Pearl Harbor beacon lighting site moved

Expected ice and snow has forced a Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony on Saturday to be moved from the Mount Diablo summit into Concord. The restored mountaintop beacon still will shine Saturday night.

The 50th annual Pearl Harbor ceremony will start at 3:45 p.m. Saturday in the Oak Room at the library at the Cal State East Bay campus in Concord, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road.

Predicted snow and ice on the upper mountain likely will make travel to the summit hazardous, said Beryl Anderson, a spokeswoman for Save Mount Diablo, a co-sponsor of the event.

Pearl Harbor survivors won't personally flip on the beacon switch this time, but instead will relay a message by radio to a state park employee to turn on the beacon about 4:45 p.m.

Beacon improvements will make the beam more visible, say volunteers who spent four months on its restoration.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff


BART eyes expanded youth fare discount

BART will look at expanding to teens its youth fare discount, a move that would put the train system in line with how other transit agencies charge young people.

Today, only children 12 and younger qualify for BART's substantial 62.5 percent discount, while AC Transit and other agencies extend the perk through age 17. Preliminary staff estimates show that adding youths ages 13 to 17 would cost the district between $2.3 million and $4.6 million a year, depending on how many teens take advantage of it.

The agency will also examine whether riders who transfer to or from other agencies should collect a higher discount; it is 25 cents today.

But the nine-member elected BART board on Thursday rejected further analysis of other changes, such as a hike in the base fare from $1.85 to $2 or boosting the senior discount from 62.5 percent to 75 percent.

A teen fare reduction proposal could come back to the BART board for a vote as early as next summer, staff said.

-- Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Staff


Three teens arrested in alleged park rape

Three teenage boys have been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting two girls last week after getting them drunk at Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, authorities said Thursday.

The alleged assaults occurred sometime on the evening of Nov. 29 when the three boys and two girls were in a picnic area in Alvarado Park off McBryde Avenue, said Lt. Jon King of East Bay Regional Parks Police.

The suspects -- one 15-year-old and two 17-year-olds -- supplied enough alcohol to the girls for them to pass out, authorities said. The girls, ages 14 and 17, woke up the next day and realized they had been sexually assaulted, police said. They notified police and sought medical treatment, King said.

The suspects were arrested Wednesday and booked at juvenile hall in Martinez. Their names are not being released because they are juveniles. The three suspects and the two girls are acquaintances, King said, and attend high schools in Richmond.

-- David DeBolt, Staff


Las Positas College names new president

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District trustees have named Dr. Barry A. Russell as the sixth president of Las Positas College.

Russell has signed a contract with the district that extends through June 2016. He will make an annual starting salary of $198,000.

Russell served previously as vice chancellor of academic affairs in the office of the chancellor of the California Community Colleges in Sacramento. In that job, he focused on academic planning, support programs and degree and certificate review for the state's 112 community colleges.

Russell earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, and received the Distinguished Graduate of the Community College Leadership Program award from his alma mater in 2012.

-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff

North Richmond

Warm coats needed for elementary kids

As the community bundled up during this week's cold snap, a call has gone out for donations of warm coats for needy students at Verde Elementary School.

The annual collection is hosted by county Supervisor John Gioia, whose office says about 200 more new coats are needed for students at all grade levels.

Checks or coats can be dropped off or mailed by Dec. 13 at Gioia's district office at 11780 San Pablo Ave., Suite D, El Cerrito, CA 94530.

Checks should be made payable to the nonprofit Neighborhood House of North Richmond c/o 2013 Verde Toy and Coat Drive.

Coats should be unwrapped and new, and all-season jackets are preferred to thick winter coats. The coats will be distributed at the school's annual Christmas party.

-- Chris Treadway, Staff


Church hosting free Christmas concert

The community is invited to a free program of "Classics and Christmas Music" at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hope Lutheran Church, 2830 May Road.

A 16-piece orchestra of local musicians will perform "an eclectic presentation of Christmas music and classics," including such Christmas selections as "The Nutcracker," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."

The program will close with a Christmas carol "sing-and-play-along."

The church is a member congregation of the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (, and while admission is free, any donations will go to GRIP for its services to the homeless and needy.

-- Chris Treadway, Staff