On Monday night, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 “Eleventh Congressional District High School Art Competition.”

The winner was Concord High School senior Ryan Shu, whose winning piece consisted of a digital photograph entitled “The Golden Escape.” The competition is a juried art show open to all high school students who are residents of California’s Eleventh Congressional District.

“This year’s Congressional Art Competition showcased the incredible talent and passion of young artists in our district. I congratulate all of the students who participated and look forward to showcasing artwork from our Grand Prize winner, Ryan Shu, in the United States Capitol,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

The runners-up, whose artwork will be displayed in Congressman DeSaulnier’s district offices, included Lu Wang’s piece entitled “Equity in America” and Moira Brown’s piece entitled “Faces.”

The awards ceremony was held at John F. Kennedy University and the winning pieces were selected by the following judges:

• Michelle Krup, Diablo Valley College Art and Photography Department Instructor
• Donna Fenstermaker, Contra Costa College Professor of Drawing and Composition
• Warren Dean, Concord High School Art Teacher and Visual and Performing Art Department Chair

The winning piece from the Eleventh Congressional District, along with winning artwork from all 50 states, will be displayed in the United States Capitol Building for the next year.

This summer, the winner and a guest will visit Washington, DC for a national reception honoring winners from across the country to celebrate the opening of the Capitol Exhibition.

Since 1982, over 650,000 high school students from around the nation have participated in the Congressional Art Competition, which has allowed Members of Congress to acknowledge the artistic talents of their young constituents.

Photo caption: The 2016 Congressional Art Competition winning artwork entitled “The Golden Escape” by Concord High School student Ryan Shu.


A man who died after crashing into Interstate Highway 680’s center divider early Monday morning near Martinez has been identified by the Contra Costa County coroner’s office as 85-year-old Nobuo Kada.

The elderly Mill Valley resident was involved in a single-vehicle crash reported to the California Highway Patrol at 2:33 a.m. Monday on northbound Highway 680 north of Pacheco Boulevard in unincorporated Contra Costa County.

It was reported that his vehicle was traveling the wrong way on the highway’s northbound lanes near the center median before crashing into the concrete center divider, according to the CHP.

He was found trapped inside his seriously damaged vehicle and had major injuries. After he was extricated, he was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and died there, according to the CHP.

CHP officials said that as of Monday morning, no witnesses had stepped forward and the man was unconscious after the crash.

The reason he crashed was not immediately apparent. The CHP is investigating the crash and looking to determine if drugs or alcohol were factors in it.

CHP officials were not immediately available today to provide an update on the case.

Anyone who witnessed the crash has been asked to call CHP Officer Mike Fuentez at (925) 646-4980.



In hopes of alleviating growing numbers of dogs at overcrowded Contra Costa County animal shelters, the county is offering incentives this week to adopt a new canine friend.

Referred to as the May Day promotion, the Contra Costa County Animal Services Department announced today that it would reduce adoption fees and provide free training for dogs weighing over 24 pounds that are adopted by Saturday.

“This promotion is aptly named … Our county shelters are at capacity so we’re sending out a mayday call with the hope of finding homes for the many lovable animals that are in our county’s care,” County Supervisor Candace Andersen said in a statement.

Back in February, the county department had to stop accepting surrendered animals because of high volumes of animals at its Martinez and Pinole shelters.

This week’s promotion is part of ongoing efforts to reduce overcrowding at the facilities.

According to the animal services department, its new director Beth Ward has put an increased emphasis on saving the lives of animals at the shelters.

Citizens for a No Kill Contra Costa County, an advocacy group that lobbied for a director who would reduce the county shelter’s euthanasia rate, cheered the selection of Ward last year.

The department also touted in its announcement today that its release rate of live animals is at an all-time high.

But the shelters are becoming overcrowded as the department now houses animals for much longer than it did in the past, animal services officials said.

“While we’re very proud of the improvements we’ve made in improving our department’s live release rate, the flip side to that equation is that your shelter inventory is naturally going to increase,” Ward said in a statement.

Ward added that promotions to offer lower costs and access to training “remove some of the barriers that prevent people from adopting, while also helping us to reduce the number of residents in our shelters.”




