ACCIDENTS:

  • None.

ARRESTS:

  • Delaware Dr.  Warrants.  A 26-year-old Clayton male was arrested after being contacted by officers.   He was transported to Concord Police Department for booking.  (07/24/21 – 1600hrs.)
  • Buckeye Ter.  Battery on a Person.  A 44-year-old Clayton female was arrested after officers responded to a call for service.  She was released on her signed promise to appear.  (07/26/2021 – 1832 hrs.)

BURGLARIES/THEFTS:

  • None.

VANDALISMS:

  • None.

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Concord Police arrested one driver on suspicion of DUI while conducting a DUI enforcement patrol on Friday.

Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

Funding for this DUI Patrol was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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School superintendents in six counties jointly announced their support Friday for full in-person classes for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year.

The announcement came from superintendents in Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda counties in addition to the city of Berkeley and aligns with guidance from the California Department of Public Health that encourages schools across the state to reopen with modifications.

The officials also advised all students age 12 and up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they have yet to do so. Under state public health guidelines, students will be required to wear a face covering when indoors regardless of their vaccination status.

“We highly encourage our students to take advantage of vaccination opportunities and universally wearing their masks,” Contra Costa County Superintendent Lynn Mackey said in a statement. “These strategies are proven to be the most effective way to prevent in-school transmission of the COVID-19 virus and its variants.”

State public health and education officials have yet to mandate that eligible students get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they return to school.

They have, however, hinted that such a mandate will be considered once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues its full approval of the three available vaccines.

Similar vaccination mandates already exist for communicable illnesses like measles and whooping cough unless a child has a documented exemption from a doctor.

“It is important for all students to have access to a safe learning environment, and universal mask-wearing and the COVID-19 vaccine are proven to be the two most effective mitigation strategies in preventing in-school transmission of the coronavirus and its variants,” Santa Clara County Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan said.

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A person driving on Kirker Pass Road in Concord struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the road at 5 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The 25-year-old man had been walking across Kirker Pass between Clearbrook Drive and Myrtle Drive when he was hit by a vehicle heading southbound on Kirker Pass, according to police.

The driver, a 30-year-old man, stayed at the scene and cooperated with police. The pedestrian died at the scene, according to police.

Police are still investigating, and any witnesses are asked to contact Traffic Officer Parsley at (925) 603-5963.

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whatever

Happy Friday to all the wonderful citizens in the City of Claycord.

This is a post with no subject, you can talk about whatever you want. If breaking news happens (such a shooting, earthquake, etc.), or you hear about something newsworthy, feel free to post it here.

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose a name so others can easily chat with you. Users must provide a name in the ‘name field’, please do not use the ‘@’ symbol in the name field.

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politics_claycord

This post is “Talk About Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about politics, and keep politics out of the “whatever” thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other.

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose a name so others can easily chat with you. Users must provide a name in the ‘name field’, please do not use the ‘@’ symbol in the name field.

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Walnut Creek officials are considering whether to keep outdoor dining parklets a permanent fixture of the city after extending the city’s outdoor dining program through the end of the year.

The Walnut Creek City Council unanimously approved the extension of the Walnut Creek Rebound program last week, enabling restaurants to maintain their outdoor dining spaces in areas like erstwhile street parking spaces.

Rebound also created curbside pickup zones near restaurants and retail businesses and closed a handful of streets downtown as restaurants expanded their footprints to accommodate outdoor dining during the pandemic.

According to Mayor Kevin Wilk, a survey of some 1,400 Walnut Creek residents found that 82 percent wanted to make the outdoor dining spaces permanent.

“It’s thoroughly obvious to this council that people like this,” Wilk said last week.

The city launched the Rebound program in June 2020 in coordination with local groups like the Downtown Business Association and the city’s Chamber of Commerce at a time when the state had temporarily banned indoor dining during the pandemic’s early months.

