Homeless students in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District are getting a little help from the Concord High Instrumental Music Boosters (CHSIMB)

In February, the CHSIMB held their annual fundraiser to support the Concord High School Instrumental Music Program.

The mission of the boosters is to provide opportunities in which every student is transformed through instrumental music and inspired to become leaders in their community. The fundraiser provides much needed support for the program, and the program also believes in serving and supporting our community.

They boosters also partnered with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s Homeless Outreach Program (Mt. Diablo HOPE). Mt. Diablo HOPE serves homeless students K-12 throughout the community.

They both share a vision of equity and improving the educational experiences and outcomes for youth who are vulnerable and living in poverty. They enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs and to increase responsiveness in our communities to meet the unique educational needs of homeless students and foster youth.

At the August 24th Mt. Diablo Board of Education meeting, the Concord High Instrumental Music Boosters was thrilled to present the Mt. Diablo HOPE program with a donation of $5,000.


Prisoner rights activists said that a settlement has been reached in a federal class action lawsuit that will effectively end indeterminate, long-term confinement in all California state prisons.

The suit was filed against Gov. Jerry Brown in May 2012 on behalf of prisoners in the security housing unit at the Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City in Del Norte County who have spent a decade or more in solitary confinement.

The suit alleged that prolonged solitary confinement violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and also asserted that there is no meaningful process for transferring out of isolation and back to the general prison population.

Prisoner rights activists said the legal action is part of a larger movement to reform security housing units at all California prisons that was sparked by hunger strikes by prisoners in such units in 2011 and 2013.

The nine plaintiffs in the case said in a joint statement, “This settlement represents a monumental victory for prisoners and an important step toward our goal of ending solitary confinement in California, and across the country.”

They said, “California’s agreement to abandon indeterminate security housing unit confinement based on gang affiliation demonstrates the power of unity and collective action.”

Mohamed Shekh of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition said the settlement will apply to all state prisons in California, not just Pelican Bay.

Jules Lobel, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs and the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “Today’s victories are the result of the extraordinary organizing the prisoners managed to accomplish despite extreme conditions.”

Lobel said, “This far-reaching settlement represents a major change in California’s cruel and unconstitutional solitary confinement system.”

He added that he hopes California’s reforms will be a model for other states.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials weren’t immediately available for comment on the settlement.

The case is before U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland and she must approve the settlement.



On Tuesday September 1st, 2015, the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested 66 year old Walnut Creek resident Marshall Pfeiffer for possession of child pornography, in violation of California Penal Code section 311.11(a).

The following is from the Walnut Creek Police Dept.:

The arrest stems from an investigation conducted by members of the task force which consists of Detectives from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, Pittsburg, Brentwood, Moraga, Concord, Pleasant Hill and San Ramon police departments, along with investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Probation and the District Attorney’s Office, and with assistance from federal law enforcement.

On September 1st, 2015, the task force executed a search warrant in the 100 block of El Camino Corto in Walnut Creek. A search of the residence yielded files of child pornography stored on a computer. As a result of the search warrant, Pfeiffer was arrested and booked at the Martinez detention facility.

Pfeiffer recently retired from the Acalanes Union High School District where he was a teacher at Acalanes High School in Lafayette. Pfeiffer has been cooperative in the investigation and there has been no evidence to suggest any illegal activity with respect to his career as a teacher.

School administrators have been advised of the arrest. Anyone with additional pertinent information should contact the Acalanes Union High School District or the Lafayette Police Department. Any questions regarding the arrest can be addressed to Lieutenant Lanny Edwards at the Walnut Creek Police Department at 925-943-5883.



This one was posted a few years ago, but we wanted to highlight it again because it’s a great photo.

Thanks to “Kirkwood” for sending this 1959 picture from a Mt. Diablo High School yearbook showing Park-N-Shop and Willow Pass Rd. in Concord.

“Kirkwood” says “At the far right is the water tower that served Concord. It belonged to California Water Service and was located near where the Brenden theatre is now and directly across from Lamberts Bakery bldg. There was a small office at the base of the tower. I don’t remember the source of the water but I do remember it tasted terrible!”

Thanks for the look back in time!

ABOUT THE CLAYCORD ONLINE MUSEUM: The Claycord Online Museum is made up of historical photos, documents & anything else that has to do with the history of our area.

If you have any old photos or items that you’d like to place in the Claycord Online Museum, just scan or take a photo of them, and send them to the following address: It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just an old photo of your house, a scan of an old advertisement or an artifact that you’d like us to see, send it in and we’ll put it online!