Almost 43-years ago, on Friday June 15, 1973, 15-month old Carl Eric Christian fell 13-feet down a well in the backyard of his home on Orange Street in Concord.

He was rescued after a few hours with no life-threatening injuries. The incident made local news, but the story never made it past the Bay Area.

Does anybody remember when the Concord baby fell in the well?

The article & the photo shown above are both from the Sunday June 17th edition of the Oakland Tribune. You can click on each one for a larger view.

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!


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.

Today’s question:

If you could choose one word to describe the Concord Naval Weapons Station reuse project, what would it be, and why?

Talk about it!



Tonight’s Concord City Council meeting, during which councilmembers were to discuss the selection of the Master Developer for the Concord Naval Weapons Station, has been postponed due to an “unexpected lack of a quorum,” according to the City of Concord.

Previously, city staff in a report that was made public Friday recommended that the council proceed with Lennar Urban as the master developer for the first phase of redeveloping the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

Lennar has worked with Concord’s city staff to upgrade certain areas of its term sheet, which was conveyed as a prerequisite to its selection for the initial phase of development for an expected $6 billion project.

City staff in its report stated that Lennar agreed to address and fix many of the areas of concern raised by Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and Councilmembers Dan Helix and Edi Birsan, the trio tasked with selecting a master developer for the project.

The report also claimed there would be “significant hurdles and adverse ramifications” to pursuing alternatives to selecting Lennar at this point.

But Helix in particular has expressed skepticism about whether it was best to have Lennar take the helm on the project — as have many Concord residents, who spoke at prior council meetings of a lack of trust in the selection process given past controversy.

Lennar’s former competitor, Catellus Development Corp., made allegations in September that the firm improperly lobbied City Councilman and then-Mayor Tim Grayson, pausing a selection process that began on January
2014 while the claims were investigated.

After the Oct. 6 suicide of City Attorney Mark Coon, an independent attorney, Michael Jenkins, was hired to author a report regarding the allegations.

Jenkins’ report concluded that Lennar orchestrated campaign contributions from at least one proxy entity to Grayson’s Assembly campaign, constituting a non-legal definition of lobbying. Grayson rescued himself from involvement in the process, despite there being no evidence he knew of the Lennar connection.

Vice Mayor Ron Leone has also recused himself from the vote because state law says he has real property interest in the outcome since he lives within 500 feet of the project.

Lennar was allowed to continue in the selection process by the City Council, which said it was best to have multiple bidders. However, the council later denied a request from Catellus to change an aspect of its term sheet, granting them permission instead to drop out of the process and limiting the selection to Lennar.

Then the council asked Lennar to revisit certain areas of its term sheet that had previously led city staff to recommend Catellus over Lennar as a master developer. Despite not having a competitor, Lennar agreed to it.

City staff in its latest report claims that after making alterations to its term sheet, Lennar’s terms are now better than what Catellus had originally proposed.

The report overall was glowing of Lennar, calling the firm “one of the most experienced and qualified firms in the U.S. with the capacity to execute this project.”

And while the firm did make improvements to its affordable housing and transportation infrastructure commitments, among other things, it’s up to the City Council to decide whether to accept the revisions and choose Lennar as master developer.

A new date for the meeting will be announced later this week, the city said.


As previously reported, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District recently changed the boundaries for a few neighborhoods in Concord, and all of Clayton.

The new “home” high school for those who were previously in the boundaries for Clayton Valley High School before it turned into a charter and left the district in 2011 is now Northgate High School in Walnut Creek.

Local Realtor Nancy Bennett tells us the boundary changes are a win….for some!

The following information is from Nancy Bennett:

My initial reaction was that this is GREAT news for some families in Concord!

Speaking from a perception view only….The perception has been that the value of one Concord community (or home) vs another community or home, based on the schools they are assigned to can be a big difference in home buyers minds and the price that buyers are willing to pay.

We get this all the time – Paying a little more to get the right schools has been worth it for those families that can afford to do that.

In my experience, schools matter. Whether or not a family will use the public schools or even have kids at this time, they would “rather be in the better” area of assigned schools. Whether you think Northgate High School is a better choice or not, the perception has been that it is, along with CVCHS – over say Concord High if you’re in Concord.

