Year in Review: Pleasanton 2018 | News | |


Year in Review: Pleasanton 2018

Looking back at the Weekly's top stories from the last year

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Hop aboard our balloon and let's look over the year that was for Pleasanton. Among the highlights was the new Castleridge Trailhead opening in March, giving new access to Pleasanton Ridge. (Photo by Chuck Deckert/Design with balloon by Kristin Brown)

Before stepping into the new year, let's reflect on what has happened in Pleasanton during the last 12 months. Below is a month-by-month recounting of some stories shared in these pages.

Wrestling with school crowding, and plans for a Costco in town made many headlines -- while other stories reflected the good life we enjoy in Pleasanton.

In this year of devastating fires throughout the state, we were thankfully able to contain our blazes before too much damage was done. BART struggled to accommodate its increasing demand while plans were made for the future, and we held elections for our City Council. Through it all, our young scholars and athletes continued to excel, as well as take their part in the world by packing food for the needy and demonstrating for gun reform.

Here's a look back on 2018:


* Pleasanton Unified School District sends survey to families as board members explore changing start times for classes.

* BART fares increase 2.7% over 2017. Minimum fare rises to $2 for adults; $1 for ages 5-18; and 75 cents for senior or disabled Clipper card users.

* City continues work to update the Downtown Specific Plan, fresh off the City Council's recent review of the task force's work to date. The discussion focused mainly on the early plan for redevelopment of the city's existing Civic Center site with new private and public uses in the years or decades ahead -- if the city services' complex is eventually relocated to the nearby Bernal property.

* Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who was acquitted of murder for the fatal 2015 shooting of Pleasanton native Kate Steinle was sentenced to three years in state prison, but received credit for full time served, for his conviction on a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

* Alameda Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) meets in Dublin to discuss a report evaluating Alameda County cities' ability to serve current and future residents. The report recommends that Pleasanton and Livermore incorporate overlapping spheres of influence for the quarry area between the two cities.

* Pleasanton school trustees hold a special Saturday meeting to address school overcrowding and direct district staff to explore options that include adding a K-5 program to an existing middle school.

* Edwin Hawkins, a four-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer best known for the 1969 hit "Oh Happy Day," died at his home in Pleasanton on Jan. 15 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

* Crews begin replacing a decades-old, cast-iron water main on the north end of Main Street.

* San Jose Earthquakes sign Pleasanton defender Jacob Akanyirige, 16, to a "homegrown player" contract, the eighth-youngest to ever sign a pro contract in league history.

* Council again declares support for the one-lane configuration along a stretch of Owens Drive near the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART station that drew the ire of some residents and commuters.

* Foothill High School football head coach Matt Sweeney steps down after 31 years of coaching on the gridiron.

* Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund closes another successful drive, raising $79,192 to be split among 12 local nonprofits.

* Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare enlists two germzapping robots -- Violet and Ray -- to destroy bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores at the hospital.

* Pleasanton opens two new lighted courts at the Tennis and Community Park, increasing the number to 12, which fulfills a decades-long vision.

* Yarenit Liliana Malihan, the wife of an Alameda County Sheriff's deputy and a Pleasanton resident with previous intoxication-fueled run-ins with law enforcement, was sentenced to seven years in state prison after accepting a plea agreement for causing the fatal DUI crash that killed a toddler on Interstate 680 in San Ramon in 2016.

* The city's community services director, Susan Andrade-Wax, announces her retirement -- a move that leads to the Community Services and Library Services departments merging with library director Heidi Murphy at the helm.


* Eva Schloss, Holocaust survivor and stepsister of Anne Frank, speaks at the Bankhead Theater, sponsored by the Chabad of the Tri-Valley.

* Zone 7 Water Agency completes a bank stabilization project costing $4.55 million in the 7800 block of Foothill Road where homes were threatened by significant erosion last winter.

* City Council votes 4-0 to move forward on construction of a Sunflower Hill residential community for adults with special needs, supporting a $2.25 million loan from the city's lower income housing fund.

* The first court appearance, a routine check-in, is made in the lawsuit challenging environmental clearances for the city's new Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone (JDEDZ), which paves the way for Costco and two hotels.

* Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne to be fined $100 for low-level violation after acknowledging he failed to formally inform state regulators about selling his Costco stock in 2016. Fair Political Practices Commission investigators found no evidence of a conflict of interest resulting from the Costco stock sale as well as no evidence of intent to conceal on the mayor's part.

* Lauren April Davis, 26, of Livermore is arrested on charges of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated stemming from the late-night rollover crash just outside Pleasanton on Thanksgiving eve that killed Village High student Violet Campbell and Alexys Garcia of Livermore.

* Foothill teacher Greg Haubner is hired as new Falcons head football coach, succeeding recently retired Matt Sweeney.

* Amador Valley High boys win East Bay Athletic League basketball title after defeating Dublin, 69-68, in the playoff finals.

* Mayor Thorne talks housing, transportation, downtown, local economy and more during his annual State of the City address.

* Dublin Vice Mayor Don Biddle, who was in his 10th year on the Dublin City Council and served over 12 years on local school boards before that, dies Feb. 21 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

* Drivers soon won't be allowed to turn from Dublin Canyon Road onto Laurel Creek Drive after the City Council votes in favor of the move after hearing complaints from residents in The Preserve about speeding commuters cutting through their neighborhood.

* The Pleasanton Police Department says goodbye to one of its longest-tenured members, Capt. Jeff Bretzing, upon his retirement.

* Dean's Café, a Pleasanton icon and favorite spot for omelets at 620 Main St. since the 1950s, shutters for good after being red-tagged for closure by the health department.


* Pleasanton resident Beena Ammanath, global president of AI, data and innovation at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is one of 13 inducted this year into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame.

* Former Alameda County Sheriff Charles C. "Charley" Plummer dies at his home in Hayward surrounded by close family on March 4.

* Pleasanton teens join others around the country in a 17-minute walkout, chanting "Enough is enough" to peacefully support gun reform and commemorate the victims of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.

* Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA) begins rolling out 18 new buses on Wheels routes throughout the Tri-Valley, with a modernized design complementary to that of LAVTA's Rapid buses.

* Pleasanton's Milt Feldman, now approaching 94, revisits the fraught events of his World War II experience in a trailer for a documentary being created by the Heritage Film Project.

* Leaders cut ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the new Castleridge Trailhead at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.

* The Weekly spotlights the 10th anniversary of the grisly murders of Castlewood couple Ernest "Ernie" Scherer Jr. and Charlene Abendroth -- later found to have been committed by their son, Ernest III, better known as "Skip."

* A discussion on the school district's Facilities Master Plan dominates a two-and-a-half-hour board meeting, about projects to be covered by $270 million bond money approved by the voters in November 2016.

* The Zone 7 Water Agency Board of Directors unanimously approves three contracts worth just over $44 million with outside firms for the ozone filtration project at the Del Valle Water Treatment Plant.

* Pleasanton Planning Commission endorses design plans for renovating Fire Station No. 3 on Santa Rita Road.

* Pleasanton resident Charlene Sigman, founder of the School of Imagination and Happy Talkers, is named Woman of the Year for Assembly District 16.

* The Firehouse Arts Center will have a new resident theater company starting in the summer after the City Council approved of switching to Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre as the lead theatrical producer at the city-owned downtown entertainment venue, replacing Pacific Coast Rep.

* Terri Carlson, well-known owner of Milfleur home decor and antiques store on Ray Street, dies on March 26, two weeks after suffering a severe stroke.

* Zone 7 board hires Santa Clarita water official Valerie Pryor as the agency's new general manager.


* Competitive civics teams from both Amador Valley and Foothill high represent California in the "We the People" national finals in Washington, D.C. Foothill places second, Amador fourth.

* School board starts discussions on possible kindergarten through eighth grade schools on the north side of the city.

* Three Pleasanton elementary schools -- Fairlands, Hearst and Lydiksen -- are named 2018 California Distinguished Schools by the state Department of Education.

* Pleasanton hosts 30 representatives from its sister city Tulancingo, Mexico, to mark the 35th year of friendship between the two cities.

* The long-planned Old Vineyard Trail reaches a major milestone by opening its first phase, a nearly mile-long middle segment, for public use on the northeastern side of Pleasanton.

* California News Publishers Association judges honor the Weekly with two awards for coverage in 2017, plus named the paper among the top-five finalists statewide in four other categories -- including for the first time ever, General Excellence.

* Chabad of the Tri-Valley completes the new Torah Scroll at its Center for Jewish Life on Hopyard Road. All 304,805 letters of the sacred text were written by hand.

* Amador Valley High School Wind Ensemble performs at Carnegie Hall.

* City confirms settlement of lawsuit from parents and estate of John Deming Jr., a 19-year-old San Jose man killed by a Pleasanton police officer during an altercation amid a burglary investigation in 2015. Family received $285,000; city admits no liability or fault for teen's death.

