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NO. 159

Community newsletter of the City of Walnut Creek

FALL 2012

Special report inside “A Community Connected: The 2012-14 Budget Story” illustrates how the City provides services on behalf of the community, and highlights some of the financial challenges we face going forward. You’ll find this special report inside the Nutshell.

Calling volunteers Community Service Day is set for Saturday, Oct. 6. Last year, more than 1,000 people gave a half day to work on one of 42 projects. This year, more than 50 projects are waiting for eager volunteers. A list of projects and sign-up information starts on Page 5.

City Hall counters to close on Fridays The following public counters will be closed on Fridays starting in September: Business License; Community Development (Planning and Building); Public Services (Engineering and Traffic); and non-emergency Police Services. The change reflects the impact of staff reductions over time and will give existing staff the ability to still provide excellent customer service Monday through Thursday while fulfilling other necessary duties on Fridays. More information, including exact start date, will be posted at City Hall and on our website.

11,703 and counting Naomi Rotramel of Davey Trees measures a tree as part of an inventory currently under way thanks to a grant from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Trees on public streets, in parks, and in the Open Space areas around ranger homes and picnic areas are among those being counted. The inventory notes the tree’s location, species, size, age and condition, as well as other factors. Having this information readily available will help the City proactively take care of its trees.

Need to feed the meter? Phone it in!


aying for parking at Walnut Creek’s meters used to mean searching for coins to feed the meter. Then, the City added a pay-bycredit card option. Now here comes Option 3: Pay by phone. The program is being tested at meters on Locust Street. Customers using the service can: • pay for parking from their phone • receive a text reminder when time is almost up • add time without returning to the meter (subject to time limits) To get started, download the app at In a Nutshell ◆ Fall 2012 or call the phone number posted on participating meters. There is no cost to the City for this service; however, customers pay a 25-cent per transaction fee to PayByPhone. While the service is new to Walnut Creek, it’s already in place in more than 30 cities in the United States, including Sacramento and San Francisco. Just look for the PayByPhone sticker on the side of a parking meter.

WCTV’s ‘Creek Currents’ wins state award Fall highlights (check cable listings for showtimes or go to

September 15 Live! Walnut Festival parade Experience this hometown parade from the comfort of your living room when Walnut Creek TV broadcasts lives from Main Street.

Veterans Day coverage Walnut Creek TV will film the Veterans Day ceremony to be aired on a regular basis throughout the fall. On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, watch special airings of Living History featuring Walnut Creek veterans.

September on ‘Creek Currents’


alnut Creek TV’s monthly magazine show “Creek Currents” received a first-place Star Award from the California chapter of the National Association of Television Officers and Advisors. “Creek Currents” features the people, places and programs that make Walnut Creek special. Hosted by Ruby Lopez and Brendan Moran, “Creek Currents” can be seen on Walnut Creek TV as well as on YouTube ( cityofwalnutcreek). Check local cable listings for airtimes. Photo at right: Creek Currents hosts Ruby Lopez and Brendan Moran with the STAR award.

Here’s what’s happening Saturday Walks with Mayor

Lose a Lawn/Get a Garden Sept. 29

The “Second Saturday Walks with the Mayor” wraps up this fall with walks on Sept. 8, Oct. 20 (note change from second to third Saturday) and Nov. 10. Join other community members for interesting walks to see Walnut Creek at “street level and feet pace.” Guides to each walk, along with instructions on where and when to meet, are available at or call 925-943-5895.

Learn how to replace your lawn with a beautiful water-wise landscape at this workshop on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Experts will instruct on design, irrigation and plants specific to the Diablo Valley climate. The class will be held at the Contra Costa Water District Center. $20 includes lunch. Call the Gardens at Heather Farm, 925-947-1678 or visit

Brendan checks out a piece of paradise - the Ruth Bancroft Garden - while Ruby checks out the always popular Vic Stewart’s restaurant.

Handbag display through Sept. 9

Public Meetings

On Saturday, Sept. 8 enjoy the annual Northgate High School March-A-Thon from 9 a.m. to noon. Walnut Creek’s only marching band will parade from Northgate High School to Quiet Place Drive, Springfield and Meander, and streets in between. To support the high school music program, taxdeductible donations are accepted at

City Council and all Commission meetings are televised live and available on demand.

Channel information Walnut Creek TV is on Comcast Channel 28 (incorporated WC only), Rossmoor 26, Astound Channel 29, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99. For streaming video and programs on demand, page 2

The Walnut Creek Historical Society presents “It’s in the Bag! - A Girl Can’t Have Too Many Purses”, a whimsical display of handbags over the years. The exhibit runs through September 9. The Museum is at 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road.

