Claycord – Talk About Whatever

January 30, 2015 19:10 pm · 22 comments

whatever

Happy Friday to all the wonderful citizens in the City of Claycord.

This is a post with no subject, you can talk about whatever you want. If breaking news happens (such as an earthquake), or you hear about something newsworthy, feel free to post it here.

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Claycord – Talk About Politics

January 30, 2015 19:05 pm · 16 comments

politics_claycord

This post is “Talk About Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about politics, and keep politics out of the “whatever” thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other!

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voted1

This special post is “Talk About LOCAL Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about LOCAL politics, and keep state and national politics out of this thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other!

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Snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range has decreased in the month of January, fueling concerns that California may have to endure a fourth consecutive year of drought, the Department of Water Resources announced today.

January is normally California’s wettest month, according to the DWR, and snow pack levels typically increase this time of year. DWR spokesman Doug Carlson said that the snow pack should be steadily building up from December through April.

“It’s going the wrong direction, there’s no doubt about that,” DWR spokesman Doug Carlson said.

According to the most recent measurements, snow pack is at just 25 percent of the long-term average statewide for this time of year. At one location 90 miles east of Sacramento, snow pack was measured at just 12 percent of average.

“The fact is that everybody who has concerns about drought conditions has reason to be concerned now,” Carlson said. “There’s less water going into the reservoirs, so there’s just no end in sight to the drought conditions that concern so many in our state.”

Nelsey Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, said the snow pack survey is very important to the Bay Area.

“This will definitely have an impact on the East Bay in particular,” Rodriguez said. “We draw 90 percent of our water from the Mokelumne River.”

The district’s total reservoir storage is currently at 49 percent of its overall capacity, and 69 percent of its long-term average. This time last year it was at 61 percent of overall capacity and 86 percent of long-term average.

“We continue to watch our water levels deplete slowly, and we’re monitoring every day so we can manage our way through this drought,” Rodriguez said.

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walnutcreek

Thanks to Peter Avery for this picture of a river otter swimming in the pond at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek.

This guy was also photographed in 2014, click on the link below to view some up-close pictures.

RELATED STORY: PICTURES: River Otters in Walnut Creek

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The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

Even though it’s illegal, do you still text/talk and drive? If not, did you text/talk while driving BEFORE it was illegal?

Talk about it….

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bart

BART is launching an aggressive response to the results of its biannual Customer Satisfaction Survey as part of its continuing dedication to satisfying riders’ needs, according to BART.

The following information is from BART:

The survey, presented to the Board of Directors on January 29, 2015, found that customer satisfaction has fallen compared to the previous survey.  Despite a dip in the survey results, 74% of riders were satisfied with services and 89% said they would recommend BART to a friend or out-of-town guest.

“High ridership and an aging infrastructure are stressing the BART system,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. “This survey underscores the importance of current and planned initiatives to modernize and increase e the capacity of BART stations and BART train service.”

“The survey results echo what is already clear: our success in ridership growth is also our challenge,” added Board President Tom Blalock. “BART trains and stations are more crowded than ever before during peak commute periods, and we are proactively working to add capacity and address cleanliness.”

The survey found that customers’ perception of seat availability has fallen by 8.5% since the previous survey in 2012. Current initiatives designed to address capacity include finishing up by July train car rehabilitation projects that keep cars out of service, and the full implementation of the Contra Costa Crossover on the busy Pittsburg/Bay Point line at the end of March.  The Crossover is a section of track between Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek stations that allows trains to move to the opposite track. It will give BART more operational flexibility during peak commute hours and during delays.  With the Crossover in service, BART can run additional express commute trips and allow for more 10-car trains.

Longer term, BART wants to expand the new Fleet of the Future order from 775 rail cars to 1,000+. Further investments under consideration include the repair of six out-of-service cars and increasing maintenance hours at several of BART’s maintenance shops.

Furthermore, perception of station cleanliness has also fallen. We’re tackling this challenge with a station brightening program—designed to supplement overnight deep-cleaning scrub crews and the regular cleaning staff with pressure washer and heat treatments to stairwells and station entrances.

The survey also identified train temperature and interior cleanliness as areas of concern. To address uncomfortable temperatures, BART is upgrading the air conditioning systems on the most problematic cars and replacing failed electrical controls. Fortunately, the Fleet of the Future will have modern air conditioning systems designed to flow air from the ceiling, making for a much more comfortable ride for standees. As for the interior cleanliness of trains, BART has now finished replacing the old wool seats with easy to clean, wipeable vinyl. Additionally, all carpets will have been replaced with easy-to-clean hard surfaces by mid-summer. BART is also proposing to hire additional cleaning crews to help keep up with the impacts of increased ridership.

