CCWD Customers Using 24% Less Water

December 19, 2014 16:00 pm · 13 comments

Between April and November, Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) customers used 24 percent less water than their historical average.

The following information is from CCWD:

This is a great holiday gift for all CCWD customers, because we’re continuing to save water that we can use next year.

The 24 percent figure is down one percent from the April through October period, but remains well above the 15 percent target the District asked its customers to aim for. Water use is compared to the District’s historic average from 2005-2007.

Even though it’s raining and snowing in December, we’re still not out of the three-year drought by any means.

As one radio commentator said, it’s as if we’ve finished the first lap of the Indy 500. We’re doing well, but we’ve got a long ways to go. Also, two years ago at this time, we received more precipitation in the Northern Sierra (the source of most of the runoff that CCWD pumps from the Delta). But dry months in January and February kept that water year well below average.

So keep saving. We’re sure you’ve turned off your automatic sprinklers by now. Please continue to do what you have been doing to save water in the house; keep showers short and wash full loads of clothes

Thinking About Saving Rain Water?

Interested in harvesting that rain water to use for your plants later this year? We have a resource that can help answer all your questions.

If you see water waste, such as the prohibited activities listed below, let us know right away.

  • watering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • causing excessive flooding or runoff
  • washing a vehicle without a shutoff nozzle
  • using a hose to wash hard surfaces
  • operating a non-re circulating decorative fountain.

For more information, visit


More California travelers will take to the roads, rails, skies and waterways than ever before this holiday season, according to the results of a AAA Northern California survey released Thursday.

AAA is predicting more than 12.1 million Californians will travel during the end-of-the-year holiday season, representing an overall increase of 3.2 percent compared to 2013, AAA officials said.

A combination of consumer optimism, lower gas prices, an increase in disposable income, and better scheduling is contributing to more people leaving home, said AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris.

“This year the holidays land on a Thursday, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than a year ago and the longest since 2008,” Harris said. “This makes travel scheduling for the period between Christmas and New Year’s more flexible.”

Of those traveling this season, the vast majority, or 11 million Californians, will chose to drive to their destinations, which AAA representatives said is a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year.

Air travel is expected to increase by .5 percent over last year and boat and rail travel is expected to increase by 4.9 percent, AAA representatives said.

Across the country, 98 million people, or nearly one-third of the population, will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities, according to AAA.

More travel means higher hotel and lodging prices, AAA representatives said, and travelers should expect to pay more for car rentals, too.

AAA representatives also anticipate crews will rescue more than 1 million people stuck on the side of the road with cars broken down from dead batteries, flat tires or lockouts.

AAA officials recommend drivers test batteries and tires before leaving home.


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.

Do you think canceling “The Interview” (the movie about the assassination of the North Korean leader) was the right thing to do, or do you believe Sony should have shown it despite the threats from the hackers?

Talk about it….






The City of Concord is in the process of removing two trees that fell over overnight at Highlands Park, off Pennsylvania Blvd. in Concord.

No injuries were reported.

If you’re in the area, use caution and watch out for vehicles and other equipment in the park.

Thanks to Michelle Mason for the top photo, and thanks to Shawna Carter for the other three pictures.


The Walnut Creek Bomb Squad is in Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza, near Baskin Robbins on Grant St.

The area around Baskin Robbins has been shut down by the authorities.

We’re working on getting more details.

UPDATE: Police are no longer in the area.


A Daly City pastor who also held services in Concord will face trial for one count of child molestation, a San Mateo superior court judge ruled on Thursday.

Venije Singkoh, 70, pleaded not guilty to three counts of child molestation, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. San Mateo Superior Court Judge Donald Ayoob ruled that Singkoh would face only one count at trial.

Wagstaffe said the judge determined that two less serious allegations involving the pastor kissing young girls at the church on the cheek and one kiss on the lips didn’t fall under “lewd intent.”

Prosecutors said Singkoh is a pastor at the Indonesian Pentecostal Foursquare Church in San Francisco. On Feb. 7, a 9-year-old girl told her parents he molested her on multiple occasions over the past year by placing her on his lap and kissing her inappropriately.

Wagstaffe said the girl alleged he used his tongue while kissing her.

The girl told her mother and father, who called a church meeting with the pastor, prosecutors said. Several other church members attended the meeting and confronted him as well.

The pastor reportedly told them it was an accident and denied the claims, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said Child Protective Services were notified and they in turn notified Daly City police.

Singkoh also held services at the Golden Gate Christian Church in San Francisco, the First Presbyterian Church at 1965 Colfax St. in Concord and at his Daly City home.

Singkoh is scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m. when the judge is expected to set a trial date. He is currently out of custody on a $100,000 bail bond.



