CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, has announced the passage of efforts he authored to examine the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on workers, the environment and small businesses and to support students and their families. These provisions were included as part of the second Fiscal Year 2021 minibus (H.R. 7617), which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 217-to-197.
“As coronavirus continues to ravage our communities, we have a responsibility to understand its impacts and respond accordingly. With millions more working from home and parents grappling with how best to support their children as the school year approaches, these efforts are more important now than ever before,” said DeSaulnier.
Specifically, an amendment authored by DeSaulnier would fund a study at the Department of Labor to examine the effects telecommuting has had on workers, employers, transportation emissions and child care, among other things.
The measure for students, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pennsylvania, would increase funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) grant program by $1 million. The program helps states and school districts promote family involvement in students’ education and will be particularly beneficial for families who have been harmed by the changing landscape of education during the pandemic. DeSaulnier was instrumental in the program’s creation, and has helped secure funding for it since.
— U.S. Rep. DeSaulnier’s office
Council places Measure Q extension on November ballot
The Concord City Council has voted unanimously to place a local revenue extension measure for voter consideration on the November 2020 ballot. If enacted by voters, the measure would extend the city’s existing, voter-approved Measure Q local funding at a one-cent rate to maintain fiscal stability and continue addressing priorities identified by the public.
After conducting community outreach and engagement in 2019, the city continued to gather community feedback in April — amid the pandemic — to determine residents’ priorities. Together, more than 1,200 residents responded, identifying the following key services as top priorities to address:
- supporting local businesses and residents through recovery from the COVID-19 crisis;
- maintaining 911 emergency response times;
- enhancing city street and pothole repair;
- preparing for and responding to natural disasters and health emergencies;
- and maintaining gang prevention and crime investigation services.
Independent public opinion research, conducted by Godbe Research, indicated that as much as 71% of respondents would support a simple-majority requirement extension that, if enacted, would generate local funds to continue to address essential quality-of-life, health-and-safety and preparedness services as cities around the nation contend with the impacts of COVID-19.
If enacted, all funding from the measure would continue to be subject to independent annual financial audits, public spending reports and an independent citizens’ oversight committee. The related staff report is online at bayareane.ws/39MjOAt.
— city of Concord
Community Foundation announces more grant awards
The Pleasant Hill Community Foundation has changed its Community Grant Awards application process this year in response to the challenging environment of COVID-19. The foundation, which funds nonprofit and public organizations that provide educational, recreational and cultural programming, continued to accept grant applications on an ongoing basis to be more responsive to the needs of the organizations serving the residents of Pleasant Hill.
In the first month, the foundation provided grants to Choices in Aging, Rainbow Community Center, Bay Area Bike Project and Diablo Valley Foundation for the Aging. In June, it funded the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, 4th of July Commission, Contra Costa Humane Society and the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District, which is still providing meals to seniors. In July the foundation gave awards to Cancer Support Community and Monument Crisis Center. It also awarded Distinguished Service Awards to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, White Pony Express and Meals on Wheels Diablo Region.
You can donate to Pleasant Hill organizations on the foundation’s website at phcommunityfoundation.org/make-a-donation. The grant application can be downloaded at phcommunityfoundation.org/grants-scholarships. Email questions about the foundation or its community grant awards info@PHCommunityFoundation.org.
— Pleasant Hill Community Foundation
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region hires new finance chief
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region is pleased to welcome Nancy Sorensen to their team as finance director. Sorenson has 30 years of financial management experience and brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization. She has previously served as interim finance director for Pix System LLC, Financial Reporting Manager for CSAA Insurance Group, and as a financial consultant and business analyst for numerous nonprofits.
She is a certified public accountant with a degree from the University of California and has completed post-graduate accounting classes at Golden State University. Sorenson specializes in accountant management, financial accounting and reporting, budgeting, internal controls and process improvement, and financial analysis. For more information, visit mowdiabloregion.org.
— Meals on Wheels Diablo Region
Peace and Justice Center’s membership meeting Aug. 8
On Aug. 8th at 1 p.m., the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center will host their annual membership meeting via Zoom video conference. This meeting is an opportunity for members to hear updates from the center, provide valuable feedback and suggestions for topics to cover in the coming year, connect with other members and find new ways to get involved.
The meeting is open to all, and center officials encourage attendance from any community members potentially interested in joining. To register for the meeting, visit tinyurl.com/peacecentermembers online. Please call the Center at 925-933-7850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries. For more details, visit ourpeacecenter.org online.
— Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center
Library group stops taking book donations temporarily
The group Friends of the Brentwood Library is asking people to hold off on donating used books at this time as the Second Story Book Shop is closed.
“In these times when everyone is home and anxious to clean bookshelves, closets and garages and remove unwanted items, we know you really want to bring books to the library,” said Kathy Mount, the group’s president.
However, as the library is only open for front door and online services at this time and staffing is limited and, above all, volunteers are not allowed in the library to work as usual, the group requests that people to hold off on any book donations until the library fully reopens. Once the library opens the group will start a reservation list for individuals who wish to donate books to the Friends Second Story Book Shop. Please call Charlotte Allison at 915-513-9414 to get your name added to the list or if you have other questions.
— Friends of the Brentwood Library
Performing Academy takes its productions outdoors
If you’ve been to downtown Lafayette during the last three weeks, you may have heard singing coming from the Lamorinda Performing Academy parking lot. A stable group of 12 students wearing face shields have had the opportunity to work with local composer Denver Casado and present three of his musicals from Beat by Beat Press. Students have been training in acting, singing and dancing as well as building their own sets and costumes while maintaining social distance. Camps have been led by Rena Wilson, executive director and a former performer as “Snow White” in San Francisco’s Beach Blanket Babylon.
Due to current health restrictions, rehearsals and performances have been taking place in the parking lot Performing Academy shares with Lamorinda Music! This new venue has proven to be fun and has given students an opportunity to perform for an audience. To keep the crowd small, these performances are only open to family members and press. For more details, go online to performingacademy.com/in-person-summer-programs-2020. For questions, please contact Wilson at email@example.com or 408-540-4373.
— Lamorinda Performing Academy
California Symphony announces updated fall schedule
The California Symphony, led by Music Director Donato Cabrera, has announced a revised program schedule for its 2020–21 season, which will expand public access to music while adhering to current state COVID-19 safety guidelines. In lieu of the previously scheduled live concerts in September and November, California Symphony will now present four free virtual concerts with donor support and a newly awarded grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Out of 846 nonprofits that received an National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act grant, California Symphony is the only nonprofit in Contra Costa County to receive this funding and is among only 2% of orchestras funded by this grant nationwide.
Each hour-long presentation will feature fresh performances as well as conversations with Maestro Cabrera. The concert series, called Second Saturdays @ California Symphony, will run from September through December with performances at 7 p.m Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12. PST. Patrons can tune in via Walnut Creek’s local public access TV channel or on YouTube.
Programming for the four virtual concerts will be revealed live at 1 p.m. Aug. 19 on California Symphony’s Facebook Page at facebook.com/californiasymphony. Details about presentations offered in the second half of the 2020–21 season will be announced at a later date. The programming originally slated for 2020–21 has been postponed to the 2021–22 season.
— California Symphony
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