'Shrouded' wind farm project moves forward
A wind turbine project slated for the Altamont Pass has cleared a major hurdle in an effort to test whether a new "shrouded" windmill design will prove less lethal to birds.
The three-member East County Board of Zoning Adjustments on Thursday unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Ogin Inc. to build the first phase of 40 shrouded turbines in the Altamont Wind Resource Area east of Livermore, to gauge the impacts on four raptor species over the course of at least a year.
The project would replace 73 existing windmills with the shrouded turbines, which have two concentric covers around the blades to make them less accessible to approaching birds and bats.
The plan has the support of the California Audubon Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department and the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.
-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff
Man buying ice cream gets meth in change
A man buying a $3 chocolate treat from an ice cream truck got an extra something with his change -- a baggie of methamphetamine, authorities said.
It could have been an innocent mistake, according to police, but the ice cream man was arrested, and prosecutors will ultimately decide if he should be charged.
The 30-year-old Brentwood man told police he took a break from working on his pickup truck about 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 200 block of Mountain View Drive to cool off with some ice cream.
When he handed the suspect $20, a dime-bag size baggie of meth was tucked in his change.
After the man said he didn't want the drug, the suspect replied he didn't know how the baggie ended up in his truck and asked the man to throw it away, police said.
The man kept the bag and called police.
Officers arrested 62-year-old Kelly Brown of Oakley on suspicion of possession and transportation of methamphetamine, both felonies. He was booked at County Jail in Martinez.
Brentwood police Lt. Doug Silva said they have no reports of similar incidents involving Brown.
"It's very possible he could have accepted this from someone else," Silva said.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Police seize 530 pot plants from house
Police seized hundreds of pot plants after responding to a burglary call at an Antioch home Wednesday night, authorities said.
The report of a burglary at a home in the 4500 block of Horseshoe Circle came in at 7:40 p.m., Sgt. Anthony Morefield said. When officers arrived, several people ran from the home. A 16-year-old boy was caught nearby with a backpack stuffed with marijuana, police said. He was arrested on multiple charges.
Investigators later searched the home and seized about 530 pot plants and marijuana cultivation equipment, Morefield said.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Guard recruiters indicted in scam
Eight California National Guard members have been indicted on a charge of falsely claiming recruits in exchange for recruitment bonuses, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The alleged fraud was carried out by current and former recruiting assistants who together received more than $200,000 in bonuses, according to Thursday's indictment.
The recruiters were based in Mountain View, Elk Grove, Chico, Fresno and San Diego. They received $1,000 when someone enlisted and another $1,000 when that person went to basic training. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud.
-- Karina Ioffee, Staff
EAST CONTRA COSTA
Volunteers sought for Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is looking for volunteer drivers to help deliver free meals to East Contra Costa seniors.
There are 16 available routes in Bay Point, Pittsburg and Antioch, Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A time commitment of two to three hours a week for a minimum of six months is required.
Volunteers can choose which day they want to drive based on their availability. The group also needs substitute drivers.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Carol Louisell, director of community engagement, at 925-954-8736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Eve Mitchell, Staff
Iron Horse Trail subject of program
Speakers will talk about the creation of the popular Iron Horse Regional Trail in the 1980s on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave.
This is the second Saturday talk associated with the museum's current exhibit: "Connecting Parks to People, celebrating 80 years of the East Bay Regional Park District." The exhibit runs through June 8.
Speakers Bick Hooper of the Right of Way Trail Advocates; Mary Lou Oliver; Beverly Lane, a regional parks director; and Dave Hudson, chairman of Friends of the Iron Horse Trail in the 1990s, will discuss the creation of the trail that now covers 32 miles from Concord to Pleasanton.
Admission is $5 for families, $3 for adults, $2 for students and $1 for children. For details, visit www.museumsrv.org.
-- Joyce Tsai, Staff