A fifth consecutive Spare the Air alert has been issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for Friday because of continued unhealthy levels of ozone expected in the region.

Persistent high temperatures and light winds in inland parts of the Bay Area combined with vehicle exhaust and smoke from the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County have prompted the multiple alerts in a row.

There have been 13 Spare the Air alerts in all this summer season because of unhealthy levels of ozone, otherwise known as smog, air district officials said.

“A string of Spare the Air alerts is a reminder that we need to re-think how we commute to and from work,” air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement. “Traffic congestion from so many solo drivers is a major contributor to smog here in the Bay Area and it’s a problem we have the power to change.”

Air district officials encourage residents to drive less or drive electric vehicles. Bay Area residents can visit www.stacommutetips.org to find a list of commute programs in their area.



The man found dead on Willow Pass Rd. on Wednesday afternoon was likely struck by a vehicle that fled the scene earlier that day, according to the Concord Police Department.

At about 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday, a citizen reported a possible deceased person on Willow Pass Rd. north of Lynwood Dr. near the fence bordering the Concord Naval Weapons Station property.

Officers responded and located a deceased adult male, who has since been identified as 28-year-old Bay Point resident Frank Fernandez.

Concord Police say the investigation indicates the victim was likely struck by a vehicle while walking on Willow Pass Rd. The collision is being investigated as a fatal hit-and-run, and at this time, the collision is believed to have taken place between 2:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Concord Police Department is asking for help from the public with this investigation.

Anyone with information about this collision is encouraged to call Traffic Investigator Lee Lawrence at 925-671-5097.

This is the second fatal hit and run collision involving a pedestrian in Concord within the past few days. On July 24, 62-year-old Concord resident Marie Chellino was struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at the scene on Hwy.242 near Olivera Rd.


Several bags of animal body parts were found on Bailey Rd. between Bay Point and Concord on Wednesday morning, and although it was reported by many people on social media that the parts included those of dogs, cats and raccoons, Contra Costa County Animal Control says that wasn’t the case.


Animal Control Spokesman Steve Burdo tells Claycord.com nine clear plastic large garbage bags contained full or partial carcasses of chickens and goats. The other four bags held red party cups, water bottles, plastic plates and silverware, according to Burdo.


Authorities believe that the plastic bags were likely the remnants of a party recently held in the area, and there was no evidence of animal cruelty.


No identifying marks or other indicators were left in or on the bags that would allow them to further investigate, according to Burdo.



A light in the sky on the West Coast Wednesday night was the body of a Chinese rocket re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, a military official said today.

The Chinese CZ-7 rocket body, which was the size of a school bus, re-entered earth’s atmosphere at 9:36 p.m. Pacific time, according to Capt. Nicholas Mercurio, a spokesman for the Joint Functional Component Command for Space.

The JFCC is part of the U.S. Strategic Command to help defend America and its allies from attack.

Given the size of the rocket body, some pieces of it may have survived re-entry but it’s unlikely it posed any threat to people, Mercurio said.

More than 16,000 man-made objects in orbit around the earth are tracked by the JFCC, but it stops tracking them once they re-enter the atmosphere. The only way defense officials would know where a piece of the rocket body hit the ground is if someone brought a piece of it to them.

Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center staff astronomer Ben Burress said there were no reports of any injuries or damage.

The Chinese launched the rocket on June 25.

Mercurio said U.S. officials confirmed that the light was the body of the Chinese rocket, despite initial claims that it was a meteor.

The U.S. tracks the some 16,000 man-made objects in orbit because “space is so valuable,” Mercurio said.

About 1,300 satellites orbit the earth and the rest is considered junk, according to Mercurio.

Residents can get predictions of objects re-entering the earth’s atmosphere for free at www.space-track.org.


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 in the noon hour.

In your opinion, which is better, tap water or bottled water? Or, do you think they both taste the same?

Talk about it….


A 21-year-old soldier from Walnut Creek died after falling ill during his first day of U.S. Army Ranger School in Georgia earlier this week, Army officials said.

2nd Lt. Michael Parros, 21, died Wednesday after being treated for hyponatremia, a condition in which the level of sodium in the blood is too low, according to Army officials at Fort Benning where he was in training.

Parros fell ill on Monday and died on Wednesday. He had reported to Fort Benning for training on June 27 after graduating from the U.S. Army Military Academy in May.

