Pleasant Hill

Antioch man arrested in home invasion

An Antioch man has been arrested in connection with a Sunday night home-invasion robbery in Pleasant Hill, police said.

David Allen Vancil, 40, is being held in lieu of $4.4 million bail at County Jail in Martinez, police said, after he was arrested on suspicion of first degree robbery, first degree burglary, kidnapping for robbery, false imprisonment, elder abuse and auto theft.

Vancil is the man police believe locked two women, ages 53 and 84, in a room at their home in the 900 block of Santa Lucia Drive on Sunday night. Police said Vancil stole jewelry and electronics before fleeing in a silver 2013 Volkswagen Passat owned by one of the women.

According to Pleasant Hill police Lt. Dan Connelly, detectives received information that a man in Antioch may have had some of the stolen items from one of the women.

Antioch police were notified and able to find Vancil riding in the passenger seat of a car -- not the victim's -- near Auto Center Drive. In a search of the car, police said they found property that had been stolen from the home. Both Vancil and the driver of the car, who has not been identified, were arrested.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff

Bay Area

New signs will beam info to BART riders

BART turned on its first electronic news and advertising sign Tuesday at the Montgomery station, beginning a test program to determine whether more signs should be placed at other stations.

The 82-inch LCD sign is on a wall at the Montgomery station across from the passenger platform. The digital sign has no sound, but features a rotating mix of news, weather, commercials and BART consumer messages.

The train system will survey riders' opinions of the sign this spring before the transit board decides in May whether to authorize six screens apiece at the heavily used Embarcadero, Montgomery and Powell Street stations, all in San Francisco.

BART estimates it could make $1 million a year off a digital sign program at its stations.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff

Pinole

Man, 24, killed in Tara Hills neighborhood

A 24-year-old Pinole man was shot dead in Tara Hills on Monday, authorities said.

The man, identified as Nicholas Callen, was shot at a home in the 2600 block of Cornelius Drive about 2:50 p.m. in the unincorporated area near Pinole, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's deputies performed CPR on Callen before firefighters and medics arrived but were unable to revive him.

-- David DeBolt, Staff

Berkeley

Lightning strike levels tree, scatters debris

Cleanup continued Tuesday morning after a lightning strike blasted a redwood tree in North Berkeley, damaging two homes and several cars.

The 1:22 p.m. lightning strike at the corner of Holly Street and Buena Avenue caused the 80-foot tree to explode and sent pieces of redwood flying as far as a block away, fire officials said.

No one was injured, but two homes suffered roof damage and several others had electric problems after debris from the tree hit wires, said Berkeley Fire Deputy Chief Avery Webb. One home was red-tagged and several cars were damaged, including a van that had its roof crushed.

The Berkeley Fire Department is continuing to inspect the damaged homes for new hazards.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff

PLEASANT HILL

Mt. Diablo district reschedules meeting

A Mt. Diablo school district meeting for Pleasant Hill parents to provide input into the district's 2014-15 spending plan will take place Thursday, instead of May 20 as originally scheduled.

According to the state's new education funding formula, districts must seek parent input before preparing spending plans that show how money will be spent. Those plans must be complete by July 1.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the College Park High School library, 201 Viking Drive. More information is available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. 4000 or by visiting www.mdusd.org.

Similar meetings will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mt. Diablo High in Concord and at 6:30 p.m. April 10 at Riverview Middle School in Bay Point.

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

KNIGHTSEN

Museum opening day event is Saturday

The East Contra Costa Historical Society museum will open for the season with a celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the restored Eden Plains Schoolhouse, 3890 Sellers Ave.

Volunteers will host tours of the museum and have activities for families. The event is the kickoff for the season, which runs April through October when the museum is open to the public on Saturdays and the third Sunday of each month.

New to the museum is a rebuilt omnibus, a Studebaker horse-drawn carriage, that carried visitors from Byron's train station to the Byron Hot Springs.

Old-fashioned family games will be offered as will foods such as homemade ice cream and lemonade. For more information, call 925-634-8651.

-- Judith Prieve, Staff

LIVERMORE

Autistic author to speak this month

Dr. Temple Grandin, the best-selling author of books on animal behavior and autism and one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, will speak at Las Positas College on April 24.

Grandin, who is autistic, is an associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her life has been the subject of an award-winning HBO biopic and numerous television specials. She is also author of "The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum," "Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism," and "Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals."

Grandin's speech will be at 7 p.m. in the Mertes Center for the Arts, 3000 Campus Hill Drive. Admission is $20, $15 for students. Tickets may be bought at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/608499. There is a $2 campus parking fee.

For details, call Ernest Jones at 925-424-1217 or email ejones@laspositascollege.edu.

-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff