News Digest: Holiday tree-lighting, 'Cocoa with Your Congressman' & Local DUI checkpoints | News | |


News Digest: Holiday tree-lighting, 'Cocoa with Your Congressman' & Local DUI checkpoints

Also: PPD Citizens' Academy, Foothill in national STEM contest, Fair board vacancy & Be mayor of 'Bayville'

Holiday tree-lighting

Pleasanton's rescheduled holiday tree-lighting is set to be held outside of the Museum on Main from 5-6 p.m. this Friday (Dec. 13).

City leaders opted to cancel original Hometown Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony date because of inclement weather last Saturday. Though the tree-lighting is back on with a rescheduled date, the holiday parade portion of the annual celebration will not take place this year after being washed out last week.

The tree-lighting event will now begin at 5 p.m. this Friday (Dec. 13) at the new holiday tree in front of the Museum on Main at 603 Main St. The program and holiday entertainment will kick the festivities off, with the illumination set to occur around 5:45 p.m. Santa Claus will also make a special appearance.

Main Street from St. Mary to Neal streets, and both sides of Division Street, will be closed from 4-7 p.m. Friday for the tree-lighting.

DUI checkpoints in Dublin, Livermore

Tri-Valley police have a message for motorists this holiday season: drive sober or get pulled over. Local police are ramping up local efforts to curb the seasonal upswing of impaired driving by adding more DUI checkpoints and officers on patrol looking out for drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Livermore and Dublin police announced earlier this week that both of their departments are holding checkpoints in their communities to check for valid licenses and signs of driver intoxication this weekend. The Dublin Police Department will have one “in the area of Dublin Boulevard and Civic Plaza” on Dec. 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., according to city officials.

The Livermore Police Department will also have their own checkpoint on Friday night at an undisclosed time and location, as well as an increase of officers on patrol looking for people driving under the influence from Dec. 13 to New Year’s Day.

“Unfortunately, this time of year is when we see more people driving impaired,” said Traffic Sergeant Glen Robbins in a statement. “There is no excuse for driving after drinking or using drugs that impair. There are many ways to get home safely without driving.”

Checkpoints within the city limits are “placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests,” and Dublin police said they have “investigated 57 DUI collisions, which have claimed two lives and resulted in another 39 injuries” since 2018.

Both departments remind the public that intoxicated driving “doesn’t mean just booze,” and that taking prescription drugs or marijuana can be impairing enough to get a DUI. They also encourage using a designated driver, like a friend who isn’t drinking, a ride-share, taxi or public transit, to get home.

If you’re hosting a holiday party, police encourage offering non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers and monitoring how guests will leave. Should a guest try to drive home after they’ve been drinking, police urge taking the keys and helping them find another way to get home safely or offering for them to stay the night. Drunk drivers should be reported by calling 911.

Drivers caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can expect a DUI arrest to cost upwards of $13,500, including fines, fees, license suspension, DUI classes and other expenses, as well as possible jail time.

Funding for both programs was provided by grant money from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Cocoa with Swalwell

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) is scheduled to meet with constituents in his district during a "Cocoa with Your Congressman" event this weekend in downtown Pleasanton.

Swalwell, whose district includes most of the Tri-Valley, is set to be on hand from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Sunday at Peet's Coffee and Tea at 349 Main St.

Citizens' Police Academy

The Pleasanton Police Department has put a call out to residents interested in learning more about local law enforcement by applying for its Citizens' Police Academy.

"It's a 15-week program designed to help you discover what our officers do on patrol, how dispatchers play a valuable role in our daily operations, and what it's like to be part of specialized units like K-9 and SWAT," PPD officials said.

The next Citizens' Academy begins Jan. 23 and will be held on Thursday nights from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and pass a background check. Class size is limited and usually fills up quickly. Visit or go to the department's headquarters, 4833 Bernal Ave.

Solve for Tomorrow Contest

Two Tri-Valley high schools are among 13 upper-level campuses across California aiming to win part of $3 million in technology and classroom materials from the 10th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest.

Foothill High School in Pleasanton and Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon were chosen to advance in the national competition that challenges students in grades 6-12 to solve real life problems in their communities by applying their knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Finalists were selected "based on their creative and strategic proposals to solve complicated issues that affect their communities by using STEM learning," according to event organizers.

"Since launching the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest a decade ago, we've seen students tackle some of the biggest issues facing their generation and this year is no different," Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement. "From suicide prevention to single use plastic alternatives, teachers and students are stepping up to creatively address these important issues head-on.

Each classroom will receive one Samsung tablet and the chance to advance in the contest for more prizes. The top 20 National Finalist schools will travel to the final event in April, where they will present their project before a panel of judges, and receive an additional $50,000 in prizes.

The five grand-prize winners will receive $100,000 in tech and classroom materials, and a trip to present their projects to members of Congress in Washington D.C. One Community Choice winner will also be chosen by public vote, for an additional $10,000 in prizes.

Fair Board vacancy

The Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association is looking to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors, asking interested residents to apply for the open position by Dec. 20.

The Fair Board is comprised of 21 members -- 10 appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and 11 selected by the Fair Board. Applicants must permanently reside within the county.

Prospective candidates must submit an application that includes a letter of interest, resume and a "candidate information form." To learn more, go to

Be mayor of 'Bayville'

"Do you have what it takes to lead a growing city into the future? Play now to find out -- Bayville needs you."

That's how regional planning officials with MTC/ABAG are promoting their new online game, "Mayor of Bayville," in which residents can shape their own fictional city as a government leader. "You are the Mayor and you make the rules. Start with a budget. Invest in what you believe in. Improve the city. Look to the future. Are you up to the challenge?" officials said of the game.

Mayor of Bayville is designed to involve residents in Plan Bay Area 2050, "a planning process identifying strategies to make the Bay Area more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all," officials said. Visit

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