Project set to start on Ohlone Greenway

Construction is set to start this week in El Cerrito on the Ohlone Greenway Natural Area and Rain Garden project along the BART path between the Albany border and Fairmount Avenue, with completion expected in late August.

The project, funded by a $900,000 grant from the California Natural Resources Agency, "will create a multiuse rain garden at Fairmount Avenue and the Ohlone Greenway to treat stormwater runoff, informal play/exploration and gathering areas, restored riparian and native vegetation throughout the project area, and new wayfinding and interpretive signage," according to the city.

The project area is about 2.5 acres along the greenway, and will include a new stairway leading to El Cerrito Plaza, subject to agreement with the shopping center's owners.

The greenway segment will remain open during construction, but pedestrian and bicycle traffic at the entrance from Fairmont Avenue will be rerouted to the western edge of the path and a portion of the southern sidewalk along Fairmount Avenue will be closed to pedestrians for up to two weeks.

Learn more about the project at www.el-cerrito.org/ohlonegreenwayraingarden.

Free environmental film screening


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A free screening of "Symphony of the Soil" (www.symphonyofthesoil.com) followed by a discussion with the film maker Deborah Koons Garcia, will be held at 10 a.m. June 28 at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito, 10070 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito.

The documentary, presented by the city's Environmental Quality Committee, "explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world's most highly esteemed soil scientists, farmers, and activists, this film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story."

For more details call 510-215-4361 or visit www.el-cerrito.org/newgreen.

Contra Costa Sheriff warns of phone scam

Authorities are warning the public about a man pretending to be from the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office who has been calling residents and trying to scam them out of money.

Several residents on Monday reported receiving phone calls from the scammer, the sheriff's office said Monday. The caller, who claims to be with the sheriff's office, tells residents they have an outstanding traffic violation or warrant for their arrest, have failed to appear to jury duty or for a court case, and if they do not pay fines and fees they will be arrested.

The caller then instructs residents to pay over the phone with a reloadable prepaid card and gives out phone numbers belonging to the sheriff's office, authorities said.

The sheriff's office does not collect fines or fees through reloadable prepaid cards. Anyone who receives such a call should hang up, and contact the local law enforcement agency to report the incident, the sheriff's office said.

Meeting on middle school name proposal

The final community meeting to get input on plans to rename Portola Middle School for Fred J. Korematsu, the late Japanese American civil rights activist, is at 7 p.m. July 1 at Stege Elementary, 4949 Cypress Ave. in Richmond.

Public encouraged to be part of Relay for Life

Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society's fundraising vehicle for cancer research and education, will come to several West Contra Costa County cities this summer.

Teams of volunteers walk or run for 24 hours around a track or pathway, in shifts, to raise donations from sponsors.

Relay for Life has been held in more than 20 countries and has raised more than $40 million since it started in 1985, according to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who is urging people to support the effort by joining a relay or sponsoring a participant or team.

"My mother died of breast cancer the year I was elected to the board of supervisors, so I have a personal connection to all of those touched by the disease," Gioia said in a news release.

Relay for Life events in West Contra Costa include:

El Cerrito: 10 a.m. July 26, Cerrito Vista Park, 950 Pomona Ave.

Pinole: 9 a.m. Aug. 9, Fernandez Park, 595 Tennent Ave.

To sign up for Relay for Life, visit the organizations's web site at http://www.relayforlife.org/

San Pablo Avenue EIR open for comment

The draft environmental report for the city's San Pablo Avenue Specific Plan has been released and available for review and public comment. The deadline to submit comments is 4 p.m. July 18.

The plan area is along San Pablo from Baxter Creek Gateway Park at the north to the Albany-El Cerrito border at the south and includes Central Avenue from the BART tracks to Interstate 80.

The EIR is available online at www.el-cerrito.org/spaSP. Printed copies area available at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave.; Richmond City Hall, 450 Civic Center Plaza; and the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave.

Planning Commission meetings to hear public comments will be held in July and the commission will meet in September to consider sending the plan to the City Council for approval, which is expected to be in the fall.

-- David DeBolt, Tom Lochner and Chris Treadway