Firefighters are at the scene of a vegetation fire north of state Highway 4 tonight, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District dispatcher said.

Fire crews responded to a report of a fire on Evora Road around 8:30 p.m., the dispatcher said.

The blaze has burned about 1 acre, she said. The fire was not threatening structures and no evacuations were called for, the dispatcher said.

Crews from Cal Fire were also responding to the blaze, according to the dispatcher.

photo: @ContraCostaFire on Twitter



Yesterday, a reader sent a tip and photos to and a tip to the Clayton Gazette newspaper, saying they witnessed “thousands” of books being thrown inside a recycling dumpster at the Clayton Library.

The photos showed what seemed to be some nice books, but we also said we suspected there were garbage books as well (outdated, ripped, etc.). After further investigation, we were right, there were books that could have been given away, but there were several books that should have been recycled.

We have no reason to believe the staff at the Clayton Library didn’t try to give the books away to those who might need some extra, used books, nor did we ever assume they didn’t try their best.

Apparently, a few people got their feelings hurt and put their boxing gloves on.

Just to make it clear, since a few people are unclear and didn’t seem to read the entire story, never said this was “awful”, “tragic”, and never said the Clayton Library should be “shut down”. In fact, we NEVER said anything negative about the Clayton Library or its many volunteers.

We posted the item hoping people might want to go get a free book or two, and we also said we would have been more than happy to put a notice out to the public asking for organizations, schools, care homes, etc. to contact the Clayton Library if they could use any extra books. We would also have asked for volunteers to help pass out or transport the books.

Our offer still stands, because there is no better place to get the word out to the local community than right here on

We understand the volunteers work hard at the library. We never once said anything negative about the volunteers, so please don’t believe people when they put words into our mouth.

To see how hard the volunteers work, all you have to do is look at the facts for the Clayton Library for the year 2013:

  • 125,627 people visited the library
  • 189,690 items were borrowed
  • 3,958 people participated in 222 free programs
  • 359 people of all ages finished the Summer Reading Program
  • Clayton residents used 359 free museum passes in the popular “Discover & Go” library program
  • 93 volunteers donated 7,773 hours
  • for an estimated value of $162,199
  • 7,058 library card holders (2012/13) in Clayton (pop. 10,897)
  • 65,958 total items in the collection

Those are some nice numbers.

Throughout the years, we have posted dozens of stories for the Contra Costa County Library, which includes Clayton, and we will continue to do so.

Despite what others say, there is NO media outlet in the entire Bay Area that does more for the Claycord community than That is a fact.

CBS5 covered this story tonight, too.

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A scammer is calling Claycordians, claiming to be from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, saying if the person on the other end of the phone didn’t pay him money, he would arrest them for missing jury duty.

Here’s one of the emails we received regarding the scam:

I wanted to share a very upsetting event that happened to me on Saturday. I hope that maybe by sharing the story, I can help one person from falling for this trap.

On Saturday morning, at 8:00 am, I received a phone call from a man claiming to be a lieutenant with the Contra Costa County Sherriff’s Department. It was early so I didn’t answer the call. The “officer” left a message stating that he needed to speak with me right away. I quickly called him back at 925-344-1934 fearing that something terrible had happened.

He stated that his name was Lieutenant Johnson and that I had failed to appear for jury duty on 10/2. He gave me the address for the courthouse in Martinez. I told him that I did not receive a summons. He informed me that I needed to pay my fines over the phone or a warrant would be issued for my arrest.

I asked to speak to his supervisor to discuss the matter but he said their office was closed on the weekend. I remembered hearing about this type of scam in the past so I hoped this was a hoax. I asked for a number to call and verify the charges and he gave me the actual number for the sheriff’s department.

I asked him to verify my home address which he did. I asked for my birthday which he claimed that he didn’t have. I told him that I was not going to pay the fine at this time and instead I would call the sheriff’s office to verify the warrant. He became very forceful and told me that I was making a huge mistake and that I could be arrested as soon as a few hours from that moment.

I asked him for his badge number and the case number of my account which he gave me. I hung up, regained my composure and called the sheriff’s office. They told me what I had expected, this was a completely false claim. They informed me that this scam was becoming quite common in Contra Costa County. I was relieved that this was a hoax but I wish more could me done to punish the man who called me and to prevent this from happening to others in our community.

And here’s another email:

A man claiming to be “Deputy Johnson” from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office left an actual voicemail on our answering machine asking for my younger brother to call him back. Upon calling him back he informed him that my brother had “missed jury duty” only a few weeks ago and a warrant was about to be issued for his arrest unless he paid $2,500 and was suggested to just “go down to Rite Aid” and wire the money.