While city officials have acknowledged a modest loss of revenue while the parking spaces are going unused by vehicles, they’ve argued widely available garage parking and the potential loss of local businesses, as well as their tax revenue, was worth the risk.

Walnut Creek city officials are also currently conducting outreach to determine which elements of Rebound to keep in 2022 and beyond, particularly in the city’s bustling downtown.

Business owners are encouraged to contact the city at economicdevelopment@walnut-creek.org to give feedback about the future of outdoor dining and business operations.

“I appreciate the fact that we’re able to help restaurants recover from this pandemic and this disastrous economic collapse that happened over last year and help them a little bit further,” Wilk said.

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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, where are the intersections with the longest stop lights in Claycord?

Also, have you ever ran a red light because it wouldn’t change to green?

Talk about it….

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Nearly two-thirds of state residents are concerned about the water supply in their region and the increase of wildfires and drought due to climate change, according to polling data released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

PPIC’s 21st annual environmental survey polled 1,569 state residents, including 937 likely voters, earlier this month on environmental issues and concerns.

The survey found that one-quarter of participants said water supply and the state’s ongoing drought are their top environmental concerns, followed by 17 percent saying wildfires, 13 percent saying climate change and 6 percent saying air pollution.

Water supply was also a concern for a majority of survey participants in each area of the state – the central valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and the San Francisco Bay Area.

However, just under 60 percent of those polled in Southern California said their region’s water supply was a big problem, while 67 percent of those in the central valley and 70 percent of those in the Bay Area said it was a big problem.

“It’s also the most important issue for Democrats and independents while Republicans are equally likely to say the drought or wildfires are the biggest issue,” said Rachel Lawler, a survey analyst with the PPIC.

At least 69 percent of participants in each geographic region said they’ve taken steps to reduce their water use to some extent, with 90 percent of Bay Area participants saying they’ve done so.

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By Olivia Wynkoop – Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies of recent fires across the state has proven that these disasters won’t be leaving anytime soon, experts say.

And for communities on the border of wildland and urban areas, also known as the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), that means their risk of danger or property destruction is only increasing without proper mitigation.

The record-breaking wildfire season of 2020 saw 4.2 million acres burnt statewide, and 2021 is already bringing a hot and heavy start to the fire season.

Fires are hitting urban areas more frequently than before, and the intensity brings devastating effects to the community, said Michael Gollner, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at University of California at Berkeley who specializes in fire model development and emissions.

“We’re not talking about a fire that went through brush, we’re talking about a fire that jumped over a multiple-lane highway through commercial area and into a suburban community,” Gollner said in reference to the major losses during the 2017 Tubbs Fire in the North Bay. “This is a different beast we’re tackling.”

Along with Gollner, a coalition of wildfire, environmental and health experts across state agencies and University of California campuses held a webinar Wednesday morning to discuss what we know (and don’t know) about WUI fires, and how research-backed solutions can mitigate their effects.

Susan Hubbard, the associate laboratory director for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said that fires from the past few years have revealed the need for research on all fronts.

“Wildfire is, in essence, an indivisible challenge,” Hubbard said. “That means that it can’t be tackled by any single technology or approach, any single discipline or any single organization.”

Building resilient forests

Forest management does not mean preventing fires at all costs. We actually need more fires in our forests, called prescribed fires, to prevent the catastrophic blazes the state has seen, said Jessica Morse, deputy secretary for California Natural Resources Agency’s Forest Resources Management.

Fires do have their benefits in forest ecology: for example, they can help geminate seeds and clear out dead vegetation. The recent violent fires go beyond nature’s routine clearance, and are a result of anti-fire forest management approaches, Morse said.

“What we’ve been seeing in fire-suppressed forests is that they’re too dense. The fire goes into the tree canopy and it actually kills everything, rather than just weeding out weaker species and weaker trees, and it burns deep and hot and devastates the watershed, too,” Morse said.

