Send Photos of Employees For Annual Holiday Luncheon Display
As part of the annual Holiday Luncheon on Dec. 12, photos of employees from 2013 will be displayed on a slideshow.
Please send us any photos you have, and we'll include them in the slideshow. Send them to email@example.com
The Holiday Luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its usual location: 5298 Clayton Road, Concord.
There will be a delicious luncheon, holiday-themed music and the announcement of the employee appreciation award for the quarter and the year.
Remains of Comet ISON Visible at Freezing LV This Morning
Though it was destroyed during its pass behind the sun on Thanksgiving, the glowing remains of Comet ISON were visible to shivering star gazers this morning at Los Vaqueros.
You couldn't see the blue flash of comet parts with the naked eye, but the powerful telescopes brought by award-winning astronomy teacher Jeff Adkins and Raymond Kuntz gave the more than 30 freezing early risers at LV a rare opportunity to see what happens when a comet collides with the sun.
Jeff said the cold and cloudless conditions were perfect for star gazing. There was no moon, and the hills surrounding the Kellogg Creek Picnic Area shielded most of the light from the surrounding cities.
Jupiter and Saturn were part of the night sky, and with the telescopes viewers could see at least three of the 67 moons surrounding Jupiter.
There were plenty of shooting stars, and even a satellite or two passing by in the black sky.
Using a nifty laser pointer that projected a green column of light into the sky, Adkins was able to connect the dots on dozens of constellations and point out stars.
As for ISON, Jeff said the remaining tumbling comet bits are providing professional astronomers with lots of information about the makeup of comets.
It was the first time LV has opened its doors this early -- 5 a.m. -- for an event.
The Wonders of Guided Imagery and Self Hypnosis Set For Dec. 17
Learn how to put yourself into a supremely relaxed state. By so doing, you then have the power to ease tension, stress, and “mind chatter.”
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Michelle Hulsey at ext. 8033 no later than Friday, Dec, 13.
John Howard Helps District Keep Promise To Protect LV's Environment
Visitors of Los Vaqueros Watershed may not at first glance notice the complexities of the grasses covering the rolling hills above or the resurgence of critters burrowing below. Yet these finer details have made the watershed a jewel among local conservationists.
John Howard is one of three Assistant Watershed Resources Specialists employed by the District to provide field and technical support for environmental mitigation and general watershed resources monitoring. His job, he says, is to sustain an adequate habitat for the native species to thrive.
When the District made the commitment to build Los Vaqueros Dam and purchased the land that makes up the nearly 20,000-acre watershed, it approached the project with a philosophy of protecting and improving the environment.
Part of that commitment was to support protected species through monitoring and surveillance. John, a 16-year veteran of the Water District, spends most of his time in these efforts. On a typical day, you could find him performing a residual dry matter collection, in which he clips, identifies and weighs all grasses in a single square foot section.
“These surveys help us determine grazing capacity, meet habitat needs for the San Joaquin kit fox and burrowing owl, and prevent runoff into the reservoir,” John said. “We go out on all properties and try to estimate pounds per acre of grass.”
John, who is an award-winning archery hunter in his spare time, also traps small mammals for the District. This winter he’ll begin performing egg mass surveys for species like the California tiger salamander and red-legged frog.
John and his colleagues must also provide the environmental clearances for projects that occur on Watershed property. Before work can begin, John must scope, clear and collapse animal holes to ensure no critters are killed during work. He must identify impacts to protected species, special grasses, cultural resources and other biological interests.
“It’s really our responsibility to know the biological opinion and make sure everything is in compliance,” he said. “We monitor for endangered species and try to save everything—even the unprotected species.”
With roughly three decades of firefighting experience, John drives the District’s only state emergency vehicle, which he built in 2005. In addition to its firefighting gear, the truck also carries basic life saving equipment and other emergency tools.
This Class Four truck, John says, is invaluable during emergencies when seconds count most. “We’re an immediate asset available to fire and medical response,” he said. “It could take up to 15-20 minutes for emergency vehicles to get to the reservoir.”
CCWD is rolling out its new canal safety video, aimed at reminding school-aged children to stay out of the Contra Costa Canal.
CCWD Canal Patrol Officers Shane Pinto, Tracy Chilson, Jill Suitos-Novak, and former officer Diane Rybicki are featured, along with Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin. Natalie -- who went to high school in Concord and whose grandmother, Zennie Bohn, retired from CCWD -- tells viewers that she would never swim in the canal, and neither should they.
The eight-minute video will be available on the CCWD web site, and DVDs will be sent to local schools where they will be shown at school assemblies and in classrooms.
Food & Toy Drive To Begin Nov. 18
CCWD's annual food and toy drive will start on Monday, Nov. 18 and continue until Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Toys will be given to the annual 'Toys for Tots' campaign, and food to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
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