* Foothill boys tennis team wins its second East Bay Athletic League title in three years.

* Las Positas College community bid farewell to president Barry Russell, Ph.D. upon his retirement.

* Jim McGrail, a well-known vineyard owner, local attorney and Zone 7 board member, dies from natural causes after a recent illness at his home in Livermore on April 29, one day shy of his 64th birthday.

* Pleasanton mourns retired police Sgt. Joseph Rose, also a World War II and Korean War veteran, who died April 30 at age 93.


* Tri-Valley groups and governments partner with Convoy of Hope to host the first "Day of Hope" at the Alameda County Fairgrounds to connect service organizations with low-income families and individuals.

* Gretchen Piscotty, a longtime Pleasanton resident and former Foothill High School attendance secretary, dies May 6 after battling ALS. The 55-year-old's fight with the disease gained national attention after her son, Stephen, a Major League Baseball outfielder, was traded to the hometown Oakland Athletics last offseason -- a move that allowed him to be closer to his ailing mother.

* State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker announces a $20 million state grant toward constructing a new parking garage at the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.

* San Ramon Valley High freshman Ben Curry drowns in school pool on May 8 during PE class but isn't discovered underwater until after lunch, a case that captivates the entire Bay Area.

* Weekly spotlights Arlene Simpelo, a first-grade teacher at Lydiksen Elementary, who was named PUSD Teacher of the Year.

* Jury convicts Pleasanton nurse Michelle Biala of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for killing a Sunnyvale man in a crash in San Lorenzo in 2015. She is later sentenced to six years in prison.

* Bill Caldwell, a Pleasanton resident, shares about his experience of serving on a FEMA team that worked in remote regions of southeast Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

* Councilman Arne Olson announces he won't seek re-election in the fall.

* Council approves draft master plan to bring a community farm to the Bernal property, to include a community garden patch, demonstration garden, rows for growing vegetables, a learning center and an orchard or vineyard.

* Senior Center celebrates its 25th anniversary in its facility on Sunol Boulevard.

* Council throws its support behind plans from the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California to redesign and expand its apprentice training facility on Santa Rita Road.

* Members of the Castlewood Country Club debate the best options for its clubhouse after it fails to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

* PUSD is facing two principal vacancies as Robin Munsell (Harvest Park) announces her resignation effective at the end of the school year and Michael Williams (Amador Valley) is promoted within district to director of human resources.

* Kottinger Gardens -- an affordable senior housing community under development by the city and MidPen Housing Corp. -- hosts a grand-opening ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Phase 1 of 131 units and the groundbreaking for Phase 2 that will add 54 units.

* Alameda County Fair confirms popular but hectic Independence Day fireworks spectacular has been canceled, and this time it's probably for good.

* Chabot-Las Positas Community College District board votes not to extend contract of Chancellor Jannett Jackson. She went on to resign in August.


* BART board of directors votes against building a full BART extension to Livermore but does not select a preferred project option, which leaves the door open for the new Tri-Valley regional rail authority to take the lead on the proposed project.

* Five months after the Tri-Valley YMCA daycare program at Fairlands was cited for a Type A violation by state regulators, PUSD terminates its contract agreements with the Y for operating after-school and summer programs at three district elementary schools.

* City opens newest neighborhood park, Harding Park, on Gibraltar Drive.

* Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) raises a record-high $644,000, surpassing the previous year by more than $100,000.

* Primary election results pour in, led by Dennis Gambs and Olivia Sanwong joining the Zone 7 board as newcomers along with incumbents Sarah Palmer and Bill Stevens. In finalized Alameda County races, winners were incumbent District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, sitting Judge Tara Flanagan and new Auditor-Controller/Clerk-Recorder Melissa Wilk.

* Regional Measure 3, the proposed bridge toll increase on the ballot in all nine Bay Area counties, passed on Election Night. The proposed half-cent Alameda County sales tax to support childcare and early education for residents in need, on the ballot as Measure A, fell short at the polls.

* A federal jury convicts former San Francisco resident Ross M. Colby, 35, of two felonies and three misdemeanors relating to computer hacking that preceded the Sept. 17, 2015, takedown of and four other websites of parent company Embarcadero Media. Colby's sentencing is still pending.

* An 8,000-square-foot youth barn to be used by FFA and 4H members is under construction at the Alameda County Fairgrounds with a capacity to house 80 animals.