One main goal for the state’s forest management is reducing these fuel loads to their natural intensity, so that when a fire does come through, they burn at a natural, controlled rate. Morse said that less fuel means less heat intensity, and fewer embers that fly off into communities.

Fuel breaks, which are gaps of land in forests that have minimal vegetation, are one of the strategies Morse suggests implementing, especially around roadsides. 30 to 60 percent of vegetation can be cleared between a row of trees to lower heat intensity, and it gives first responders a change to make their way into a fire easier.

“We saw in Paradise, an 8-mile-long fuel break that arrested the flank of the Camp Fire and saved the town of Stirling City,” Morse said. “We’ve seen these in action over and over last summer, emergency fuel breaks that had been put in just saved lives and got people out of really dynamic fires.”

Prescribed fires have already played a role in protecting WUI areas in places like Florida, which sometimes burns more than 2 million acres annually, according to Lenya Quinn-Davidson from UC Agriculture & Natural Resources.

“If any of you have traveled in Florida, or maybe some of you have even burned in Florida, you’re often right near homes, you’re seeing smoke right behind the grocery store, in the back 40 on private property,” Quinn-Davidson said. “Prescribed fire is part of the culture there, and it’s really integrated in and amongst human habitation, so it’s a great example and somewhere we should really be looking to understand the role of prescribed fire.”

There are some roadblocks, however, and fuel reduction isn’t the only solution to fire management, she said. The first steps involve getting more community members trained, strategic projects planned out and adequate equipment supplies, along with greater relief funds and liability protections.

“If we invest in people and build capacity, the acres will follow,” she said.

Community hardening

Creating “defensible spaces” and “hardening homes” are two buzzword tactics that circled Wednesday’s discussion, and with good reason: a recent Cal Fire damage inspection revealed that 93 percent of all structures that catch fire will be completely destroyed, and 70 percent of those structures are homes.

“It goes without saying, and we already knew this, that we want to prevent structures from igniting in the first place. That’s the goal, because once they ignite, the chances of limiting the damage become very minimal,” said Steve Hawks, staff chief of the Wildfire Planning & Engineering Division for Cal Fire.

Cutting back vegetation and burnable fuels on private property is one way to make a defensible space, along with a few home adjustments like adding weather stripping around the garage door or covering attic vents with fire-resistant mesh panels.

Materials used to build a structure also makes a difference. Structures built after the 2008 California Building Code Chapter 7A, designed for standards for buildings in high-risk fire areas, are less likely to be destroyed, Hawks said.

One of the greatest challenges in hardening communities is retrofitting the older structures that aren’t meeting these standards, which might require expensive renovations like roof or window replacements. The state currently plans to allocate funds for homeowners in WUI areas effective January 2022 in its Home Hardening Program.

Researchers admit that the full extent of structure-to-structure fire spread in WUI areas and standard test methods based on realistic exposure are still unknown.

“We know that home hardening actions work, but we need to the science to help us determine additional home hardening actions, because home hardening can be very costly,” Hawks said. “Wherever we can determine good mitigation strategies that lower the cost of implementation will help us out with the hundreds of thousands of structures that are out there that need retrofitting.”

Landscape scale strategies

Broad data patterns on climate change, frequency of fires or dry vegetation do not tell the whole story on California’s wildfire problems, according to Max Moritz, statewide wildfire specialist at the UC Cooperative Extension. People and the changes they’ve made to the landscape matter, too.

“That’s because we have done a lot of things to our landscape at finer scales,” Moritz said. “Look at the power line infrastructure. We’ve got road networks, we’ve got housing developments at different densities across the landscape.”

Moritz, with the help of other researchers and Cal Fire, created a map that shows which areas need fuel treatments and other preparations the most.

Probability patterns have the potential to act as guidance in future housing developments to limit growth in WUI areas. Traditionally, development begins in urbanized areas until it eventually sprawls out into less dense parts of the landscapes, and this increases fire probabilities, Moritz said.

“Our development drives our exposure and the hazard,” Moritz said.

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