Northgate March-A-Thon Sept. 8

Walnut Festival news The Walnut Festival is celebrating its 75th year! The Twilight Parade will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. along Main Street from Mount Diablo Boulevard to Civic Drive. The Festival will be Thursday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 23 at Heather Farm Park. More information is available at

Shred Day at ARF on Oct. 6 Bring documents in need of shredding to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. - noon. For $5 a box, Shred Works Mobile Document Shredding will securely destroy documents in their shredding truck. All proceeds benefit ARF; no oversized boxes please. ARF is located at 2890 Mitchell Drive. Contact Kathleen Huls at 925-296-3118 or visit

Save Our Sports run Oct. 7 The United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation (UMDAF) “Save our Sports” 5k run will be Sunday, Oct. 7 at Newhall Park in Concord. In addition, there will be a 5k Fun Run/Walk and the a Kiddie Run. Proceeds help pay for high school athletics in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Visit

Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 As is tradition, the City invites the community to honor veterans at a ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. The Walnut Creek Concert Band will provide a musical tribute to the generous men and women who served our country. More details will be available on the City’s website later this fall.

Craft Fest at Bedford on Nov. 4 Bedford Gallery’s Craft Fest will be Sunday, Nov. 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the gallery. Fall 2012 ◆ In a Nutshell

An exhibition to ‘capture’ imagination


rtists have long looked to the natural world as a source book for creative projects and strategies. Captured: Specimens in Contemporary Art explores the ways in which contemporary artists have staged a dialogue between the arts, scientific exploration and organic materials. The works offer a glimpse into the impermanence and vitality of wildlife and the botanical world, encouraging us to question our assumptions about the curious world of unusual and unique creatures around us. This dynamic show runs from Sept. 6 Nov. 18. An opening reception will be Thursday, Sept. 6, 6 – 8 p.m. Tours are available for school classes and adult groups. Call 925-295-1423.

Jo Whaley “Smerinthus saliceti”

Seeing a show at the Lesher Center? Tickets to performances at the Lesher Center come with free entrance to the gallery that same day.

Calling all artists - juried show at Bedford


eaceable Kingdom: Animals, Real and Imagined is a juried show that is open to U.S. artists working in all media. Peaceable Kingdom invites artists to investigate our storied and rich relationship with the animal world. The deadline to submit work is Jan. 9, 2013. Entries must be submitted online using SlideRoom.

To find out more and to apply online, visit The jurors for this show are Stephanie Cannizzo, Associate Curator at BAM/PFA and Cathy Kimball, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be on view March 3 – May 19, 2013.

Kristen Taylor, Devil Mountain Chorus director, with the chorus at a Division contest.

Devil Mountain Chorus making beautiful music for all


entlemen of all ages wishing to harmonize in an active chorus are invited to join the Devil Mountain Chorus for their weekly rehearsal on Tuesday evenings at Trinity Lutheran Church Hall. The Chorus and director Kristen Taylor just attended the Northern California In a Nutshell ◆ Fall 2012

West Division Convention, and performed at Art on the Main and Broadway Plaza.Look for them at the Walnut Festival. For questions about joining the chorus or hiring them for functions, call Al Eames at 925-376-4916 or visit

War novelist to make exclusive West Coast visit War novelist Jeff Shaara will make an exclusive West Coast appearance in Walnut Creek on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the Lesher Center for the Arts as part of this year’s “One City One Book: Walnut Creek Reads.” Among his 12 novels, Jeff Shaara has written both a prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels, this year’s “Walnut Creek Reads” selection and the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Michael Shaara, Jeff’s father. The Killer Angels tells the story of the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg through the perspectives of commanders of both armies. It is considered by many to be the best Civil War novel ever written. Tickets to Jeff Shaara’s presentation are available at Lesher ticket offices, by calling 925-943-SHOW or by visiting Other “One City, One Book” events Three other community events will celebrate the book this fall. All will be held at the Walnut Creek Library and are free. Seating is limited; make reservations online at • “The Civil War in 3D” — Wednesday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. (3D photo demo) • “California and the Civil War” — Monday. Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m. • “Letters from the Storm: Gettysburg Correspondence” — Wednesday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m. “One City, One Book” discussions Three book discussions are slated. Book discussions are free to the public and do not require reservations. • Friday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m., Rossmoor Creekside Clubhouse (Rossmoor only) • Thursday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m., Walnut Creek Library • Monday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m., Ygnacio Valley Library For more information, visit or call 925-935-5395. Walnut Creek Reads is spearheaded by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation and the Contra Costa County Library. page 3

