News Digest | September 18, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - September 18, 2009

News Digest


Save Mount Diablo announced Friday that it is purchasing the 165-acre Viera-North Peak parcel for $975,000 and for future addition to Mt. Diablo State Park.

"We're moving quickly in spite of the State's budget crisis, proposed temporary closure of 100 state parks, and bond freeze," said Executive Director Ron Brown.

The property is on the slopes of Diablo's North Peak at 3,557 feet, east of Clayton, and is one of two highest elevation private properties remaining on Mount Diablo, which is 3,849 feet. It shares half of its 2.5-mile border with Mt. Diablo State Park. It is also a hot spot for biodiversity with as many as 50 rare plant species expected or recorded in the past, in addition to a number of rare animal species.

Save Mount Diablo made its first formal offer to acquire the property in 1986, without success. Owned by a longtime ranching family, the (Azevedo)-Vieras, the property was placed on the market in 2007 after family matriarch Lucy Viera died in 2002. Recently the Viera estate accepted Save Mount Diablo's offer of $975,000. Due diligence has been completed, a down payment of $175,000 has been made, escrow closed on Friday, Sept. 4, and Save Mount Diablo has until March 4 to raise the remaining $800,000.


The annual Eugene O'Neill Festival takes place next week, Sept. 24-27, with plays, lectures and tours of the O'Neill Commemorative on Front Street and the Tao House.

The festival kicks off with "O'Neill 101," an overview of the playwright's life and his impact on the American theater, led by St. Mary's College emeritus professor Dan Cawthon, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Danville Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

"The Designated Mourner" by Wallace Shawn will be performed in the Old Barn at Tao House theater Sept. 25-27. Self-guided tours of Tao House will be held throughout the Saturday, Sept. 26, and walking tours of downtown Danville will take place that morning.

A panel discussion at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Town Meeting Hall will include a one-act play, "Always Gene." Also Ken Burns' PBS film, "the National Parks: America's Best Idea," will be aired at 4 p.m. that same day in the Mt. Diablo Room of the Danville Library, 400 Front St.

For more information, go to or call 820-1818.


Business owners had a rough time Tuesday afternoon in downtown Danville, following a sizable power outage. A total of 253 customers were out of power during the peak of the outage, according to PG&E's Tamara Sarkissian.

Sarkissian said the outage started earlier in the afternoon when equipment near the intersection of Hartz Avenue and San Ramon Valley Boulevard failed. Reports say power fluctuated more than once earlier in the day before the mid-afternoon outage occurred.

Customers from the southern end of Alamo to around Prospect Ave in the downtown area were reporting outages.

Business owners reported that power was restored shortly after 4:30 p.m.


An Abraham Lincoln traveling exhibit will come to Danville in April to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, but residents can get a preview with a lecture next week on "Lincoln at 200 - In Fact Rather than Fiction." Dr. Gerald S. Henig, author and professor emeritus at Cal State East Bay will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Danville Community Center, 420 Front St.

The seasoned lecturer will talk about the legends of our 16th president: Was he genuinely interested in the welfare of the African American? Was he an effective military commander? Was he too soft on the defeated South? By focusing on Lincoln as great emancipator, commander in chief, political leader, constitutionalist, architect of reconstruction and as an "uncommon" common man, Henig will attempt to separate fact from fiction.

Danville resident Greg Yonko was one of the winners in the Charity Home Raffle to benefit APF. The grand prize is a luxury home in Marin County but also a secondary drawing awarded $55,900 in amounts of $100 to $10,000. Yonko won $10,000.

Tickets cost $100 each year for the charity home drawing, which began July 14 and runs through Oct. 14.

Founded in 2000, APF provides financial literacy, voter registration, youth scholarships and training for independent living skills. APF volunteers mentor at-risk youth, foster and urban youth between the ages of 12 and 24, and adults.