* Amador Valley girls softball team wins the North Coast Section softball championship held at Diablo Valley College with a 2-0 win over crosstown rival Foothill.

* Ballistic United Soccer Club is celebrating its 50 years of existence by recognizing the Top 50 Difference Makers in its history.

* Council signs off on investing $28 million in a trust account to help raise additional funds to offset rising employee pension costs, a move city leaders see as leaving Pleasanton better positioned for the years and decades down the line when higher pension bills come due.

* City Council agrees to expand a pilot program to allow high school students to use their identification cards to check out books instead of library cards after a test run of 80 students was successful.

* Second annual cattle drive down Main Street ushers in opening day of 2018 Alameda County Fair.

* Planning Commission approves construction of two five-story hotels on Johnson Drive facing the Interstate 680 freeway and next to a proposed Costco store at that location.

* Nearly 600 Tri-Valley residents turn out to Lions Wayside Park to show support for the reunification of immigrant families separated by the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

* School board hires two new principals. Alberto Solorzano joins Amador Valley from Dublin Unified, where he served as director of secondary education. Terry Brenner, an associate principal at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, is set to assume the Harvest Park post.


* Aarti Senthilvel, 47, a noon supervisor in the school district since 2013, drowns July 1 while trying to save three young adults from the undertow at Cowell Ranch State Beach, including her 18-year-old daughter.

* Pleasanton's Independence Day celebration holds its 20th event at Lions Wayside Park with the theme "American Giants: Bernstein, Douglass and Baseball."

* School board approves emergency corrective repairs at Harvest Park Middle School after a fire damages its library in the center of the campus.

* Livermore teen Sarah Whalen reflects on her experience at the famed Cannes Film Festival in France, where her eight-minute short film "Risen" was screened.

* Fire breaks out on I-580's Altamont Pass; crews are able to contain it after it burns for eight hours, covering 640 acres.

* Local historian and author Steven Minniear releases new book, "Dublin, California: A Brief History."

* Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore join for the annual Feed Tri-Valley Food Drive.

* Pacific Pearl, the new shopping center on the east side of the city designed with a focus on the region's Asian-American influences, celebrates its ceremonial grand-opening.

* City Council votes to immediately enact a temporary ban on new or expanded massage businesses in the downtown area, setting the stage for the issue to be decided through the Downtown Specific Plan update process.

* New "Tri-Valley Rising 2018" reports that the Tri-Valley is growing as an economic powerhouse, partly due to an excellent school system and a well-educated workforce.

* Tri-Valley Writers Club initiates a Book Launch Team program for members.

* Patelco Credit Union's headquarters has outgrown its space on Hopyard Road in Pleasanton and will soon be moving into a larger office building in Dublin that the firm recently purchased.

* Police make changes to how they manage public safety and local regulations during the popular Concerts in the Park, after allegations of overly aggressive behavior by officers dispersing concert-goers.

* Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce selects Steve Van Dorn as new president and CEO, succeeding Scott Raty who announced his retirement earlier in the year.


* Local leaders consider a light rail system to link the northern San Joaquin Valley over the Altamont Pass to BART in Pleasanton, to alleviate the daunting commute.

* Sandra "Sandi" Roy Thorne, a longtime community advocate and wife of Mayor Jerry Thorne, dies from complications during cancer treatment. She was 80.

* Weekly spotlights Meadowlark Dairy, a Pleasanton institution celebrating its 99th anniversary.

* Pleasanton resident Jacob Bauer, 38, dies at a local hospital while in police custody after allegedly acting erratically in Raley's and attacking officers trying to detain him. Police said officers used Tasers to control Bauer at the scene, but he didn't exhibit respiratory distress until later on when in an ambulance for routine medical clearance.

* School board addresses the district's rising student population as schools in northern Pleasanton see a sharp increase in students. The school year begins with a district enrollment of 14,963.

* BART board of directors approves $20 million to expand its network of digital cameras and install emergency call boxes after a woman is killed at a station.

* Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) completes its $18.8 million expansion of the Tri-Valley's largest water recycling plant, with non-potable recycled water flowing through purple pipes for large-scale irrigation.

* Livermore-Pleasanton firefighters control a blaze after two hours in the warehouse of a fencing company on Busch Road in the early morning hours.

* No election will be held for Pleasanton school board after trustees Joan Laursen and Mark Miller are unchallenged in their re-election bid.

* Council holds off on deciding the operational fate of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life after learning of an 11th-hour partial compromise between the Jewish organization and backyard neighbors concerned about potential noise from a preschool and outdoor group sessions. The follow-up council meeting is still pending.