Shadelands Gateway Specific Plan Update Public meetings 4th Friday of each month, 6:30 p.m. City Hall An advisory committee tasked with creating a draft Specific Plan to guide future development of 25-acres owned by Safeway Stores, Inc. at the corner of Oak Grove and Ygnacio Valley Road is reviewing a variety of potential land uses. Over the past several months, the 11 members of the Shadelands Gateway Advisory Committee committee have reviewed technical reports, including a market demand study and a preliminary traffic assessment; and received public comments from City residents, including Woodlands and Northgate community members. Though a draft plan is still in the works, the advisory committee has considered allowing land uses such as Senior Housing, Retail (including a new 55,000 sq-ft Safeway store), Restaurants, Health Club, and Office/Medical within the Plan area, as well as dedicating several acres of land to public green spaces, such as a central green, pedestrian promenades, bicycle pathways, and a community garden. The Advisory Committee meets the fourth Wednesday of each month. For more information, visit, or contact Ethan Bindernagel at 925- 943-5899 ext. 2250 or

Assistance for home owners and buyers The City’s Home Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program offers grants of up to $10,000 to qualified homeowners for emergency home repairs, to address safety issues, and for accessibility improvements. Funds are limited. Call 925674-7886 for more information. ***** The Contra Costa Association of REALTORS®, in conjunction with the City, is offering a limited-time grant to help first-time homebuyers. The “HOA Helper Grant” provides $2,500 to cover initial homeowner association payments for successful applicants. To qualify, buyers must have closed escrow and been in contract with a licensed REALTOR® through the purchasing process. Contact Laura Simpson, Housing Division Manager, at 925-943-5899 ext. 2236. page 4

Disaster team training starts in September


esidents wanting to help their community in event of disaster are invited to take the upcoming Community Emergency Response CERT students Ahnna Brossy (right) and Kathy Zahner tend Team training. Classes to a “victim” during the June CERT graduation drill. will be Monday nights, agement plan and are sworn in as volunteer Sept. 10 - Oct. 15, plus a final drill on Disaster Service Workers upon completion Saturday, Oct. 27. There is a $25 fee. of training. In event of disaster, CERT graduates More information is available at work together to safely respond to the or email needs of the community. CERTs play a vital role in the City’s Emergency Man-

West Downtown Specific Plan workshop


veryone is invited to the first community workshop on the West Downtown Specific Plan, to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Parish Hall, 1924 Trinity Ave. The West Downtown Specific Plan is focused on exploring the potential for new homes and businesses between Mount Diablo Boulevard and the BART Station; West making easier pedestrian area and bicycle connections between the BART Station and

downtown; and preserving the AlmondShuey neighborhood. The purpose of the workshop is to present information about the area as it exists today, and to invite community members to share their vision for the area’s future. The long-term goal is to create a plan that the community is proud to support. For details, contact Andrew Smith at 925Downtown Specific Plan 943-5899 x2213 or, or visit the webpage at

AARP Tax-Aide seeking volunteers

Weigh in on waste plan

Contra Costa County AARP TaxAide is looking for volunteers to become members of a team providing free tax preparation for individuals of all ages. Volunteer positions include Tax Counselors who are trained by Tax-Aide and certified by IRS, and Client Facilitators who schedule appointments and assist clients at tax sites. Call LaVerne Gordon, District Coordinator, at 925-726-3199 for information.

The Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority, which manages the garbage and recycling services for Walnut Creek, is seeking community input as it develops new solid waste franchise agreements. There will be a Community Workshop at Walnut Creek City Hall, 1666 N. Main Street, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, to discuss current services and potential changes for the future. Questions? Call Ashley Louisiana at 925-906 -1801. Fall 2012 ◆ In a Nutshell

Give a half-day for the community, help a favorite cause With more than 50 projects to choose from, Community Service Day offers something for all ages, all interests, and all skill levels. For details on these projects, visit the Community Service Day webpage,

ANIMALS (PETS & WILDLIFE) ARF Giving Tree Ornaments Create wish-list ornaments for ARF's holiday giving tree. Ages 10+ Equestrian Center Beautification Paint fences and do general landscape clean-up work at the Walnut Creek Equestrian Center at Heather Farm. All ages. Late shift option available. Lindsay Wildlife Museum Garden Beautification & Storage Organization Spruce up the museum gardens and reorganize museum storage. Ages 8+ WC Open Space Foundation: Nest Boxes for Bluebirds & Wood Ducks Build nest boxes for installation in the open space and at Heather Farm Pond. Ages 12+

ARTS Civic Arts Education: Frog Sculpture Painting & Tiling Paint and tile the outdoor frog sculpture at the ShadelandsArts campus. Ages 16+ Civic Arts Education: Paint Darkrooms Re-paint four small darkrooms at Shadelands Arts Center. Ages 15+ Civic Arts Education: Paint Exhibit Panels Paint panels and pedestals used for arts education exhibits. Ages16+ Lesher Center Costume Shop Clean and organize our theater costumes. Ages 16 + In a Nutshell â—† Fall 2012

Digging debris in the Open Space during the 2011 Community Service Day.

