Assistant city manager to depart
Assistant City Manager Lorie Tinfow is leaving, likely to become city manager in Pacifica.
The Pacifica City Council will vote Monday on Tinfow's hiring.
Her last day with Walnut Creek is scheduled to be Friday, according to an email Tinfow sent City Council members and city staff.
Tinfow has been the assistant city manager since 2006, but had served Walnut Creek earlier as an assistant to city managers from 1996 to 2001. She also worked for the cities of Saratoga and Pleasanton.
In Walnut Creek, Tinfow was the point person for the $40 million library project, has been key in the city's economic development plans and oversees labor negotiations for the city's seven employee units.
Her resignation comes just a few months after Tinfow was one of many high-level employees called out in an independent investigation report for knowing earlier than originally thought about inappropriate conduct by a former Lesher Center employee. That former city employee, Jason Pedroza, pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges last week.
Tinfow is the fourth city employee to leave in the wake of the Pedroza scandal. City Attorney Bryan Wenter, Assistant City Attorney Katy Wisinski and Human Resources Director Sally Rice have all resigned in the past two months.
-- Elisabeth Nardi, Staff
Rally Saturday against U.S. strike on Syria
A rally to protest potential U.S. military involvement in Syria will be held 10 a.m. to noon today on Main Street and Mt. Diablo Boulevard in downtown Walnut Creek.
Sponsored by the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, the protest, named "No New War vs. Syria," is an attempt to influence local elected officials and to make residents' voices heard, according to a news release from the center. Congress is likely to begin voting next week on military involvement in Syria.
Center officials say civilians must be protected, the violence must end, and that chemical weapons should not be used, but also that U.S. military intervention in Syria is not the way to go.
For more information go to www.mtdpc.org.
-- Elisabeth Nardi, Staff
Sacramento man gives plea in stabbing
A Sacramento man has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in last month's fatal stabbing of an Ace Hardware employee in El Sobrante.
Prosecutors say Daymond Agnew, 34, stabbed 49-year-old Pinole resident Daniel Joseph Stone 17 times at Oliver's Ace Hardware on Aug. 4 after Agnew started spray-painting his face inside the store and Stone directed co-workers to call police.
Agnew entered his plea on Tuesday. He remains in jail in lieu of $1.3 million bail as he awaits a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 14.
-- Malaika Fraley, Staff
Applefest celebrates antique fruit varieties
The apple orchards of Ravenswood Historic Site will host a celebration of the juicy, delectable fruit during the 13th Annual Applefest! on Sunday.
From 1 to 3 p.m., Livermore Area Recreation and Park District Ranger Amy Wolitzer will take visitors on an orchard tour and lead a taste test of antique apple varieties unavailable in stores. Ravenswood docents will also lead tours of the historic buildings, beginning at 1:15 p.m.
Other activities include cider making and old-fashioned games. A $2 donation per person is requested to help support the program. The Ravenswood Historic Site is at 2647 Arroyo Road. For details, call 925-960-2400.
-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff
Northbound I-680 closures next week
Drivers that use northbound Interstate 680 in the wee hours of the morning may want to give themselves a few extra minutes to travel next week.
Full overnight closures are scheduled in the northbound direction at the Highway 242/Interstate 680 split from midnight to 5 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday morning and 1 to 7 a.m. Sunday morning, Sept. 15, according to Caltrans.
Contractors will be replacing slab on the freeway, Caltrans said.
Motorists will be detoured off Interstate 680 at the Monument Boulevard exit and down Contra Costa Boulevard to the Willow Pass Road onramp.
For more information, visit www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/ or call 510-286-4444.
-- Paul Burgarino, Staff
Ban on new downtown bars extended
The City Council has extended for six months a ban on new bars opening downtown while staff explore additional regulations.
In late July, the council approved a 45-day moratorium because of concerns about fights, arrests and public drunkenness linked to the city's drinking establishments.
Restaurants can open in downtown Martinez without going through a regulatory process, while bars require a use permit and a hearing.
But city staff believe the zoning ordinance does not define the terms "restaurant" and "bar" clearly enough to distinguish places that serve full meals from those that sell alcoholic beverages and offer limited food.
In addition to a tighter definition of a bar, the council may consider requiring a minimum distance between bars or prohibiting new bars in the downtown area or on a specific street.
-- Lisa P. White, Staff
Fire destroys garage by former restaurant
A one-alarm fire at an abandoned garage Friday morning does not appear to be suspicious, a battalion chief for the Contra Costa Fire District said.
The garage at 201 Parker Ave. was damaged, but crews prevented the fire from spreading to a building next door that used to house The Windmill Club restaurant and bar, Battalion Chief Bryan Craig said.
The building has been inhabited by homeless people at various times over the years, according to authorities, and people still gather near it. Authorities say nobody was in the vicinity of the building when crews arrived and that the cause of the fire appears to be accidental.
Fire crews were called to the building at 7:49 a.m. and controlled the blaze by 9:10 a.m., officials said.
Smoke was observed coming from the garage door, and flames were seen in the back of the garage, but personnel from four engine companies, one truck company and two command vehicles kept it from spreading.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Pool planning workshop Saturday
The last of four Ambrose pool community workshops will be held at 10 a.m. today in the dining room of the Ambrose Community Center, 3105 Willow Pass Road.
Plans are in the works to repair and reopen the pool, which was closed in 2009 and is more than six decades old.
At an earlier workshop held in July, Ambrose Recreation & Park District board members unveiled a proposal to divide the existing 33-yard-long pool with a wall to create a 25-yard-long pool for lap swimming and an 8-yard-long shallow pool that could be used by children and seniors and for swimming lessons.
Saturday's workshop will include an opportunity for park district officials to provide a progress report on those plans.
-- Eve Mitchell, Staff