* Addressing national speculation, Tri-Valley Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) says that he is "considering" a 2020 presidential run.

* Alameda County DA's Office determines Pleasanton PD Officer Keith Batt acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed local resident Shannon Edward Estill who advanced on police with what turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun in May 2017.

* Pleasanton Orchard Supply Hardware at the Metro 580 shopping center closes after less than two years, along with all 99 other locations nationwide.

* Ed Westmoreland, who owns Eddie Papa's restaurant on Hopyard Road, pulls together investors to bring back entertainment and fine dining at the Pleasanton Hotel, which was vacated by Handles Gastropub in the winter.


* City Council increases city development impact fees almost across the board for the first time in two decades.

* Tri-Valley residents clean up the creeks on a Saturday morning, coordinated by Living Arroyos, the Adopt-A-Creek Spot Program, and sponsored by Zone 7 Water Agency, as part of a statewide effort to preserve coasts and watersheds.

* Pleasanton resident Jasmine Johnson, 38, dies after jumping out of an ambulance and running in front of an oncoming truck on the I-580/I-680 interchange on Labor Day morning, several hours after being detained by Pleasanton police during a combative run-in with officers on Case Avenue.

* Alviso Adobe Community Park along Old Foothill Road celebrates its 10th anniversary.

* Tri-Valley photographer Adriane Costa talks about her new book "Play Like A Girl," which depicts girls of different ages and skill levels in a variety of activities.

* Pleasanton's two little leagues plan to merge into one organization under the Pleasanton Little League name starting with the upcoming season, league officials announce.

* Ann Cai, a local 8-year-old, dies in the hospital several days after being pulled unresponsive from the Castlewood Country Club pool.

* Weekly moderates candidate forum between Republican Assemblywoman Catharine Baker and Democrat challenger Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. It was the first of four candidate forums held by the Weekly, along with Pleasanton, Livermore and San Ramon city candidates.

* Council votes to cancel its JDEDZ approvals and order more environmental review of the rezoning project that would lay the regulatory framework for bringing Costco, two hotels and other businesses to the 40-acre area near the I-580/I-680 interchange, in an effort to resolve litigation issues.

* Seven elementary and middle schools in the Pleasanton Unified School District have been recognized by a state coalition for their implementation of a behavior support framework that promotes a positive and safe learning environment.

* Some 20 East Bay representatives, mayors and council members gather across from the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station to protest Assembly Bill 2923, which would allow BART to build housing on its land within half a mile of its stations, a move critics see as circumventing local jurisdiction.

* Pleasanton resident Scott Adams sits down with the Weekly. Dilbert creator talks comic's 30th anniversary, new business ventures and life as a Trump supporter in deep-blue Bay Area.

* Valley Community Church celebrates 50th anniversary.


* Gov. Jerry Brown signs Assembly Bill 2923.

* Council reviews early layouts for proposed renovations of Delucchi and Lions Wayside parks.

* BART breaks ground for a multi-platform garage for the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART station to provide 650-700 parking spaces; more than 3,000 people are on a wait list for a permit/reserved parking spot.

* Sears Holdings officials confirm that Sears in the Stoneridge Shopping Center will close, along with 141 other Sears and Kmart locations nationwide.

* Pleasanton Weekly announces the 2018 Tri-Valley Heroes: Dr. Marshall Kamena (Lifetime Achievement); Bryan Ware of The Crayon Initiative (Environmental Stewardship); Cricket for Cubs (Community Spirit); Sarah Banholzer (Courage); Meachelle Lum (Rising Star); Eugene O'Neill Foundation (Arts & Culture); Doug Miller (Role Model); and Ruchir Baronia (Innovation).

* Dublin City Council holds public hearing on proposal for an IKEA at I-580 and Hacienda Drive.

* Zone 7 board OKs water rate increases for the next four years after contentious public debate, 4-3 vote.

* Metropolitan Transportation Commission ranks I-680 commute across the Sunol Grade as the fourth-worst Bay Area commute for the second year in a row.

* Chabad of the Tri-Valley and Congregation Beth Emek hold memorials to honor the 11 worshipers who died in the weekend shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

* A mountain lion is captured as it is hunkered down in some bushes near Hopyard Road and West Las Positas Boulevard after four doses of tranquilizer were administered and released into the wild near Sunol in the middle of the night.

* School District launches a new internship program for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

* Foothill girls volleyball wins EBAL regular-season title. The Falcons went on to finish second in the EBAL tournament and later reached the NorCal semifinals in the state tourney.