The Concord Police Department is currently accepting applications for the spring session of the Citizen Police Academy. The academy provides community members with an inside look at local law enforcement, giving an overview of the police department’s function and operations.

The ten-week academy curriculum and teaching methodology embrace real examples of police work. However, the weekly sessions are not designed to train participants as police officers. While attending the academy, students will be introduced to a variety of topics and training taught by police executives and veteran police officers. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with the Chief of Police and staff members.

This year’s session is scheduled to begin the first week of March, 2015. Classes will meet Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Concord Police Headquarters.

Candidate minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 16 years.
  • Live or work in the Concord area.
  • No felony convictions.
  • No misdemeanor convictions within one year of application.

Interested candidates can visit the City of Concord website at to obtain more information about the Citizen Academy and to download an application. Applications can also be obtained in person at the Concord Police Headquarters in the front lobby. Completed applications should be returned to the address listed below. Applicants who are accepted to the program will be notified of their selection at least two weeks prior to the first meeting.

Send completed applications to: Margaret Romiti, Manager, Office of the Chief, Concord Police Department, 1350 Galindo St., Concord CA 94520. Contact Romiti at (925) 671-3184.


Wetter than usual weather conditions across Northern California has prompted a downgrade of the drought classification from “exceptional” to “severe,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and the National Weather Service.

Another bout of rainfall is forecasted for the Bay Area tonight and into Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Rainfall totals are expected to be less than previous storms that have hit the Bay Area over the past week with less than an inch of rain in most areas and an inch or more in the North Bay mountains.

National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said the region still has a “long way to go” before the rain year is over and comparisons can be made about this rainy season compared to others. “Rain years” begin on July 1 and run through June 30, he said.

“We’re sort of in the middle of the rain year but we’re off to a good start,” Benjamin said. “We are well above what we need to be to maintain normalcy, which is what we want, but I don’t think we’ll mitigate the drought in one rain year.”

Across all the stations that the San Francisco Bay Area bureau of the National Weather Service monitors, Benjamin said rainfall totals for the year are above average.

Benjamin said the rainfall totals, while they are “certainly going to help the situation,” are not the only factor contributing to a drought.

Water retention in snow pack, reservoirs, and groundwater also play a role, Benjamin said.

“We could get a ton of rainfall in two days, but the fact is runoff would probably exceed what we could safely retain,” Benjamin said.

“Whereas if you spread it out over a period of time, you might have more absorption.”



If you or somebody you know recently lost a bag full of Raiders merchandise at the Sunvalley Mall, please read the following note from the person who found the items.

Hey Raider fans: I found a bag with merchandise you recently purchased but left behind at the Sunvalley Mall. Even though I’m a bitter 49er’s fan, I’d like the items returned to you.

I left my contact information with

Thanks for being honest and helping somebody out.

If you recently lost a bag full of Oakland Raiders merchandise at the Sunvalley Mall, please email and we’ll get you in contact with the person who found the items.

You’ll have to identify the items in the bag.



An 81-year-old woman crashed her car into a Concord gym this morning, according to police.

The woman confused her brake and gas pedal while in the parking lot of the Willows Shopping Center and crashed into the merchandise center of the UFC Gym at 1975 Diamond Blvd. this morning.

No one was in the area when the car entered the building and no one was injured, including the driver.

The woman had not been drinking or using drugs, police said.

Thanks to Ryan Lapating for the picture.


ayala citrus

Originally from Columbia, Anamilena Ayala has been living in Concord for about five years. As a child, she enjoyed helping her mother with sewing and knitting projects, but she really loved drawing and painting more. There weren’t any art classes for children in her small town, so she would volunteer to draw cells and organs on the blackboard in her science classes. Right after moving here, Anamilena attended her first art class in Walnut Creek and found that she loves working with acrylics. She continues to attend classes and take workshops and is now experimenting with oils, watercolor and palette knife techniques.

ayala hills

“So many things inspire me – other painters especially. I have always been attracted to still life, but recently I’ve become interested in landscapes, too. It’s a never-ending learning experience for me!” she says.





The Water Cooler – Children & Soda

December 18, 2014 12:00 pm · 24 comments

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.

Do you let your kids drink soda? If so, what age were they when they started drinking it?

Talk about it….


This is awful.

A mother expecting a child just got a carload full of baby items stolen from her vehicle in Clayton the other night, and she’s asking that you keep your eyes out for her items.

My car got broken into this week and practically everything got stolen. I am expecting the arrival of my daughter in February and they took literally everything I purchased for her; My laundry basket filled with the only clothes I have that fit me, and the outfit I was going to bring her home in.