Click on the tag below titled “Claycord Online Museum” to view other items!



An early morning pursuit ended with the arrest of a stolen vehicle suspect, according to Concord Police.

A citizen called the Concord Police Department to report his Dodge Challenger had been stolen early this morning from the area of Babel Lane.

Officers immediately conducted an area check and located the vehicle on Port Chicago Highway. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, however, the driver failed to yield and a pursuit was initiated, police said.

The suspect fled to the area of Willow Pass Rd. and Hwy.4, where he was seen entering the freeway in the wrong direction. The pursuit was terminated and a short time later a citizen driving on Highway 4 reported seeing the suspect hopping fences near Avila Rd.

A Concord Police Officer located the stolen vehicle abandoned on Hwy.4, and a perimeter was established in the area and a CHP helicopter was requested for assistance.

The suspect was located by a Concord Police K9, and was arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle and evading.

The suspect also had some outstanding warrants and was on active post release community supervision, police said.

The incident is still under investigation, and the suspect’s name hasn’t been released at this time.





A fire on Oak Manor Dr. in Martinez has been extinguished, and investigators have determined the cause of the blaze.

The blaze started around 9pm on Monday night, and was under control within a few minutes.

The cause is related to smoking materials that ignited combustibles, according to Contra Costa Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Robert Marshall.

The total damage was $90,000 between the structure and a vehicle parked in the garage, Marshall said.

No life-threatening injuries were reported.

photo credit: “ratstalker”


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

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

Today’s question:

Do you carry a weapon with you when you go out in public?

Talk about it….



A man wanted for weapons and explosives possession was taken into custody at Concord BART on Monday around 6pm.

Officers contacted the adult male at the station on a welfare check. The male was known to the officers from prior contacts, and a subsequent records check revealed the male had an outstanding misdemeanor $12k warrant issued by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff for weapons-explosives possession, according to BART Police.

The male also had an active prohibition order prohibiting him from all BART Stations.

The male was placed under arrest and subsequently booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for the warrant and the prohibition order violation.

BART Police did not release the suspect’s name.



Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla on Monday introduced legislation to support Developmental Disability Services in California by taxing those who purchase cocktails in bars and restaurants.

The Cocktails for Healthy Outcomes Act proposes to add $.05 per cocktail purchased at any restaurant or bar in California.

“The $.05 charge will generate much needed funding for developmental disability services across our state”, according to Bonilla.



A fire in Martinez on Sunday morning caused about $250,000 in damage, displaced a family of three people and killed a dog, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District fire marshal said today.

Firefighters were initially called to the 2500 block of Franklin Canyon Rd. at around 9:30 a.m. Sunday on a report of a vehicle fire, Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

Fire crews arrived to find a vehicle engulfed in flames and a detached garage also in flames, Marshall said.

As firefighters were battling the blaze, the fire spread to a home behind the garage and at about 10:30 a.m., it spread to the open space around the home, Marshall said.

“After spreading to the wildlands, it became a much bigger fire,” Marshall said. “The fire ran up a very, very steep hill.”

Nearly 100 firefighters were called to fight the fire, including 16 fire engines, two hand crews, three bulldozers, four air tankers, a helicopter and an air attack unit, Marshall said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze around noon, but not before it had consumed roughly seven acres of vegetation, Marshall said.

The fire displaced two adults and a child. Marshall said the American Red Cross responded to assist them in finding emergency shelter. The family’s pet dog died in the fire.

Fire inspectors were working this morning to determine whether the fire started in the car or the garage, Marshall said.

He said relatively cool temperatures and low winds made their job easier than it would have been otherwise and averted further potential damage.

“We got really lucky. This could have been a much bigger fire if we had more wind and higher temperatures,” Marshall said. “There are a lot of houses in the area but the way the fire burned, it just happened to go into 75 acres of grazing land for cattle.”

Fire crews had to navigate steep slopes and there were no roads in the area, Marshall said.

“It took us about 20 minutes just to find access to the ridge,” he said, adding that air tankers helped by battling the blaze from the sky. “If we had any more wind, we’d probably still be out there today.”

Cal Fire officials called up a spare air tanker after one tanker returned from the blaze with landing gear problems, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chris Jurasek said.

Despite the landing gear problems, the tanker was able to land safely at base, Jurasek said.

