City council candidate filing period opens

The period to file nomination papers to run for El Cerrito City Council in the Nov. 4 election is now open, with the deadline to submit forms set at 4 p.m. Aug. 8. Two seats will be up for election.

Nomination papers and a candidate's packet are available from the city clerk's office at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave.

Candidates must be 18 years old and a registered voter residing in El Cerrito.

Each nomination paper must be signed by at least 20 and no more than 30 persons registered to vote in El Cerrito.

Candidates are also required to file a Statement of Economic Interests when filing papers and may also prepare a statement of no more than 250 words describing education and qualifications.

There is a $275 fee due at the time papers are filed.

"Appointments to obtain the Nomination Papers and Candidate's Packet are highly recommended to ensure ample time to thoroughly review the filing requirements and answer any questions." For more details contact City Clerk Cheryl Morse at 510-215-4305.

Banjo master Bill Evans in Albany program

Hometown banjo wizard Bill Evans is the featured guest at the next @theCenter program at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., from 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 25. Admission to "Bill Evans: Banjo in America," a journey through more than 250 years of American music, is $10.


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Their description: "Nine banjos, no waiting in this special family friendly concert event with Bill Evans. Tracing the banjo from its West African roots to the New World, Bill performs musical examples from the 1700's to the present day on a variety of vintage instruments, ranging from an African ekonting to a mid-19th century minstrel banjo, a modern bluegrass banjo and even an electric banjo."

The @theCenter series will have live music, movies, demonstrations, lectures and other events.

Compost distribution event in Albany

A giveaway of free compost for Albany residents will be held from 10 a.m. to noon July 19 at the Buchanan Street entrance to Golden Gate Fields.

Households showing proof of residence (driver's license or Waste Management bill) at the north parking lot of GGF will be given two bags of WM EarthCare Homegrown Compost while supplies last. Details: GreenAlbany@albanyca.org or 510-528-5710.

Next Bike About Town is ready to roll

The next Bike About Town family riding event sets out at 6:30 p.m. July 18 at Wheels of Justice, 1554 Solano Ave.

The ride, which takes a different route each time, will be preceded by a quick safety review (bring and wear your helmet).

During the ride, organizers will "highlight some of the proposed bike lanes around town and will emphasize bike road rules along the way. Stay for the raffle prizes and local discounts to Solano Avenue businesses."

The monthly rides will continue on Aug. 15 and Sept. 19.

Landscapes to be featured in art exhibit

The next art exhibit at the Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., will be Mystery of Vision: Landscapes by East Bay Artist Herk Schusteff, opens with a reception with the artist from 1 to 3 p.m. July 27 and runs through Sept. 28.

Some 30 paintings will be on display by Schusteff, a Bay Area artist for more than 30 years who has also been caring for abandoned herd horses in the El Sobrante hills for more than a decade.

To learn more about the artist visit herkart.com.

Workshops will examine city's housing element

El Cerrito is holding a pair of workshops to discuss updates to the housing element of the city's general plan.

Sessions will be held 10 a.m. to noon July 19 at the Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane; and 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave.

Sate law requires jurisdictions in the nine-county Bay Area to update their housing elements based on an eight-year planning period that begins in 2015. Cities are mandated to have a plan to provide their "share of the state's housing needs for people at all income levels."

El Cerrito will "review the existing housing element and will revise the document to reflect current conditions, city policies, and methods to meet the housing requirements mandated by the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development."

For details and updates, visit el-cerrito.org/index.aspx?nid=900 or contact Housing Program Manager Hilde Myall at 510-215-4358.

Families invited to Safety Palooza event

Safety Palooza, the free annual open house at the Albany Police Department, 1000 San Pablo Ave., is set for 1 to 4 p.m. July 27. The outreach event is a chance for adults and children alike to take part in fun and educational activities and get to know the department, its personnel and services.

The event will feature a 25-foot-high rock climbing wall; face painting; raffle prizes and surprises; the chance to try hands-on duty belts, training weapons, shields and other equipment; a live car window smash demonstration; a MADD crashed car and remote control police cars.

At the event, registration will be held for block party events for National Night Out on Aug. 5.

-- Chris Treadway

City set to begin bag ban enforcement

Enforcement of El Cerrito's ordinance banning single-use bags and food ware began this month. The ordinance, intended to reduce waste and litter, was approved last year and took effect Jan. 1, but there has been a six-month grace period to allow businesses time to comply with the new requirements.

The city has been conducting outreach efforts to educate businesses about the ordinance, which prohibits the distribution of single-use bags at retail establishments, and sets a minimum charge for paper bags. Food providers are prohibited from serving prepared food in expanded polystyrene foam food ware.

According to the city, "Field observations to date indicate that most businesses are complying with the ordinances, though some are not."

Businesses with questions can direct them to green@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us or 510-215-4350, or visit www.el-cerrito.org/bagsandfoam for more details.

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. 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/