El Cerrito man wanted in gold heist surrenders

An El Cerrito man suspected of taking part in a $1 million heist of historic gold from the Siskiyou County Courthouse last year has surrendered, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.

David Dean Johnson, 49, surrendered to police on Monday and is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, the agency said in a news release.

A second man suspected in the theft, 51-year-old Scott Wayne Bailey of El Sobrante, remains on the loose, according to Siskiyou officials.

Detectives searched the addresses of the two men in El Cerrito and El Sobrante last week. Both Johnson and Bailey were wanted on $1 million warrant after being identified from courthouse surveillance video, officials said.

Authorities said the two men stole $1.26 million worth of gold and other items from a display case in the courthouse lobby in Yreka during a robbery on Jan. 31, 2012. Yreka was once a bustling Gold Rush town. The Siskiyou County District Attorney's Office and Siskiyou County Superior Court issued the arrest warrants last month.

"We are glad that Mr. Johnson chose to surrender, and we are hopeful that with one of the primary suspects in custody that we can develop additional information that will help us bring this major crime to a successful conclusion," Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said. "Although we still have a lot of work to do in this case, Mr. Johnson's arrest is a welcome development."

A $50,000 reward is being offered for the identification, arrest and conviction of the suspects. Anyone with information is urged to contact Det. Yves Pike at 530-842-8354 or the county's 24-hour dispatch number at 530-841-2900.

Solar installation set at Community Center

Parking will be restricted at the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane, when the city starts work building carports that will hold solar panel installations.

"During construction of carports to hold the solar panels, the majority of the parking lot at the Community Center will be closed," the city noted in an announcement released Tuesday. "Only disabled parking and limited 15-minute temporary parking will be available."

In addition, the driveway access to Portola Avenue "will not be available during the first phase of this project."

The carports, the first phase of the project, are expected to take about 10 working days to install. Parking will then be reopened as feasible.

"Alternative parking will be available along Moeser Lane and Pomona Avenue as well as in the Contra Costa Civic Theater parking lot on Pomona Avenue during nonperformance hours," the city advises.

Installation of solar panels by Real Goods Solar is expected to last through May 17 and "will not interrupt classes, events and other center services."

The solar installation at the Community Center is part of an overall project that will put panels at various city buildings that will provide enough energy to offset 28 percent of the city's electricity use.

"The energy savings, along with rebates from the California Solar Initiative, are expected to provide more annual cost savings than will be required to service project debt," according to the city.

Earth Week walking outing along Cerrito Creek

Friends of Five Creeks President Susan Schwartz will lead an easy stroll at 3 p.m. April 14 along Cerrito Creek, "where masses of big, dramatic cow parsnip should be in bloom."

The outing is part of the group's collaboration with Transition Albany for Albany Earth Week.

Meet at Creekside Park at the south end of Santa Clara Avenue El Cerrito, next to Albany Hill.

Agatha Christie tale on stage at Albany High

The Albany Theater Ensemble student production for the season will be "And Then There Were None," taken from a novel by Agatha Christie.

Performances are at 8 p.m. April 5 and 6, and 5 p.m. April 7 at the school, 603 Key Route Blvd.

Krys Swan and Cordy Driussi direct a cast that includes Noah Blankinship, Cordy Driussi, Autumn Matherly, Eric Naiff, Christina Reyes, Oscar Rodriguez, Calum Ruxton, Ethan Salzman, Michael Singer and Leo Torrez.

Rec. Department takes over adult classes

Classes for adults that were previously offered by the Albany Adult School are now being offered by the city's Recreation and Community Services Department, which has put a schedule of offerings online at www.albanyca.org. Registration can also be done online. Most classes start at the end of March or beginning of April.

Bargains, food, fun at senior center

The Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Ave., will hold a White Elephant and Polish Dog Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27.

The center will have bargains on all sorts of household items, artwork, crafts, jewelry, books and toys, not to mention the all-important polish dogs and free entertainment all day.

Details: 510-524-9122.

-- Chris Treadway