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This note came from a Claycordian who was the victim of a burglary on Wednesday.

Took my 82 year old mother with advanced Alzheimer’s disease to Denny’s restaurant on Contra Costa on Wednesday morning around 11am.

Parked in disabled spot right in FRONT of the entrance. Came out to smashed passenger window & they stole an old briefcase with really important legal papers for my mom inside (we were using them next). Zero financial value.

Manager & waitress saw 25 to 30 year old white man on BMX bike riding around that parking lot minutes before break in. He had a beard & dirty blonde hair. Black hoodie. Evidently, Dennys has no deterants outside building.

$50 reward for return of legal documents.

Sorry for your loss. Claycordians, if you’re in the area, keep your eyes out for this briefcase.

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Police are in pursuit of a pick-up truck on Ygnacio Valley Rd. in Concord.

Police originally tried to pull the driver over in Clayton for a brake light violation, but the driver failed to yield and the pursuit began.

UPDATE, 12:08am: The driver turned on to Ayers from Ygnacio Valley Rd., and was driving on the wrong side of the street. Police decided to cancel the pursuit and let the vehicle go.

The vehicle is a stolen truck out of Concord. It’s a Chevy Silverado with a lock box in the back.

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San Pablo police have arrested three men who are suspected of participating in an armed robbery and shooting at a convenience store in San Pablo, police said.

On Jan. 21, at 11:44 p.m., San Pablo police responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Bonfare Market, located at 1321 23rd St., police said.

Officers arrived to find a store clerk suffering from gunshot wounds and a second store clerk uninjured, police said.

Police said officers used evidence obtained through the investigation on Tuesday to arrest one of the suspects, identified as Samson Eugene Tatum III, 21, of Concord.

On Thursday, officers were able to identify and arrest two other suspects, Mario Halterman, 27, and Samson Tatum Jr., 40, both of Oakland. Police are still investigating the incident.

Anyone with information regarding the armed robbery and shooting is encouraged to call the San Pablo police investigation division at (510) 215-3150 or the West Contra Costa Crime Stoppers tip line at (510) 799-8255.

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Thanks to Jenny Wood Pierce for these beautiful pictures of the Thursday morning sunrise in Claycord.

Click on each one for a much larger view.

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State and federal leaders joined together today to start a pilot project aimed at providing more money for solar energy projects in multifamily housing in California.

“This is a long slog into the future,” Governor Jerry Brown said of the work to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil, reduce carbon emissions and use the sun for energy.

Assisting the state and federal effort will be the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which has committed $10 million to the plans.

“No one tool alone is enough to get the job done,” said Debra Schwartz, the foundation’s director of impact investments.

Schwartz said she hopes the foundation will start providing money this year.

“We’re working very rapidly,” she said.

The money from the foundation will be in the form of loans, guarantees and other financial instruments, but not grants, she said.

Ophelia Basgal, regional administrator for HUD, said the agency has identified three properties in the Bay Area, all in San Francisco, where the work can begin. Basgal’s office oversees properties in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and the outer Pacific Islands.

The governor allocated $75 million for weatherizing properties and for renewable energy last year. Some of this money will be used to do energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in low income housing in disadvantaged communities.

Mercy Housing’s CEO Jane Graf, whose organization will be part of the effort, said the work will make a difference to people and the environment.

For one, the solar energy and energy efficiency projects are expected to save taxpayers and renters of affordable housing money as the projects reduce utility bills. HUD spends about $6.4 billion each year on utilities in affordable housing units and for other households, officials said.

With about one quarter of U.S. households living in multifamily housing, improving energy efficiency by 20 percent in multifamily units would reduce energy costs by $7 billion in a decade.

Also, the gains in energy efficiency nationwide in multifamily housing would reduce carbon pollution by 350 million tons in a decade, officials said.

“It’s good for the health and wealth of all Americans, Castro said.

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Crews are working on an emergency water line repair on North Main St. between Sunnyvale Ave. and Geary Rd. in Walnut Creek.

Police say they expect the water shutoff to last for the next several hours.

In order to replace the water main, the traffic will be reduced to one lane in the southbound direction on North Main St. until later tonight.

Police anticipate this will cause heavy congestion in the area, possibly backing traffic onto southbound I-680, and the Treat Blvd. off-ramp.

