BART Transit Village development update

The long-awaited draft environmental impact report for the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village should be available for public review by March, according to city officials who spoke during a Tuesday special daylong City Council meeting.

This report, years in the making, will measure all the impacts of the nearly 600 apartment-unit project. The transit village would also bring 22,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as new parking.

In December, city planners said the report would be ready in February. Councilwoman Kristina Lawson questioned Tuesday why it has taken so long to get a draft EIR produced.

Sandra Meyer, the community development director, said the developer BRE had gone back and forth about building the new parking garage for the project in phase one or two. They finally settled on building the whole garage in the first phase, as the City Council had pushed them to do. Until that decision was made, the environmental report could not be finished, she said.

The project has continued to move forward, most recently with hearings at the city's design review commission. The soonest the project could be considered by the City Council for a decision would be late June.

Library foundation hosts poetry contest

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Walnut Creek Library Foundation's poetry contest will center this year around "Freedom."

Students at Walnut Creek schools are invited to enter the contest, now in its fourth year. The contest is free and all participants will receive a poetry contestant certificate. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in four grade level categories: K-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Finalists will be judged by students in the Saint Mary's College Master of Fine Arts program. Students are invited to reflect on the theme "Freedom" and submit their poem by March 9.

The contest winners will read their poems at a poetry celebration and award ceremony 11 a.m. Saturday, April 21. Selected poems may be published on the Walnut Creek Library Foundation website.

For contest entry information and rules go to www.WCLibrary.org. The poetry contest and event are part of the Library Foundation's 5th annual Poetry Live! program. This year Camille Dungy will be the featured poet.

The Live! From The Library program series features public lectures and other cultural and literary events. The Walnut Creek Library is located at 1644 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek.

'State of the City' luncheon set for Jan. 31

It's time to hear the State of the City from Walnut Creek's new and first-time Mayor Bob Simmons.

The annual State of the City address event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31 at the Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 N. Main St.

The event is a luncheon presented by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau in association with the city. The cost is $45 per person; reservations are nonrefundable.

Unlike previous years, the city will not videotape the live event this year. Instead, the city is putting together a program and will give the same content of the speech to air on WCTV.

To attend the event go to www.walnut-creek.com and click on "programs and events."

Insurance group to hold chef competition

Civil Service Employees Insurance Group, headquartered in Walnut Creek, is partnering with KCBS Radio to host the "Blazing Hot Celebrity Chef Competition" benefiting firefighter charities from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Lafitte Restaurant in San Francisco.

Three celebrity chefs will face off against one another, with the help of three firefighters, who will work as sous chefs. The chefs are Russell Jackson of Lafitte; Dominique Crenn, owner chef of Michelin star-awarded Atelier Crenn; and Jennifer Biesty, owner chef of Scala's Bistro.

Judges include the president and CEO of the insurance group and the fire chief of Vallejo.

All proceeds generated from the event will be donated to two California firefighter charities, the California Fire Foundation and the Fire Family Foundation.

Los Angeles Firemen's Credit Union and Firefighter Insurance Services have agreed to each donate $1,000 and CSE Insurance will donate $10,000.

For more event details go to www.cseinsurance.com/firefighterevent.

Movie premiere and talk on Tibet

After meeting with the Dalai Lama and asking how best to help Tibetans, Marcy Adamski of Moraga has fulfilled a lifelong quest. She will discuss her journeys and show a film at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Owl Room in Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek.

Adamski was told by the Dalai Lama to document the stories of elders living in exile before they die, and that's exactly what she has done.

Adamski and four teams of interviewers, translators and videographers visited Southern India to meet with elders, whose ages ranged from 60 to 95. She has interviewed 85 Tibetan elders, who tell stories of hardship and persecution. She will share those stories at the event in Walnut Creek and hold the premiere of her film "With My Own Eyes."

There will be a potluck dinner before the talk; the cost is $20. For more information, call 925-933-7850 or go to the www.mtdpc.org

Rossmoor fitness supervisor to speak to group

The next meeting of the Peripheral Neuropathy Support Group is scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 27 in the Las Trampas Room of the Hillside Clubhouse in Rossmoor.

The speaker will be Masha Henzel, a Rossmoor fitness center supervisor. She will make suggestions and demonstrate exercises to benefit those with peripheral neuropathy. Henzel graduated from the University of California in Santa Barbara and attended the UC Davis's School of Medicine. She has worked as a sports health fitness specialists and medical exercise specialist.

Peripheral neuropathy is disorder of the feet and hand nerves. It can cause mobility and balance difficulties, and pain including burning sensations and electrical pulses.

The Walnut Creek/Rossmoor Support Group is part of the Pacific Chapter of the Neuropathy Association. For more information call Kay V. Lanway 925-519-0591 or Carolyn Cash 925-254-4390.

Walnut Creek based companies merge

KelleyAmerit Fleet Services, Inc. and Kelley Fleet Services, LLC announced last week that the two have formally merged to create the KelleyAmerit Fleet Services.

Based in Walnut Creek, the company is now the largest provider "of comprehensive, customizable fleet management solutions for large-scale public and private vehicle fleets," according to a news release.

Uniting the two companies allows greater cost savings, stability, greater financial strength and better service, according to the release.

City has open commission seats

The city is looking for a few good commissioners -- applications are being accepted for vacancies on the Arts Commission and Design Review Commission.

All five seats on the Arts Commission are open as the city works to re-purpose its arts commission to focus more on public art. Two appointments will be made for a term of two years and three appointments will be made for four-year terms. Two members should have experience as a public artist or a public art professional or have familiarity with and knowledge of public art, and do not need to be residents of the city. Though, a minimum of three members must be residents of the city.

There is one opening on the Design Review Commission. The appointment will be for a four-year term. Registered architects are encouraged to apply and need not be residents of the city, but all other applicants must be residents.

Applications are available at www.walnut-creek.org; at the City Clerk's Office, 1666 N. Main St.; by phone at 925-943-5818 and via e-mail at skelly@walnut-creek.org.

Completed applications and the supplemental questionnaires must be submitted to the city clerk's office no later than 5 p.m. Jan. 31. The City Council will interview selected applicants the evening of Feb. 16.

-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi