Behind the scenes at 'Real Housewives'

Playwright and actor Molly Bell and Center REPertory Artistic Director Michael Butler will offer an up-close look -- with a "backstage perspective" -- of their newest production "The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek: The Musical" Wednesday, April 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Walnut Creek Library, 1644 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek.

Registration for this free Live! From the Library event is required; go to the Library Foundation's website (www.WCLibrary.org) to reserve a seat.

"Inspired by one of America's favorite (and perhaps despised) reality series, 'The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek: The Musical' channels all the craziness and catfights that -- for better or worse -- keep audiences tuning in for more," Butler said in a news release

Molly Bell's first musical was "Becoming Britney, which she co-wrote with Daya Curley. It premiered at The New York International Fringe Festival in 2008. Bell also was named best actress at the festival. In addition to performing around the country in musical theater, Bell is also a director and choreographer with more than 30 musicals and plays to her credit.

Outside of the theater, Bell is a creative consultant for both large and small businesses including Netflix and eBay, and created Charitable Fabulosity/Divas For Life, a concert series that raises money for individuals and families battling cancer.

Annual creek cleanup scheduled May 10


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Help remove trash and improve wildlife habitat in downtown creeks at the annual Friends of the Creeks cleanup, taking place Saturday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Wear old sneakers, bring gloves and plan to get wet. Meet at the Civic Park gazebo; free continental breakfast will be served at 8:45 a.m. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For waivers and additional information, visit www.FriendsoftheCreeks.org.

Auxiliary holds its annual fundraiser

Since 1993 Buena Vista Auxiliary of Assistance League of Diablo Valley members have raised more than $1.4 million to help more than 4,000 students through the Buena Vista Tutorial Program, an early-intervention literacy program for elementary school children in Mt. Diablo and Walnut Creek school districts.

Local children reading below grade level are provided with a customized curriculum and a credentialed teacher as tutor. The children receive 16 hourlong tutoring sessions; at "graduation," the students are given the gift of new books at their improved reading level.

All of this is provided at no cost to either the school or the families, thanks to the auxiliary. Ninety-seven percent of participating children show significant improvement in reading skills, according to the group.

Auxiliary members recently celebrated the organization's 25th year at the annual "A Toast to Tutoring" wine tasting and dinner auction on March 14.

For more information go to www.diablovalley.assistanceleague.org

Conference to focus on Palestine/Israel conflict

The San Francisco Bay Area Sabeel Conference "Voices for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land" will take place today and Saturday, March 21-22 at the Christ the King Catholic Church, 199 Brandon Road (at Gregory Lane) in Pleasant Hill.

The conference, which begins at noon today, is an opportunity to hear from and talk with Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular leaders, scholars and activists about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinan tensions.

The keynote speaker is Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, senior minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., and National President of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice. Other speakers include Palestinian authors Susan Abulhawa and Omar Barghouti, Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, Ambassador Ed Peck, Col. Ann Wright, Dr. Lonnie Bristow and Professor Clayborn Carson. The conference will also feature several workshops.

The conference is co-hosted by Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill, and by Northern California Friends of Sabeel, and is co-sponsored by Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center. For more details, contact Kate Doherty 925-682-2486 or John Erickson 510-542-4629. Registration and conference schedule information can be found at www.fosna.org

Workshop Saturday for first-time homebuyers

A First Time Homebuyers Workshop will be held Saturday, March 22 at the Walnut Creek Community Center, 1375 Civic Drive from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Topics covered will include "Home Ownership and Its Implications," "Latest Real Estate Market Trends;" the Walnut Creek First Time Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program; and the HOA Dues Assistance Program. lenders will be on hand to answer questions.

The workshop is being presented by the Asian Real Estate Association of America Greater East Bay Chapter, Contra Costa Association of America and the City of Walnut Creek. Admission is free; contact Ellen Osmundson at 925-890-4276 or email ellen.osmundson@gmail.com for more information.

Eldercare agency celebrates 25 years

Eldercare Services is celebrating 25 years in business in Walnut Creek this year. Founder Linda Fodrini-Johnson saw a need for geriatric care management in 1989 and sought to provide care for families and advocate for older adults by founding Eldercare Services in the kitchen of her home, according to a news release.

Now the agency in Walnut Creek staffs more than 250 people, 85 percent are women.

Eldercare Services, the Bay Area leader in Care Management and Home Care is the largest Bay Area agency of its kind, recently became accredited by the Joint Commission, according to the release. Of the hundreds of agencies now in the Bay Area, Eldercare Services is one of only two who are accredited by the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, according to the release.

"We are honored to have served thousands of Bay Area clients and their families with the expertise and collaborative knowledge of our Care Management and Home Care teams," said Fodrini-Johnson in a release. "We profoundly celebrate our meaningful work and are grateful for the lives we touch daily."

To celebrate the 25-years a private, invitation-only celebration will be held at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum this month.

CERT training registration now open

Registration is under way for Walnut Creek's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT.) basic training, to be held April 9 through May 31. CERT. teaches everyday people how to safely and effectively respond to the needs of the community in the critical hours following a disaster. CERT. graduates are sworn in as volunteer Disaster Service Workers for the City of Walnut Creek.

In the event of an earthquake or other disaster, CERTS gather at predesignated staging areas and organize teams to search the neighborhoods. These trained volunteers are the "eyes and ears" for first responders, gathering critical information for the city's Emergency Operations Center and helping those in need.

Training topics include disaster preparedness, how to shut off utilities and use a fire extinguisher, light search and rescue techniques, disaster First Aid, radio communications, care of displaced pets and how to manage a CERT. team using the Incident Command System.

Classes will be held Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 9 through May 21, with a final class drill the morning of Saturday, May 31. There is a $25 class fee. Registration information is available at www.walnut-creek.org/cert or by calling 925-256-3556.

-- Compiled by Elisabeth Nardi