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U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Wednesday praised the BART Board of Directors for moving to ban electronic cigarettes in BART trains and stations, citing new research that reveals health concerns about the vaporized tobacco products.

In a letter to BART board President Thomas Blalock, Boxer, D-California, cited the presence of chemicals like nicotine and formaldehyde present in e-cigarette vapor that pose a risk to health.

“Research has raised major concerns about secondhand exposure to e-cigarette vapor,” Boxer wrote. “This is particularly relevant in small, enclosed spaces such as trains and stations, leading the World Health Organization to recommend that steps be taken to end the use of e-cigarettes indoors in public and work places.”

Boxer’s letter comes the same day that the California Department of Public Health issued a health advisory about e-cigarettes, warning use of the products is rising for teens and young adults and exposure to the vapor could lead to cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

E-cigarettes contain at least 10 chemicals known to the state of California to cause health problems, according to the health department. It plans to take steps to reduce e-cigarette use through education and advertising campaigns.

The BART board voted to ban the use of e-cigarettes in the BART system at its meeting last Thursday. The board said it had received complaints of e-cigarettes on the system, prompting them to introduce the regulations.

The new restrictions are expected to be finalized at the board’s Feb. 12 meeting.

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The Water Cooler – Cash for Gold

January 29, 2015 12:00 pm · 45 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Do you think the Cash for Gold businesses around Claycord are bad for our community?

Talk about it….

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The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is investigating a home invasion robbery that occurred in Alamo very early Wednesday morning.

At about 1:50am, Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a report of an armed home invasion robbery on the first block of Crest Avenue in Alamo. The victims stated that while they were sleeping, several armed suspects entered the residence, threatened the occupants and demanded valuables. After receiving some property, the suspects fled.

Deputies set up a perimeter and used a police K-9 in an effort to locate the suspects, however, they were able to evade capture.

The suspects are currently outstanding, and the investigation is ongoing, according to the Office of the Sheriff.

The Office of the Sheriff did not provide a description of the suspects.

Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600. For any tips, call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message or email: tips@so.cccounty.us.

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cpd

The Concord Police Department will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations on Friday January 30, 2015, with focused enforcement on collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians.

Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots while special overtime patrols will also be deployed to crackdown on drivers and pedestrian’s who violate basic traffic laws.

The department has mapped out locations over the past (3) years where pedestrian involved collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes. Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by drivers and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries. Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation. Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.

Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation. Locally, The Concord police Department has investigated 97 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians during the past three (3) years. In 2012, California witnessed 612 pedestrian deaths that year while nationally; 4,743 pedestrians were killed.

A national study reveals that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way. The following safety tips can save lives and stop this tragedy witnessed far too often in Concord:

Drivers can:

– Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
– Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
– Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too.
– Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path. See www.safercar.gov/parents/backover.htm

Pedestrians can:

– Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
– Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
– Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
– Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
– Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
– Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced that he will serve on the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform’s subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets.

“During my time in the California legislature I fought to ensure greater transparency and accessibility. Whether leading the investigation into the construction of the Bay Bridge or passing the law that requires the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to develop the state’s transportation plans in a more strategic and open manner, oversight and accountability have always been a top priority. I hope to apply this experience, and what we have learned in California, on the federal level,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

The transportation subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Transportation Security Agency. It also has purview over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Services Administration and federal real property.

DeSaulnier will also serve on the subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules which has oversight jurisdiction over federal health care policy, the Department of Health and Human Services, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and government-wide rules and regulations. DeSaulnier will bring his previous oversight experience on these issues, most recently as a member of the California State Senate Committees on Human Services, and on Budget and Fiscal Review’s subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

Added DeSaulnier, “oversight of social and human services programs is critical to the health and well-being of our families and communities. We need to balance accountability of taxpayer dollars with quality and effective programs.”

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Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) has been appointed by Speaker Toni G. Atkins to the State Allocation Board (SAB).

“I am honored to be appointed to the State Allocation Board,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “This board, comprised of leaders in education finance, will help craft policies and regulation to ensure the fair and efficient implementation of our state’s funding for school facility construction.”

The SAB includes the Director of Finance, the Director of the Department of General Services, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, three members of the Senate, three members of the Assembly, and one Governor Appointee.

The ten board members convene every month to apportion the remaining voter-approved California school construction bonds, as well as administer the School Facility Program and the Emergency Repair Program. In addition, the SAB addresses all policy issues brought forward from school districts statewide and is responsible for hearing and acting upon any school appeals.

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