The man had a southern accent and said he was located in Martin-ez.(couldn’t even pronounce the city) When asked to repeat that pronunciation he said “however you pronounce it.” Gave my brother a ten minute ultimatum or the warrant would be issued. Contacted the actual CCC Sheriffs office and apparently they have been receiving numerous inquiries about similar situations and my brother was advised not to fall for it, not like it was very convincing anyway. As that call was ending, the man had the nerve to be calling back and was told we filed a report and gave his number to the authorities and he tried to argue aggressively that the Sheriffs office  didn’t know what they were talking about. Told him to stop stealing from people and he paused and hung up.

This man called my brother by name and had our address. Not sure how, but it seems he may know to target younger individuals who may be intimidated and not know what to say and might fall for it. Don’t fall for this scam!

Thanks to the Claycordian for the email.

Be careful, and never give anybody money over the phone unless you know the person you’re dealing with.


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

TRAFFIC JAMMER: This question ran in last week’s column:

COMMUTER: The law now requires drivers to keep three feet between your vehicle and a bicyclist. However, some roads are too narrow. It is sometimes necessary to go into an opposite-direction lane to safely pass bicyclists. Is it legal to go over or through a double yellow line to do so when there is no opposite traffic?


TRAFFIC JAMMER: Alexey is referring to a California law requiring motorists to keep a 3-foot buffer when passing cyclists. To answer the question, the Jammer turned to attorney Robert Mionske. Jojo Potato noted:

COMMUTER: For a sense of where Robert Mionske is coming from, look up his article in Velo News proposing that bicyclists not be required to follow all the traffic laws. In particular they can blow through stop signs and lights if it’s in their best interest. Sorry Jammer, but you picked a very biased person to comment on this law.

–JoJo Potato

TRAFFIC JAMMER: JoJo Potato, the Jammer wants to use sources her beloved Claycordians find trustworthy. Here’s the answer from the California Department of Motor Vehicles:



The “Water Cooler” is a feature on 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!

Have you ever had a package stolen from your porch (or any area outside your home)?

If so, was the package returned or replaced, and was the person caught?

Talk about it….

RELATED STORY: NEW: VIDEO: Concord Resident Seeks Identity of Person Who Took Package off Doorstep




On Thursday, October 23rd at 6pm, STAND! For Families Free of Violence and Contra Costa’s Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence Initiative will honor 17 men who have demonstrated remarkable commitment to ending community violence and will strengthen awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

At the 9th Annual Men of Merit event, 200 community members and leaders will celebrate everyday heroes, revisit the declaration to prevent violence against women and girls, and encourage the community to be empowered bystanders. Special guests include eight years of Men of Merit alumni and Contra Costa County Chief Probation Officer Phillip Kader.

Keynote speaker Senator Mark DeSaulnier, California’s 7th district, has been an integral part in making Contra Costa County communities safer. As a former Concord City Councilmember, former Concord Mayor, and longtime small business owner, Senator DeSaulnier truly understands the importance of strong and healthy families. He has co-authored several bills that address issues of family violence.

Men of Merit honorees participate in the DELTA Project and are nominated by community members. The DELTA Project is a community-wide initiative that brings together leaders from across the county to teach young boys and men that strength does not equal violence and to prevent domestic violence. Honorees come from diverse backgrounds and professions, and they sign a pledge to stop intimate partner violence in their families, schools, and work places.

WHO:  Keynote Speaker: Senator Mark DeSaulnier, 7th district, California

WHAT:  Contra Costa’s 9th Annual Men of Merit Celebration

WHEN:  Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Mt. Diablo High School, Romaine Hall 2450 Grant Street in Concord

MEN of MERIT HONOREES: Congressman George Miller, Lieutenant Jim Alcorn, Daniel Beath, DeVone Boggan, John Boylan, Max Bridges, Tim Calvin, Mike Fields, Robert Gomez, Christian Hutchings, Milton Johnson, Isidro Llanos, Armando Martinez-Lopez, Kenny McGaugh, Michael Pitts, Timothy Russell, Jerry Zimmerman

ABOUT STAND! FOR FAMILIES FREE OF VIOLENCE: STAND! has served Contra Costa County communities for over 35 years and is the County’s sole provider of comprehensive domestic violence and child abuse services.


ALERT: This morning, the traffic lights at the Ygnacio Valley Rd. / Oak Grove Rd. intersection in Walnut Creek were damaged during a solo vehicle collision.

The lights at this intersection are now set to flashing red. (Note: flashing red lights mean you stop like it is a stop sign and proceed when the intersection is clear).

The lights will not be restored to normal until approximately 2:00pm today.

Consider using an alternate route if your commute normally takes you westbound on Ygnacio Valley Road from Concord.


On Sunday morning just after 1-o’clock, a female victim was attacked from behind by a Hispanic or Indian male in the parking lot of 313 Camelback Road, according to the Pleasant Hill Police Department.

The suspect pulled the victim to the ground and tried to remove her underwear.

The victim screamed and the suspect fled the area on foot.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic or Indian male adult, mid-twenties, 6’ tall, skinny build, short brown curly hair, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with blue flower print and gray shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pleasant Hill Police Department Investigation Division 925-228-4630.



A woman was burned during a one-alarm apartment fire in Pleasant Hill this afternoon, a fire official said.

Firefighters responded to a report of the fire in the 2100 block of Geary Road shortly after 4 p.m., Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.

A second alarm response was called for but was quickly canceled, according to a dispatcher.

The blaze at the two-story building was under control around 4:25 p.m., Marshall said.

Once fire crews knocked down the fire, they searched through the building and located the woman in a unit involved in the blaze, according to Marshall.

She was transported to a hospital for burns to her legs and smoke inhalation, he said. The victim is currently in serious condition.

The fire was caused by unattended cooking in a kitchen in the same unit where the woman was found, Marshall said.

Thanks to Grace Karwowski for the picture.



For this week’s column on Claycord I will answer three questions that have been asked. One by email, and two others left in the comment section of last’s week’s column.

The one by email was written by Mike Stinnett. Mike’s neighborhood is being overrun by ground squirrels.

Hi GG,

We are Fencers front line to CNWS. Our back yard and gardens were taken over by ground squirrels, but now our lawns and potted plants are suffering as well only getting worse. Now the vermin are moving south into the neighborhood. It’s never enough of a problem until it’s an epidemic and trust me it’s just begun. I know I speak for hundreds of folks. Perhaps a article suggesting an alliance to combat these destructive little devils.

Mike Stinnett.

Garden Girl: Well Mike, having lived in a farm house on Marsh Creek road for 5 years, I can feel your pain.  We found there really wasn’t anything that we could do to detour or eliminate the ground squirrels. They bored under our detached garages foundation, scarfed down lobelia and gerbera daisy plants and annoyed us with their loud, high pitch noise.

We did through the years learn how to keep the ground squirrels away from our immediate outdoor living areas.  We took back our yard.  We spent more time outside working and playing in the yard.  We started digging for plant installs, mowing the lawn area more frequently, weed-wacking the weeds down, walking\running around and playing with the dogs.  All of the activity and noise drove the ground squirrels away.

They no longer felt as comfortable sharing the area.

Mike, this may not be the best answer, but it’s the one that worked for us.  Traps didn’t work.  We had too many squirrels.  Repellents were a waste of money. We would never consider poisons or baits. Hope this helps.

Garden Girl: JenA left a couple questions in the comment section of last week’s column.  She was looking for an easy to grow, shade tree that she could have installed into a small space.  JenA, consider a Chitalpa tree.  They are very hardy to both our Claycord summers and winters.  This tree is drought tolerant and fast growing.  The head of the Chitalpa tree is naturally wide, with large lance shaped leaves.  This tree will provide dappled shade.  You will also get to enjoy a spring through summer flower.  Chitalpa trees lose their leaves in the fall, all at once so there only one mess to clean.

JenA was also looking for a shrub to provide privacy from a neighbor’s window.  Three different plants to consider are the Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘MargorieChannon’, or ‘Silver Sheen’ and Rhamnusalaternus ‘Argenteo-variegata’.  All of these shrubs are evergreen, and they’ve been proven to thrive in our Claycord climate.  They will reach heights from 6-8’ tall and taller with age.  One of the best features of these shrubs are their small leaves.  Small leaves look tidier when pruned.

Grape Leaf Panties also asked a question last week regarding their rosemary hedge.


Have a large Rosemary hedge about four feet tall max. Over the few years one or two areas of no growth and dying portions showed up. I noticed leaves from the big tree filled up in thespaces and thought that was the cause. I figure if the leave piles are removed the surrounding rosemary will grow and fill in the non growth areas. My husband looked this up and is under the impression the areas just die off over time and the leaves just gathered there because of the gaps. He read to fill in the non growth gaps we need to plant more Rosemary into the ground. With this idea, it might take years to get the rosemary plants to grow as big as the surrounding healthy shrub.

So garden girl: what do you suggest to regain the continuity of our large Rosemary hedge?

And how can we avoid future issues like this?

