of harm’s way and obtain the services they need to heal and move forward in their lives.

The Central Family Justice Center at 2151 Salvio Street, Suite 201, at Todos Santos Plaza in Downtown Concord, celebrated its official Grand Opening today at 12pm.  With the support of dozens of community groups and private sector donors, this new facility, the first of its kind in Central Contra Costa County, is the brainchild of Concord Mayor Tim Grayson and Chief of Police Guy Swanger, who will both be speaking at tomorrow’s opening.

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“National estimates show that victims of domestic and other kinds of abuse may have to access as many as 32 different agencies for assistance,” said Grayson, who in addition to serving his second year as Mayor of Concord is also the Emergency Response Chaplain for the Concord Police Department.

“Oftentimes victims, with their children, are so frustrated and overwhelmed by maneuvering through the bureaucracies that they forego the help they need and return home to potentially dangerous environments,” Grayson added.

“Our opening Central County’s first Family Justice Center will hopefully make it easier for victims to get the immediate help they need,” Grayson added.

Grayson said that at least a dozen services will be easily accessible in or through the new Central Family Justice Center, which he anticipates will serve more than 2,000 individuals per year.