Lafayette

Council to discuss 'Fiscal Health Diagnostic'

The Lafayette City Council will discuss the city's overall economic health Tuesday night, with the aid of a new "fiscal health diagnostic" that analyzes 13 separate indicators related to cities' fiscal soundness.

In an e-mail, City Manager Steven Falk said Lafayette scores well ("green") on 11 of these categories, with "yellow" ratings on two others -- the city's recurring general fund operating deficits, and that the city budget's general fund reserves have been shrinking for each of the past several years.

The analysis of Lafayette's situation, Falk said, was performed by the city's newly hired financial services manager, Jennifer Wakeman. She will present her findings in more depth and detail at Tuesday night's City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center.

Moraga

Panetta to speak at Saint Mary's commencement

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will give the keynote address at the Saint Mary's College commencement May 24, the college announced Monday.

The Monterey native graduated in 1960 from Santa Clara University. He served as an Army officer, congressman and CIA director, among other roles, before he became defense secretary in 2011. He retired in 2013.

"Leon Panetta is an extraordinary public servant and a true American statesman," Saint Mary's President James Donahue said in the announcement. "His high regard for public service is inspiring and we are honored he will address this year's graduating class at Saint Mary's."

About 730 students are expected to graduate this year from the Catholic liberal arts college; it's the largest class in the school's history, according to Saint Mary's.

In the announcement, Panetta described the college as "a remarkable academic institution with a commitment to educating students dedicated to improving the lives of others in our society."

PG&E tree removals on hold for now

PG&E's "Pipeline Pathways" project to remove trees and structures along its gas transmission lines will not begin in Moraga until the utility has discussed the situation in more detail with local officials.

Tree removal in Moraga is tentatively scheduled for late summer. PG&E has yet to inform Moraga leaders of the specific locations, properties impacted, and the potential trees at risk of removal, but local officials have told the utility that both public and private trees along the Saint Mary's Road corridor need to be protected.

The $500 million Pipeline Pathways project is an initiative to clear obstructions from the utility's 6,750 miles of underground gas lines from Bakersfield to Eureka. PG&E says it needs to remove the trees, shrubs and structures on private and public property to ensure pipeline safety.

Campo student wins congressional art contest

A Campolindo High School student has won the 2014 11th District Congressional Art Contest.

U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) announced this week that Saarah Shah-Sletcha, a senior, won with her photograph "Flawless," which will be displayed in Washington, D.C. She will be flown, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, to Washington, D.C., to attend a national reception this summer for Congressional Art Contest winners from across the country. Her artwork will be displayed for a year in the Cannon Tunnel running between the U.S. Capitol and the Cannon House Office Building alongside pieces selected from each congressional district throughout the country.

A panel of local artists judged the 120 submitted pieces and chose Shah-Sletcha's work, a black and white photograph.

ORINDA

Orinda, Moraga police given defibrillators

The Rescue One Foundation and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District have presented the Moraga and Orinda police departments with donated automated external defibrillators, to be placed in police cars and available to help save lives. Each city received four defibrillators, each valued at about $2,000.

Sleepy Hollow residents prove themselves 'Firewise'

Orinda's Sleepy Hollow neighborhood has been recognized as a Firewise Communities/USA site by the national Firewise Communities program for its efforts to reduce the vulnerability of homes and landscapes to wildfire -- the first Contra Costa community so recognized.

The award was presented during a May 8 community meeting at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School in Orinda.

"We just don't want to think about wildfire burning homes in our neighborhood but we know it can happen here," said Deb Stephenson, Sleepy Hollow's Firewise community representative.

Police department sets up new email for tips

The police department has a new email address for anonymous and non-anonymous crime tips.

The department is accepting tips at orindatip@cityoforinda.org. Police are providing the service for nonemergency investigative information only, and say the line will not be used to generate radio calls or send police to reporting locations.

For more information, contact the police department at 925-254-6820.

-- Jennifer Modenessi and Sam Richards

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