So, bottom line – is this a good thing….YES – for the homeowners that are now newly assigned to Northgate, the perception is that this is an improvement and that may increase the “value” of their home. Congratulations to those families!

I also agree that it will be a traffic nightmare, possibly an overcrowding issue, school scores may be impacted if classroom size increases, and the transition of new “Concord” students. I’m sure there will be more lawsuits filed to change up the boundaries again and lots of complaining.

I feel like our kids just need to get educated, socialized, taught to be inclusive, generous and prepared for college and the real world….so if our local public school system can work on that in each school then at some point it may not matter what school your home is assigned to….all of our home values and education will be better.

Call me a dreamer….

Until next time.


REALTOR, Keller Williams East Bay – CalBRE# 01399870 –

With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience, including 12 years selling real estate in the East Bay, Nancy Bennett is the #1 Realtor in Concord and a top 1% Realtor in Contra Costa County. She has won the Five-Star Professional Award for Customer Service the last three years in a row. Nancy has served on the Agent Leadership Council at Keller Williams, and she’s a faculty member and mentor to new agents at her office. She’s also a licensed foster parent with 4 foster kids at home, and she volunteers with Meals on Wheels and Youth Homes in Walnut Creek.

RELATED STORY: MDUSD Designates New Boundaries for Students at Pine Hollow, Diablo View Middle Schools



ADVISORY: Missing person at risk with dementia. Gloria Rodriguez, Hispanic female adult. 82-years-old. Driving a grey Hyundai Santa Fe – license “5KDC810″.


The Concord Police Department is searching for a missing woman.

82-year-old Gloria Rodriguez has dementia, and left the area of Concord Blvd./Hames Dr. today around 11:30 a.m. and never returned home.

She was last seen driving a grey Hyundai Santa Fe with California license plates of “5KDC810″.

Rodriguez is a Hispanic female adult, 5’3″, 145 lbs with grey hair and brown eyes.

If located please contact your local police agency or the Concord Police at 925-671-3333.

UPDATE: She has been located.


An elderly motorist died in a crash into Interstate Highway 680’s center divider early this morning near Martinez, according to the California Highway Patrol.

At 2:33 a.m., the CHP received a call about a single-vehicle crash on northbound Highway 680 north of Pacheco Boulevard in unincorporated Contra Costa County.

It was reported that an Infiniti was traveling the wrong way on the highway’s northbound lanes near the center median before crashing into the highway’s concrete center divider, according to the CHP.

The 85-year-old Mill Valley man, whose name has not yet been released, was trapped inside his seriously damaged vehicle, according to the CHP.

He suffered major injuries in the crash and was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for treatment. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the CHP.

Three lanes were closed on the highway until around 4 a.m. while debris from the accident was cleared, according to the CHP.

CHP officials said the crash is still being investigated. It has yet to be determined whether alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call CHP investigator Officer Mike Fuentez at (925) 646-4980.


A 20-year-old Concord man was taken into custody on indecent exposure charges on Monday afternoon after he was spotted walking naked near Concord High School, El Dorado Middle School and Westwood Elementary School, according to Concord Police.

The man’s name hasn’t been released, police said.



Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every first and third Monday at 2 p.m. on

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

Email your questions to

COMMUTER: It is my contention that opposing traffic signals instantly change direction. When north/south turns red, east/west turns green, with no delay between the changeover.

Retired LEO says there is a 3-second delay. I have been observing signal changes closely for the last month, and they all switch over with no delay.

This means that an east/west vehicle can cross the limit line legally as the east/west light turns red, and simultaneously the north/south light turns green.

But, just because north/south has the green, does not mean they can legally or safely bolt into the intersection. East/west entered the intersection legally, so if north/south makes a jack-rabbit start and creams east/west it will be north/south’s fault legally and from a liability standpoint.




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.

Today’s question:

A Claycordian recently emailed us asking why people never seem to pull over to the side of the road when they see lights & sirens. They said people either don’t care, or they don’t know what to do.

QUESTION: Have you noticed in the recent years that people don’t pull over when they see emergency vehicles driving with lights & sirens? If so, why do you think people are not doing what the laws says they’re supposed to do?

