Danville 2013 Year in Review: Part II

Top Danville Express headlines from local government, crimes, courts, construction, schools and many other topics between July and December

2013 was another busy year in and around Danville. Here's a look back at last year's top headlines, from July to December.

Note: The list is organized by the dates on which the original Danville Express stories ran.


July 4: Downtown Danville streets closed as a result of flooding from a broken East Bay Municipal Utility District water main near the intersection of Hartz Avenue and Diablo Road.

July 5: The BART strike that snarled traffic throughout the Bay Area ended.

July 22: Improvements on the San Ramon Valley High tennis courts are finished, with two new courts open and the lights operational as part of a joint town, school district project.

July 31: The Design Review Board approved plans for a proposed project that would replace the deteriorating Danville Hotel property with a retail, business and living space.

July 31: Local activist group SOS-Danville filed a lawsuit challenging the town's approval of the SummerHill Homes development project.


Aug. 6: The under-14 680 Drivers girls water polo team, comprised of members from the San Ramon Valley, won the national Jr. Olympics title.

Aug. 7: Six new emergency personnel, dubbed the Tassajara Firehawks, took their oath of office and joined the San Ramon Valley Fire team.

Aug. 13: Town officials released Danville Connect, a new customer management system (CRM) and smartphone app, giving residents a central point of access for town information, concerns and inquiries.

Aug. 15: Lifelong Danville resident Matthew Moody and former Blackhawk resident Fred Lewis were killed in a plane crash southwest of Paradise on Aug. 13. Pilot Lewis, 54, and passenger Moody, 26, were surveying gas pipes for PG&E when the single-engine, two-seater scout plane went down.

Aug. 19: The trial began for ex-Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy Stephen Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, who was charged in connection with so-called "dirty DUI" arrests in Danville.

Aug. 20: Hutcheonite, a newly discovered mineral associated with the early solar system, was named for Danville resident and Lawrence Livermore meteorite researcher Ian Hutcheon.

Aug. 27: Robert Orlando, a 17-year-old senior at San Ramon Valley High, was killed when the vehicle he was riding in spun out of control and hit a tree on El Capitan Drive near Claridge Drive on Aug. 26.

Aug. 30: Diana Gregory died Aug. 27, more than a week after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while walking near Camino Tassajara and Tassajara Lane. Gregory was 53.


Sept. 4: A federal jury convicted ex-Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy Stephen Tanabe for aiding a former private investigator in arranging "dirty DUI" arrests in Danville. Tanabe was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of extortion.

Sept. 8: A grass fire ignited on the eastern side of Mount Diablo off Morgan Territory Road near Clayton, scorching hundreds of acres in its first day and prompting mandatory evacuations.

Sept. 12: Danville resident Jie Zhong, 37, was convicted in federal court of lying to obtain American citizenship.

Sept. 13: Crews fully contained the Morgan Fire, which charred roughly 3,100 acres in and around Mount Diablo State Park over the course of six days.

Sept. 16: Mount Diablo State Park opened to visitors for the first time since firefighters extinguish the Morgan Fire.

Sept. 23: The Crown, a popular British pub and restaurant in downtown Danville, closed its doors to Anglophiles and fish-and-chips lovers in August after more than 12 years in business.

Sept. 25: The Concours d'Elegance drew hundreds of car enthusiasts and raised money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation in Danville.

Sept. 27: Town officials announced that Castle Companies planned to tear down the deteriorating Danville Hotel Wild West structures in October. The demolition did not take place as scheduled.


Oct. 11: The Danville Express launched an updated version of its website, implementing changes designed to make the site more readable and its content more accessible.

Oct. 15: A 49-year-old Danville resident reportedly struck a couple crossing Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton. The female pedestrian died as a result of her injuries.

Oct. 16: Officials announced the plan to merge the Alamo Chamber of Commerce with the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce to create a unified chamber under the latter's name.