There was a bunch of other stuff too but my electronics are not important to me. I was storing all of my stuff at my mom’s and finally was transporting it to my nursery.

I had just cleaned out my trunk and moved everything to my back seat to fit some bigger baby purchases in it earlier that day, and was going to bring everything inside but it was pouring rain and decided to wait until morning.

I would’ve rather had my car stolen and my baby stuff left outside. I’m just scared all of this stuff is going to end up in a dumpster somewhere and I’m hoping maybe someone has seen a ditched laundry basket or baby clothes. No other cars in the neighborhood were broken into and my car was right off of Oakhurst in Clayton.

There was also a thank you note left behind addressed to an Erich and Micka that I’m assuming got stolen when these people got their stuff stolen also.

So sorry. We’ve all made the mistake of leaving things in our vehicle overnight, and unfortunately, the thieves took advantage of your situation.

Anybody who might have seen anything in the area should call the police, or send a tip to


Officers from the Concord Police Department’s DUI Enforcement Team will be deploying this weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers in the Department’s ongoing traffic safety campaign.

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy on Dec.20 between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests.

Concord Police Chief Guy Swanger stated, “This is a ‘Zero Tolerance’ crackdown so Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over!”

After falling dramatically for five straight years, figures for 2012 show an increase to 802 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 9 lives and resulted in 68 injury crashes harming 71 of our friends and neighbors.

DUI can impact the economy in addition to the pain and suffering of those immediately affected. Conservatively, a fatality has a $1.4 million impact, an injury $70,000, and a crash that only damages property averages nearly $9,000.

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

Report Drunk Drivers, Call 911!


Three teenage suspects from Concord have been charged as adults for the armed robbery, carjacking and kidnapping of a couple sitting in a car at an overlook in the Berkeley hills early on Thanksgiving morning, University of California at Berkeley police said today.

Police said the victims, a 26-year-old woman and a 23-year-old male, were parked at a dirt turn-out on Grizzly Peak Boulevard around 2 a.m. on Nov. 27, sitting in their vehicle looking out toward the Bay, when three suspects approached them.

The suspects, two of whom were armed with guns and one with a baseball bat, demanded money, campus police said.

The victims didn’t have any money, so one suspect got into their vehicle and ordered them to drive to an ATM while the other suspects drove behind them in a second vehicle, according to police.




The referendum against four Contra Costa County Supervisors reached a milestone 23,000 signatures this week after only 3 1/2 weeks in circulation. Approximately 25,500 valid, registered voter signatures are needed. The Coalition is aiming to collect 33,000 signatures so as to build in a safe buffer against invalid signatures discounted in the verification process. With 16 days to go, the momentum for the referendum has only increased.

Phil Hu, Assistant General Manager of Local #1 said, “We are gaining momentum by the day. Voters are now tracking us down by the information on our website (, some driving to us specifically so they can sign.”

Last week, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association officially joined the coalition. This week, SEIU 1021 (Service Employees International Union, Local 1021) officially endorsed the referendum as well. The County Republican Party has also endorsed the referendum to overturn the Supervisors’ self-awarded 33% raise.

Additionally, local elected officials are starting to come forward and endorse the referendum campaign. Assembly Member Joan Buchanan said, “I believe in leading by example. The supervisors who voted themselves the 33% raise failed to lead by example.”

Concord City Council Member Edi Birsan added, “Government leadership requires the respect of those that are led and the people that are served.

You earn this by making tough decisions, not by surrendering to outrageous self enrichment.”

Former Contra Costa Community College Trustee Matt Rinn said, “The message the Supervisors is sending to the hard-working citizens and employees of this county is deplorable. They’re saying they can’t maintain needed county services but they can give themselves a raise.”



Did you all catch the beautiful sunrise this morning?


And did you also catch the new Hitchcock movie being filmed here?


Look out below!

Thanks to Craig Cannon for both pictures.


Whenever the holidays come around (especially Christmas), we always see an increase in theft from vehicles, homes, stores and credit cards.

Here’s one incident, which happened to a Claycordian this week:

I have seen you report this happening from time to time, and it looks like I’m one of the latest victims. I checked my credit card statement today and saw a $750 charge a few days ago that I had no knowledge of. I called the credit card company’s fraud department, they called the merchant, and it looks like somebody went shopping online and had it shipped to Richmond. The only recent place that I had used that card was at the Spirit gas station near Virginia Hills in Martinez. Thankfully it was a credit card and not a debit card. I’ve learned my lesson and will be paying inside at the gas station from now on. Please warn your readers to check their statements often and beware of pay-at-the-pump.

Sorry this happened to you.

Yes, always check your statements. Thanks for the warning.