Saturday October 6 7:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. 9 a.m.

Check-in & free pancake breakfast Heather Farm Community Center Meet at project site Work begins

New this year! Some projects offer afternoon shifts!

COMMUNITY RESOURCE GROUPS Cancer Support Community: Exterior Beautification Projects Volunteer carpenters needed to build planters and repair fencing. Adults only Cancer Support Community: Landscape Beautification Plant new landscaping for the center. Ages 16+

Creek Kids Care: Art Party for All Ages Join the Creek Kids and help create artwork for fundraising stationery, benefitting Fresh Start Walnut Creek. All ages

Turn to next page for more projects and registration details! page 5

Give a half-day for the community, help a favorite cause How to volunteer 1. Go to service to get detailed project information and the link to the registration system.

2. Use the online volunteer registration system to sign up. You can register as an individual or on behalf of a family or group. (Please, only one project!)


Mark your calendar for October 6 and build a better Walnut Creek!

The 2011 Community Service Food Drive brought in more than 4,000 pounds of food. How much can we gather this year?


Don’t have Internet access? Call the Community Service Day hotline: 925-256-3505.

Bayberry Pond Habitat Restoration (WC Open Space Fnd. & WC Kiwanis) Help rake up weeds to prepare for winter planting at Bayberry Pond in Lime Ridge Open Space. Ages 10+

AFTERNOON SHIFTS! The Ruth Bancroft Garden, the Equestrian Center, and Foothill Middle School projects offer morning and afternoon shifts.

COMMUNITY RESOURCE GROUPS Fresh Start Homeless Respite CenterBeautification Spruce up the windows and landscaping at the Fellowship House. All ages Meals on Wheels/Senior Outreach ServicesWindow Brightening Help us brighten the offices by cleaning windows, glass partitions, and blinds. All ages

GARDENS Gardens at Heather Farm: Heritage Garden Makeover Re-create this garden with new plants, mulch and flagstone. Ages 16+ page 6

Community Service Day is fun for all ages.

GARDENS Historical Society: ShadelandsRanch Garden Paths Help create footpaths in the Children’s Garden at the Shadelands Ranch. All ages Rossmoor Community Garden Fall Prep Help Rossmoor seniors with fall garden work. Ages 14+

Downtown Creek Mini-Clean-Up (Friends of the Creeks) Help clean up a downtown section of Las Trampas Creek near the California Boulevard bridge. Ages 12+ Howe Homestead Picnic Area Renovation Help update the picnic area with new trees, space for picnic tables, and other gardening tasks. All ages Lar Rieu Park Fall Clean-up Volunteers will spread mulch around trees in the park. All ages

Ruth Bancroft Garden: Staff Our Fall Festival! Help staff the 2nd Annual Fall Festival, and join in the fun! All ages Late shift option available.

Native Creek Plant Propagation (Gardens at Heather Farm & Friends of the Creeks) Plant seeds and cuttings for a creek habitat restoration project.Ages 12+

Senior Center Garden Planting Plant a new garden at the Senior Center at Civic Park. Ages 16+

Sugarloaf Creek Clean-up Clear overgrowth in a creek bed in the Sugarloaf Open Space. Ages 16+ Fall 2012 ◆ In a Nutshell


Thank you to our sponsors Lead Sponsor AAA Insurance Premier Sponsors Mechanics Bank Lions Clubs (Diablo Valley, Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, Ygnacio Valley)

Rossmoor volunteers cleaned the Saklan Burial Ground outside the Rossmoor gates.

Major Support Allied Waste Pacific Rim Recycling Peet’s Coffee PowerBar Scott Valley Bank

FOOD & EYEGLASS DRIVES Neighborhood Food Drive Support both the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and the Monument Crisis Center by collecting food in your neighborhood. During the week before Oct. 6, you will distribute food bags (provided by the Food Bank) to neighborhood homes. Then, on Oct. 6, you will collect the bags of food and bring them to Heather Farm Community Center. Rossmoor Rotary Food Drive Rossmoor residents can bring a bag of food to Rossmoor’s Gateway Clubhouse between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 6. Rossmoor Rotary will collect for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Lions Clubs Eyeglass Collection Bring used eyeglasses to Heather Farm Community Center on the morning of Community Service Day to donate to the Lions Clubs. The eyeglasses are refurbished and sent around the world to the needy. In a Nutshell ◆ Fall 2012

Major Sponsors Archer Norris Kaiser Permanente, Diablo Area John Muir Health Safeway Sports Basement

Walnut Creek TV host Brendan Moran chats with a young volunteer as she pulls weeds at the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF).