Oct. 22: BART management and two of its unions announced a tentative contract agreement, ending a four-day strike that again snarled traffic throughout the Bay Area.

Oct. 22: The Mount Diablo beacon was returned to its seat on the summit following an extensive restoration.

Oct. 26: Family, friends and community members gathered at Sycamore Valley Elementary School to remember Troy Pack, 10, and his younger sister Alana, 7, who were killed by an intoxicated driver a decade earlier.

Oct. 30: Monte Vista High School celebrated the grand opening of its new Workday student center, a two-story, 18,000-square-foot facility featuring a new library, student union, classrooms, study areas and café.


Nov. 7: Save Mount Diablo purchased the 1,080-acre Curry Canyon Ranch, between Danville and the Morgan Territory. It took the nonprofit three years to raise the $7.2 million needed to buy the land.

Nov. 11: Danville web designer Geoffrey Mapplebeck, 25, was killed in a head-on crash on Crow Canyon Road about a mile north of Norris Canyon Road the afternoon of Nov. 10.

Nov. 11: A Blackhawk couple sued their homeowner association and property management company, alleging the groups discriminate against families with children and ban kids from accessing common areas within the community.

Nov. 12: San Ramon Valley High science teacher Cindy Egan was named a 2014 California Teacher of the Year semifinalist.

Nov. 15: Danville police officers Kimberly Cogo and Jamie Williams received the Peace Officer Certificate of Commendation for Superior Effort for their actions during a medical emergency in September 2012.

Nov. 18: Danville was named the ninth-safest city (with a minimum population of 20,000) in the state, according to security-industry insider SafeWise.

Nov. 19: Hundreds converged on downtown Danville to help celebrate the centennial of the Village Theatre.

Nov. 20: Barry Taylor, the co-founder of the Taylor Family Foundation, died Nov. 16 of an apparent heart attack. He was 74.

Nov. 22: The Danville Express and the rest of the Embarcadero Media East Bay Division presented its Tri-Valley Heroes awards to eight outstanding individuals and groups. Among the honorees were Save Mount Diablo (environmental stewardship), Neil Gupta of Danville (innovation) and Blackhawk founder and developer Kenneth E. Behring (life achievement).

Nov. 27: Investigators determined a spark from a stray bullet hitting a rock led to the Sept. 8 fire that burned a swath across Mount Diablo, but the Contra Costa County DA's Office decided not to file criminal charges against the shooter.


Dec. 2: The 37th annual downtown holiday tree lighting saw record crowds, according to organizers' estimates.

Dec. 4: Robert Storer was named Danville mayor following a unanimous vote by the town council.

Dec. 6: Developers indicated they plan to demolish deteriorating Danville Hotel buildings early in the new year, according to town officials.

Dec. 11: The SRVUSD board approved a spending plan for funds earmarked for implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The unanimous vote followed a series of lengthy and contentious public meetings.

Dec. 11: Rachel Hurd was selected as SRVUSD board president.

Dec. 13: Roughly 200 people completed an online town survey about the upcoming Osage Station Park play area renovations, with many respondents lauding the current old-time theme but wanting a different water feature and other new amenities.

Dec. 18: SRVUSD officials signed off on an agreement to resolve issues raised during a federal investigation into complaints against the district's School Loop student information website and field trip access, as each pertains to special-education students.

Dec. 18: Danville garbage fees are expected to rise in 2014 after the town council directed the Contra Costa County Solid Waste Authority to increase trash and recycling service rates by about 3.7 percent for the average residential customer and about 3.3 percent for typical commercial pickup.

Dec. 20: Danville resident George Robert Lee III, 44, was charged with felony possession of child pornography following a month-long, multi-agency investigation that originated in Pleasant Hill.

Dec. 31: Dry weather and poor air quality hovered over the entire Bay Area throughout most of early winter. New Year's Eve marked the 23rd "Winter Spare the Air" day of the season.


Like this comment
Posted by local resident
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Jan 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

Thank you for the summary!

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