oakland

Design workshop set for Latham Square

The city is hosting a design forum for Latham Square, the hotly debated public plaza.

The forum will give residents a chance to offer input about design features such as lighting, seating, signage and the reuse of the downtown plaza's historic fountain.

Earlier this month, council members chose to scale back the public space at the triangular-shaped plaza where Telegraph Avenue flows into Broadway. Pedestrian and bicycle advocates had pushed for more public space.

The forum is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at AIA East Bay, 1405 Clay St. For more information, go to oaklandnet.com/Latham Square.

-- Matthew Artz, Staff

alameda county

Help available with income tax preparation

The county Social Services Agency is providing free evening and weekend tax preparation help for low- and moderate-income residents.

Volunteer income tax assistance preparers will be at the agency's offices in Hayward and Oakland from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through April 14.

The assistance is for individuals and households whose 2013 income was $52,000 or less; they also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and possibly other credits.

This is the 13th year the agency has provided the help.

"Last year, the program served over 1,600 tax filers and returned $2.4 million in total refunds to Alameda County residents," said Lori A. Cox, Social Services Agency director, in a news release.

The tax filing volunteers will be at the Thomas L. Berkley Self-Sufficiency Center, 2000 San Pablo Ave., Oakland; Enterprise Office, 8477 Enterprise Way, Oakland; and Eden Area Multi-Service Center, 24100 Amador St., Hayward.

-- Rebecca Parr, Staff

BERKELEY

UC Berkeley student sexually assaulted

A UC Berkeley female student was sexually assaulted at a campus housing unit in Albany over the weekend, police said.

Police responded to a hospital on Sunday to investigate a report of a sexual assault that occurred the previous night at Albany Village, according to university police.

The victim said she was invited to a bar by a male acquaintance, authorities said. Afterward, the man took the victim to an apartment at Albany Village and sexually assaulted her, police said.

The suspect has not been arrested. He is described as a Hispanic male, 40 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing approximately 170 pounds.

-- David DeBolt, Staff

HAYWARD

Energy-efficiency workshop Thursday

Information on how to save money on home energy bills will be shared at a workshop Thursday evening.

The workshop will have information on energy upgrades, such as adding insulation, replacing a furnace or replacing windows.

Local contractors will be available to answer questions, and finance options will be discussed. Rebates of up to $4,500 are available for home energy upgrades.

The free workshop is open to all Alameda County homeowners, who are encouraged to bring their PG&E bill to sign up for the Home Energy Analyzer.

The workshop is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Room 2A, Hayward City Hall, 777 B St. To register, go to HaywardEnergyWorkshop.eventbrite.com or call 510-891-6554.

The workshop is sponsored by Energy Upgrade California, a statewide energy-efficiency program.

-- Rebecca Parr, Staff

STANFORD

Gateses will speak at commencement

Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, founders and co-chairs of the Gates Foundation, have been selected to be the 2014 commencement speakers at Stanford University on June 15, the university announced Monday.

"Bill and Melinda Gates have taken on some of the planet's toughest challenges. This boldness is an ethos that we also embody at Stanford, and one we seek to instill in our graduates," Stanford President John Hennessy said in a news release.

The Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, is the world's largest private foundation. It is committed to easing the poverty, hunger and disease that prevent millions of people from realizing their full potential.

The Gateses are the latest in Stanford commencement's long line of stars in fields such as politics, business, entertainment and law.

In the past decade, speakers have included Apple CEO Steve Jobs, media personality Oprah Winfrey, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The baccalaureate ceremony will be held on the Main Quad, and the Class Day lecture will be held in Maples Pavilion, both on June 14.

Commencement will be held in the Stanford Stadium a day later.

-- Lisa M. Krieger, Staff