SCHOOLS All of our Walnut Creek public schools are sponsoring campus beautification projects involving gardening, clean-up and/or painting work. Elementary schools involved are Bancroft, Buena Vista, Indian Valley, Murwood, Parkmead, Valle Verde, Walnut Acres and Walnut Heights. Intermediate schools are Foothill which is sponsoring campus beautification and interior facelift projects - and Walnut Creek Intermediate. High schools are Las Lomas and Northgate.

Media Sponsors Contra Costa Times Walnut Creek Magazine

LIBRARIES If libraries are your passion, you can help out at one of our two public libraries — Walnut Creek (downtown) or Ygnacio Valley library — or at one of six school libraries: Buena Vista, Indian Valley, Murwood, Parkmead, Walnut Heights and Walnut Creek Intermediate.

Start the day with pancakes! Join us at Heather Farm Community Center for a Free Pancake Breakfast, courtesy of our local Lions Clubs. page 7

WC Action for Beauty Getting to know Walnut Creek’s new librarian Council introduces aroline Gick is the get free passes to new head museums, zoos and local People’s Choice Award librarian for Walnut attractions through Contra



or the first time, local community members are being invited to vote for their favorite local architectural design project. The Walnut Creek Action for Beauty Council has added a People’s Choice Award to its 2012 Community Awards. The Community Awards recognizes local projects that have improved the community through superior design. Last year’s honorees included Sasa Restaurant; John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek; the Robert I. Schroder Overcrossing (Treat Boulevard-Iron Horse Trail); and the Contra Costa Association of Realtors building. The list of nominees for the People’s Choice Award is available on the website of Walnut Creek Magazine ( Online voting is open through Monday, Oct. 1. The People’s Choice Award recipient will be announced at the Action for Beauty Council’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased by contacting Janet Abrams at 925-932-2746.

Creek’s libraries. She joined the Contra Costa Library system in 2003 and was most recently head librarian in Orinda. Since libraries are places to get information, we dropped in to welcome Caroline and ask a few questions. Q. You’ve been here a few months; what is Caroline Gick your impression of Walnut Creek’s libraries? Walnut Creek’s libraries are well loved and well used community centers. There are people (at the new library) working all day with their laptops, study group rooms being used for small meetings, and parents and children coming to programs. It’s a lively environment where people are doing whatever they want to do. Q. What is the biggest misconception about libraries? That we are all about books. We offer so much more! For instance, library card holders can

CITY COUNCIL Bob Simmons, Mayor* Kish Rajan, Mayor pro tem Gary Skrel Kristina Lawson Cindy Silva


Published quarterly and mailed to Walnut Creek residents and businesses Editor: Gayle Vassar Communications and Outreach Manager

We welcome your comments and questions Call 943-5895 or

To arrange for a presentation by Head Librarian Caroline Gick, call 925977.3340. For ‘Discover and Go’ passes to museum and other attractions, go to http:/ / or visit either of Walnut Creek’s libraries.

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES Lorie Tinfow, Director/Assistant City Manager COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Sandra Meyer, Director ARTS, RECREATION & COMMUNITY SERVICES Barry Gordon, Director POLICE Joel Bryden, Chief of Police PUBLIC SERVICES Heather Ballenger, Director

CITY MANAGER Ken Nordhoff CITY ATTORNEY Bryan Wenter CITY CLERK Suzie Martinez CITY TREASURER Ronald Cassano

* For appointment: Call 256-3504


Costa Library’s “Discover and Go” program. Our docent programs are phenomenal, and the Ygnacio Valley branch offers a lot of programs to engage the teens who go there after school. You don’t even have to come to the library — so much is available online. Q. Have you been here long enough to think about future goals for Walnut Creek’s libraries? My overriding goal is to bring new people into the library who have not been here before. We don’t always do a good job of telling our story. I would love to go out and talk to community groups about everything we have to offer.

1666 North Main Street Walnut Creek, CA 94596



For past issues, go online at Fall 2012 ◆ In a Nutshell

Profile for City of Walnut Creek

Nutshell Newsletter Fall 2012  

City of Walnut Creek's Fall 2012 newsletter

Nutshell Newsletter Fall 2012  

City of Walnut Creek's Fall 2012 newsletter