Talk about it!


A woman who was on probation and had an arrest warrant for Driving Under the Influence was arrested for being drunk in public on Sunday night at the Concord BART station.

The woman, whose name hasn’t been released, had an outstanding $5,000 arrest warrant for DUI, held by Walnut Creek Police. The woman was arrested on her warrant, and for public intoxication.

The incident occurred just after 6 p.m.



The Clayton Police Department has a new electric motorcycle.

You may have seen it around town already, but we know you couldn’t hear it.

When Clayton Police Sergeant Jason Shaw started looking for replacements for the department’s aging gasoline powered motorcycle, he found Zero Motorcycles, which is a purpose built, police motorcycle that is 100% electric, produces no emissions and is made right here in California.

“The City of Clayton is constantly looking for ways to help support their needs and service to the community and I believe Sgt. Shaw hit a homerun with his ingenuity in securing this grant,” said Clayton Police Chief Chris Wenzel.

With the Zero’s instant torque and clutchless direct belt drive, it features a top speed that easily meets the needs of other police type motorcycles and can go 0-60 in just over five-seconds. It does it all with a range of about 100 miles on a single charge.

Locating grants to assist the City is not a simple task, but with some dedicated research and help from a local business, Sergeant Shaw was able to develop a partnership with the Tesoro Foundation.

Two of the Tesoro Foundation’s goals are Public Safety and Environmental Conservation and this motorcycle meets them both.

Associated with this grant, the Tesoro Foundation completely funded the safety equipment, communications equipment as well as upgraded emergency vehicle lighting so the motorcycle can be easily seen operating in the day or night. Additionally, two local companies, Audio Design LLC and 925 Metal Fab, worked on these improvements to help get the motorcycle into service.

The Clayton Police Department’s Zero police motorcycle will not only be used on the city streets, but on the surrounding pedestrian trails and during special events.


The first plane able to fly day and night on solar power only will take off early Monday morning from Moffett Field in unincorporated Santa Clara County to continue its journey to circumnavigate the globe, according to the two Swiss men who’ve been piloting the plane.

Bertrand Piccard flew Solar Impulse 2 from Hawaii to Moffett Field last month and Andre Borschberg will take it on to Phoenix Goodyear Airport near Phoenix, Arizona, starting at 5 a.m. Monday, depending on the weather.

Solar Impulse 2 seats only one person. The plane flies by collecting energy from the sun in more than 17,000 solar cells on its wings. The solar cells send energy to four lithium batteries, which power four motors, which turn four propellers.

The trip to the Phoenix area is the start of pilots’ plan to cross the United States and make the first-ever round-the-world trip in a solar plane.

Piccard and Borschberg are trying to show others how it’s possible to sustain the earth’s environment and that clean energy can be harnessed to provide fuel for the world’s needs.


Police in Pleasant Hill this morning located a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing Thursday, police said.

Around 10:24 a.m., officers received a call from a station agent at the Pleasant Hill BART station, saying that they had recently seen Jenna Graves at a nearby bus stop, according to police.

Officers responded to the area and located Graves, who was alone and in good health, police said.

Graves was first reported missing at 8:42 p.m. Thursday when she didn’t come home from Alhambra High School in Martinez, according to police.

Investigators believed she got on a bus from Alhambra Avenue to the Concord BART station around 3 p.m. Investigators also believed Graves was planning to meet someone in Oakland and took extra clothes with her.

Police had considered Graves at-risk because she is developmentally disabled but appears physically mature for her age.

After locating Graves, police said they notified Graves’ family that they found her and are planning to reunite her with them.



The City of Pleasant Hill is in the process of drafting its Biennial Budget for Fiscal Years 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.

This Budget will cover the period of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.

As they go through the budget development process, City staff and the City Council are interested in hearing from the City’s residents about their priorities and concerns.

Please take a few moments to provide your input by answering the three short questions. Just click on the photo shown above to take the survey.


Click on each photo above to view the Concord Police Arrest Report (three pages).

Names of those arrested are not included in the report

The last two numbers in each address have been deleted to respect the privacy of any possible victim(s).