* Pleasanton's U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) and wife Brittany celebrated the birth of their second child Oct. 24, a baby girl named Kathryn "Cricket" Watts Swalwell.

* Amador Valley Dons win the annual football game against Foothill, 31-20, for the unofficial title "Champions of Pleasanton."

* Eight Catholic priests who served or lived in the Tri-Valley at some point years ago are identified in a report by a Minnesota-based law firm listing the names of clergymen connected with Bay Area dioceses who were accused of sexual misconduct against children.

* A federal jury convicts a Pleasanton man in a crime that grabbed national headlines. David John Telles Jr., 42, was found guilty of online enticement and international sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in England whom he reportedly met online while playing Clash of Clans four years ago.


* LAVTA, which operates Wheels and Rapid bus services in the Tri-Valley, is honored as the California Transit Agency of the Year for 2018.

* Incumbent Kathy Narum is re-elected to Pleasanton City Council along with newcomer Julie Testa. Mayor Jerry Thorne wins his fourth and final term after appearing on the ballot unopposed.

* The election for Assembly District 16 is too close to call on Election Night. Other local races are confirmed, including Congressman Eric Swalwell winning re-election, Phong La becoming Alameda County's new assessor and Ayn Wieskamp earning another seat on the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors.

* Kirstin Litz, vice chair of the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation board and an active volunteer for many other causes, receives this year's Mayor's Award.

* Foothill's Model United Nations team attends their first East Coast conference -- and comes away with a second-place trophy.

* The Tri-Valley has a new State Assembly member as political newcomer Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) turns the tables on incumbent Catharine Baker (R-Dublin), overcoming an Election Night deficit to win the election 51% to 49% -- buoyed by a blue wave within the ballots tabulated in the days and weeks after the polls closed.

* The Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program receives a Golden Bell Award from state association in recognition of the success of Middle College High School at Las Positas College.

* Pleasanton-based Leisure Sports, Inc., parent company of ClubSport Pleasanton, sells five clubs to The Bay Club.

* The Amador girls cross-country team wins the Division I team title at the NCS Championships.

* The family of 15-year-old Ben Curry, who drowned during class in the San Ramon Valley High pool in early May, officially files a lawsuit against the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, claiming negligence and willful misconduct resulted in the freshman's death.

* The Alameda County Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to approve an ordinance that eliminates administrative court fees for people who are convicted of crimes.

* All good things must come to an end -- and this will be the last year for Bob Stanley's holiday lights extravaganza in Pleasanton. Dubbed Bob's World, it has delighted area residents each holiday season for more than 30 years.


* Pleasanton welcomes the season with its annual Hometown Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony -- with a little cooperation from the weather.

* City Council approves terms to acquire a commercial parcel next to Lions Wayside Park and the Firehouse Arts Center on First Street for up to $2.34 million.

* Scott Gregerson announces that he will be resigning as president of Stanford-ValleyCare in the new year, stepping away from his career to spend more time with his family.

* East Bay Regional Park District officials remove the interim tag off Aileen Theile's title, promoting the Livermore native to become the district's permanent fire chief.

* City officials schedule a public meeting to hear ideas from residents of all ages on how to renovate the popular big slide at Mission Hills Park, which is now 30 years old.

* City plans to install a new railing along the curb between Foothill Road and the sidewalk near the high school to help protect pedestrians and cyclists on a narrow 250-foot stretch.

* A study conducted by financial management company WalletHub declares Pleasanton the sixth-best city in California for residents seeking a job.

* Oakland A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty, an Amador Valley High alum, is honored with the Tony Conigliaro Award.

* Weekly spotlights two new Tri-Valley books: "Voices of the Valley: Journeys," a collection of original writings by members of the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writers Club; and "The American Lab," the first comprehensive history of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, written by director emeritus C. Bruce Tarter.

* Pleasanton retains its designation as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

* School board votes unanimously to build a second separate school on the Donlon Elementary property. The new school on the Donlon property will be designated for fourth- and fifth-grade students, while the existing campus will be converted into a TK-3 school.

* The Fair Political Practices Commission calls for the California Attorney General's Office and Bay Area district attorneys to investigate and possibly prosecute BART for violating state laws to support its bond measure in 2016 by using public funds for political purposes in the campaign for a $3.5 billion bond measure that ultimately passed in November 2016. Local State Senator Steve Glazer is among the prominent critics of BART's actions in Measure RR campaign.

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