Parros was a former football player at Concord’s De La Salle High School and went on to play football, hockey and soccer while at West Point while also being a member of the school’s Cultural Affairs Club, Army officials said.

“This is a tragic loss,” Lt. Co. Matthew Weber said in a statement. “While 2nd Lt. Parros was only with us for a short time, he showed so much potential and was the epitome of the kind of soldier you want to serve with. We are truly saddened to lose a member of our Army family.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Parros family and friends during this exceptionally challenging time,” Weber said.

Parros played multiple positions for De La Salle’s football team, which won the state title in December 2011 in his senior season before he graduated in 2012.



A vehicle crashed into the Bank of America building near Ygnacio Valley Rd. and Clayton Rd. in Concord on Wednesday afternoon.

No major injuries were reported.

The cause of the collision appears to be a mix-up of the gas and brake.



Did you all see the object in the sky over Claycord just before 10 p.m.?

It appeared to be some type of rocket, which could have possibly been launched from Southern California, however, that has not been confirmed.

Click on the photo above to watch the video.

UPDATE: It appears to be space-junk reentry: http://www.satview.org/spacejunk.php?sat_id=41628U


The U.S. Marshals Service is warning the public and asking for help in identifying people trying to take money from unsuspecting Bay Area residents in a jury duty scam, a deputy marshal said today.

Suspects are posing as deputy U.S. marshals when calling residents and telling them they have missed jury duty and can avoid arrest by paying a fine immediately.

The scammers typically ask for a couple hundred dollars, Deputy U.S. Marshal Joseph Palmer said.

The scammers may give a resident the title, badge number of a marshal or court official, name of a judge and courtroom address to seem legitimate. They also leave voicemail messages and set up fake voicemail inboxes.

Palmer said the scammers also may represent themselves as police officers who are working on a U.S. Marshals Service task force.

Palmer is asking residents to call the Marshals Service with the phone number the scammers used, tell marshals what the scammers asked for and what they sounded like.

“We’re really relying on the public for help on this,” he said.

The scam started occurring in Northern California recently but it’s been going on throughout the country for the past 18 months.

Palmer said marshals believe more than one person is involved. Investigators are looking into how the scammers are getting the badge numbers of marshals because the numbers are not public.

“That’s something we’re investigating now,” he said, noting that there’s no indication that a marshal is involved in the scam.

“If you get a call, don’t send money,” Palmer said.

Court employees do not call prospective jurors to ask for money or personal information.

Any victims of the scam are encouraged to report the incident to their local police, the FBI or the U.S. Marshals Service office in San Francisco at (415) 436-7660.



The California Independent System Operation (CAISO) has declared a statewide Flex Alert, calling for conservation for today (Wednesday, July 27) due to high energy demand during this period of extreme heat.

The ISO is asking for energy conservation, particularly during peak hours between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.

PG&E urges our customers to conserve energy use during the late afternoon and evening when air conditioners drive consumption to the highest point. Helpful tips include:

  • Adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher or turn it off if you will be away from home.
  • Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Keep refrigerator full (with bottles of water if nothing else) and unplug the second refrigerator.
  • Avoid using appliances during the peak hours of the afternoon and evening, preferably after 9 p.m.
  • Reset your pool pump to run during off peak hours.



Walnut Creek Police are investigating several purse snatchings downtown.

On July 20 at 2:44 p.m., an elderly female was a victim of a purse snatch robbery attempt in Walnut Creek. The victim was walking eastbound on Cypress St. near Commercial Lane when two black males in their 20s grabbed her purse and attempted to steal it, according to police.

The victim held on tightly to her purse and was forced to the ground. The suspects then dragged the victim along the sidewalk causing minor injuries. As several citizens rushed to her aid, the suspects let go of the victim’s purse and fled to a nearby vehicle occupied by two other black males, who were also in their 20s. The suspect vehicle was last seen westbound on Mt. Diablo Blvd.

On July 22 at 12:42 p.m., a suspect matching the description of the above suspects entered the patio area of a restaurant on the 1500 block of Mt. Diablo Blvd and stole two purses which were on the ground near where the victims were seated. The suspect then ran to the suspect vehicle (pictured above) which was parked across the street. The suspect vehicle then jumped the median on Mt. Diablo Blvd and drove westbound in the eastbound lanes before continuing westbound on Mt. Diablo Blvd at the Locust St. intersection.