Thank you


Garden Girl: Plants have life spans.  They die off.  Sometimes the whole plant dies, and other times branches die.  It just happens.  Unfortunately in your case, the rosemary has been grown as a hedge.  You have a couple choices.  You can plant new rosemary in the gaps of the hedge, and ignore the lack of continuity, or you can remove and replant the hedge with rosemary or a different plant material.  The latter option will insure the instant continuity you desire.  Shrubs without flowers have long lifespans, and have the most longevity when planted as a hedge.

Thank you all for reading.

Happy Gardening.

Nicole Hackett is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio and Gardens, located at 6780 Marsh Creek Road in Clayton, 925-672-0207.

Nicole writes for the Clayton Pioneer Newspaper, and She is also the Clayton Valley Garden Club 2012 President.


Firefighters are at the scene of a one-alarm apartment fire in Pleasant Hill this afternoon, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District dispatcher said.

The fire was reported in the 2100 block of Geary Road shortly after 4 p.m., the dispatcher said.

A second alarm response was called for but was quickly canceled, according to the dispatcher.

No further details were immediately available.

UPDATE, 4:45pm: At least one victim has been located inside the apartment, according to ConFire. The victim’s condition is unknown at this time.



The City Council will hold a joint meeting with the MDUSD Board of Trustees on Monday, October 20th at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

This is one of a series of meetings that the School District has been holding with cities within the school district over the past eighteen months.

The meeting will discuss issues of mutual concern including student enrollment, student achievement, safety, and implementation of Common Core at Pleasant Hill Schools.

This is a public meeting and everyone is welcome to attend.

Public comment will be taken during each discussion item.


The Clayton Police Weekly Activity Report:

The times shown indicate when the incident was reported to the PD.


  • Marsh Creek Rd./Pine Ln.  No Injuries.  (10/13/14 – 0707 hrs.)


  • 5400 Clayton Rd.  Warrant.  A 45-year-old Concord female was arrested after responding to a call for service.  She was released on her signed promise to appear.  (10/11/14 – 0234 hrs.)
  • Kirker Pass Rd./Concord Blvd.  Warrant.  A 28-year-old Concord female was arrested after being contacted by officers.  She was transported to Martinez Detention facility for booking.  (10/12/14 – 0858 hrs.)
  • 5400 Clayton Rd.  Possess Controlled Substance; Possess Unlawful Paraphernalia.  A 39-year-old transient female was arrested after officers responded to a call for service.  She was transported to Concord Police department for booking.  (10/14/14 – 1345 hrs.)
  • 5400 Clayton Rd.  Possess Unlawful Paraphernalia.  A 39-year-old transient female was arrested after being contacted by officers.  She was released on her signed promise to appear (10/15/14 – 1408 hrs.)


  • Herriman Ct.  Burglary – Vehicle.(10/10/14 – 1220 hrs.)
  • Windmill Canyon Dr.  Petty Theft.(10/11/14 – 1150 hrs.)


  • None.



Click on the photo above to read the weekly update from the City of Pleasant Hill.


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Fritz’s Quality Meats has been next to Goodwill on Clayton Rd. in Concord for several decades, but now, they’re closed.

The owners of the business were evicted, according to a notice on their front door.

We’ve been waiting to announce the news to see if they’d open up in another location, but so far, nothing has been announced.


A Claycordian sent this note on Saturday evening regarding a scam phone call:

This evening I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize, 800-922-8922, and sent it to voicemail. It was a scam, claiming to be Verizon Wireless, asking customers to logon to a website and enter their account info. Oviously this is fake and wanted to extend a heads up to all the Verizon customers in Claycord. I received this message even though I am not a Verizon customer.

Thought Claycordians would want to know not to fall for this!

Thanks for the heads-up!

Did anybody else receive a call from this scammer?


We’ve been getting some questions about lights up above, so thanks to our friend, “The New Rhodesian” for letting us know what’s being seen in the sky above Claycord.

Just to let you know, someone on Clayton/ La Vista/West Street area is launching floating paper lanterns that are dropping flaming embers.

Thanks again, and remember, it’s not smart to release things that are on fire near our very flammable hills & mountain.


The “That’s My Kind of Night” tour with Luke Bryan, Lee Brice and Cole Swindell wrapped up the 2014 concert season at the Concord Pavilion on Friday night.

Cole Swindell opened the show and gave a great tribute to the men and women in the military.

Lee Brice followed with a terrific set, which featured a marriage proposal between two fans in attendance, and Luke Bryan commanded the Pavilion into a frenzy with his headlining act.

Did you attend a concert at the Pavilion this year? If so, who did you see?

photos: Bennett Shots – Brad & Sara Bennett –