No firefighters or residents reported any injuries in the fire, Marshall said.

photo credit: ConFire

RELATED STORY: UPDATE: Seven Acres Burned, Two Structures Destroyed During Fire in Martinez



Cub Pack 444, which meets at St. Bonaventure Church on Clayton Rd. in Concord (near the Clayton border), will be holding a new parent meeting on Tuesday, September 1st, 7pm – 8pm in classroom B2 at the church. This meeting will be for the parents/grandparents/guardians of anybody interested in joining Cub Scouts, according to the pack.

On Friday, September 4th, the pack will also hold an ice cream social and games for anybody interested in joining scouts. The event will be from 7pm – 8pm at the play field near the church’s back parking lot.

Both events are free.

RSVP to Cub Pack 444 Cubmaster Robert Kitay at

Get your event posted on Email with the details. All postings for scouting organizations and public schools are always free of charge.



A vehicle was struck twice by gunfire in Concord around noon on Monday, according to the vehicle’s owner.

The Toyota Camry was parked in a shopping center at Willow Pass Rd. near Granada Dr. when it was hit by the bullets.

Witnesses say they heard about five or six shots.

The suspect is described as a black or Hispanic male with a navy blue t-shirt and jeans.

No injuries were reported.

map: Google maps


Jessica Gonsalves‎


A vehicle struck a fire hydrant in downtown Walnut Creek on Monday afternoon.

No other information is currently available about the collision, which occurred at S. Main St. & Newell Ave., near Walnut Creek Kaiser.

Thanks to Jessica Gonsalves for the top photo, and thanks to Stefania for the picture on the bottom.


Authorities today identified a motorcyclist who was killed in a crash near Clayton early Sunday morning as 21-year-old Clayton resident Marcus Angelo Muskat.

Muskat was traveling east on Marsh Creek Road, west of Morgan Territory Road, when he veered off the roadway shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol and the Contra Costa County coroner’s office.

CHP officials said it’s unclear how fast Muskat was driving his 2003 Suzuki GSX-R759 or why he crashed.

Muskat was ejected from the motorcycle after striking a posted road sign and died from the injuries he suffered in the crash, CHP officials said.

Authorities are still investigating the crash and are asking any witnesses to the collision to call the CHP at 925-646-4980.



An overturned vehicle was quickly removed from northbound I-680 near Concord Ave. in Concord just after 3pm on Monday.

The vehicle was in a collision with another vehicle. Early reports from witnesses say the vehicles might have been trying to avoid a bag of debris on the freeway when the collision occurred.

No life-threatening injuries were reported.

Thanks to Laura Gorin Adcock for the photo.


Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on

TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every Monday at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions.

Email your questions to

COMMUTER: I believe it is California law that stations cannot charge you for air to fill your tires.


TRAFFIC JAMMER: As noted in last week’s column, it is indeed California law that gas stations can’t charge for air or water – with an important qualification: the motorist must buy fuel.

Here is the relevant portion of CA Business and Professions Code section 13651:



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

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

Today’s question:

Think back to the days when you were in school, k-12. What is one food you remember eating that they served in the cafeteria during breakfast, brunch or lunch that you wish you could have right now?.

Talk about it….



The City of Martinez has a new Chief of Police.

Manjit Sappal was sworn in this morning for his first day on the job at the Martinez Police Department.

A ceremonial swearing in for Chief Sappal will be held at the September 16th City Council meeting.

Sappal previously served as a Captain with the Richmond Police Department. He will be making a base salary of $175,000.



Over nine thousand households depend on the City of Martinez Water Treatment Plant and starting today, the City will begin a $3.6 million contract to improve the Plant’s ability to withstand earthquake activity. The construction is part of the City of Martinez Water Treatment Plant Master Plan as adopted by the City Council in 2012.

Originally built in 1948, the Plant underwent major upgrades in 1967 and 1990. The planned seismic upgrades include replacement of the existing glass superstructure for the facility’s 1967 filter building with partial concrete shear walls; seismic improvements for the washwater supply tank and clearwell structures; upgrades to steel piping and improvements to pipe supports. These seismic improvements will markedly increase structural stability in the event of an earthquake.

“We live in earthquake country. The old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ holds true in this circumstance,” said Mayor Schroder. “The City is fully committed to investing in our critical infrastructure. The upgrades to the Plant will provide additional protection from earthquakes so the City can provide our community with uninterrupted service in the case of an earthquake.”

Project completion is expected by December, 2016.

The selected contractor for the project is Auburn Constructors Incorporated of Sacramento. Funding for the project is provided by water system user charges. No significant public impacts or disruption in service are expected during construction.

The City of Martinez Water Treatment Plant is located at 3003 Pacheco Boulevard in Martinez.