WCPD believes these two crimes are related and requests anyone who may have witnessed any part of the above incidents to contact Detective Bill Jeha 925-943-3518.


A human body has been found in a ditch on Willow Pass Rd. near Lynwood Dr. in Concord, according to the Concord Police Department.

The body was located at about 12:30 this afternoon.

At this time, it is unknown how the person died, and his/her identity has not been released.

UPDATE, 2 p.m.: The person is a man in his 20s, according to police.

Currently, the road is shut down between Lynwood Dr. and Hwy.4. It will be shut down for the next several hours while police investigate.


Thanks to Hunter for the photo.


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 in the noon hour.

What do you think is the most effective way to control speeding in residential neighborhoods? Speed Bumps, Roundabouts, Stop Signs or Dips in the Road?

Talk about it….



Firefighters from the Contra Costa Fire Protection District are out on the streets of Claycord this week raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

This Thursday (July 28th), firefighters will be in Concord at the intersection of Willow Pass Rd. and Galindo St. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How Fill the Boot Helps?

Every year, tens of thousands of people visit MDA’s nationwide network of 200 clinics, including 44 MDA/ALS centers, where they receive expert care from muscle disease specialists. MDA also provides annual occupational, physical, respiratory or speech therapy consultations. Each year, MDA sends more than 3,600 youngsters with muscular dystrophy to accessible MDA summer camps across the country, at a cost to MDA of $1600 per camper. There is no charge to families.


BART Police are investigating an armed robbery at the North Concord BART station, according to BART Police.

On Tuesday, a patron reported that they were at the North Concord Station at about 7:30 a.m. and walked to the lower parking lot where they were confronted by three suspects who accosted the victim and demanded his property.

One of the suspects placed an object against the victim’s back which the victim thought might have been a gun or a knife, but no weapon was actually seen.

The victim physically fought with the suspects, but the suspects were able to take the victim’s wallet.

The suspects fled with the victim’s wallet and were last seen fleeing in a gold sedan driven by a female. The suspects were described as a white male, a Hispanic male and a black male.

All suspects were described as being over 6′ tall.

The victim was transported to a local hospital with a complaint of pain due to the incident.



Want news beyond Claycord?

Our sister-site, BayAreaNewsTalk.com breaks-up the news by region (and in some cases the city), and delivers nothing but LOCAL news.

Here’s a quick recap of today’s news from around the Bay Area:


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Two minors were taken into custody in Martinez this afternoon after a fire sparked by fireworks burned roughly two acres near some homes, a fire captain said.

The fire, reported around 2:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Hollyview Drive, was caused by the minors playing with fireworks, according to Captain George Laing.

The fire started in a deep part of a canyon with heavy brush, spread into an open field, then got close to another canyon up against a line of homes, Laing said.

“It was a good thing the engine company was so close,” Laing said. “If they hadn’t been, it would’ve been a totally different problem.”

“I’d like to say it’s the skill and professionalism of the fire department, but it’s just the timing,” Laing said. “If the engine had been much later it would’ve been tragic.”

Firefighters respond to incidents like this for several weeks before and after the Fourth of July every year, Laing said.

“Every year the unintended consequence of illegal fireworks include damage, fire and injuries, and we can’t emphasize enough that it has to be addressed,” Laing said. “We work every year to communicate that to the public and still we have this problem.”

No structures were threatened and no injuries were reported in this incident.


A woman struck and killed by a vehicle in a hit-and-run on state Highway 242 in Concord early Sunday has been identified by the Contra Costa County coroner’s office as 62-year-old Marie Chellino.

Chellino, a Concord resident, was hit shortly after 2 a.m. on southbound Highway 242 near Olivera Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. Someone found her lying in the roadway and called authorities.

CHP investigators haven’t determined what kind of vehicle hit her or what she was doing just before she died, CHP Officer Brandon Correia said.

Coroner’s officials were not initially able to identify Chellino and on Monday put out a description of her as a woman who was wearing a gray and blue button-down pinstripe shirt when she was hit. She was carrying a distinctive red and gray pouch necklace that contained what appears to be clear crystal.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run has been asked to call the CHP at (800) 835-5247.



A vegetation fire is burning just north of John Muir Elementary School in Martinez.

The blaze is near Hollyview Dr. and Missouri St., and is currently about an acre.


No injuries have been reported, and as of right now, the school isn’t in danger.

UPDATE: The fire is under control.

photo credit: Rick Peterson