Uploaded: Sunday, December 30, 2012, 12:08 PM
What a year it was in Danville
Looking back on the top stories of 2012
|Another year and over 250 Expresses. Looking back over the past year's issues we see how much has happened in the San Ramon Valley during 2012.
Several projects reached completion this year while others began in earnest. The Veterans Memorial Building was re-dedicated in April after two years of construction, a Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in San Ramon after much debate and grading began on the Elworthy property along San Ramon Valley Boulevard.
2012 also saw the installation of new local and regional officials, as well as the indictment and prosecution of several law enforcement officers involved in a county-wide scandal. Fifty-eight percent of Danville readers said the biggest story of the year is the murder of CHP officer Kenyon Youngstrom on Interstate 680.
Enjoy this review of 2012 and keep reading throughout 2013 to keep abreast of everything that is happening in Danville and the San Ramon Valley.
* Former San Ramon police officer Louis Lombardi, 39, pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts for stealing thousands of dollars in cash and property during searches of suspects' homes and to five counts of possessing and selling drugs and stolen firearms while he worked on the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET.
* The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) sponsor a regional planning meeting in Dublin, seeking comments on a blueprint-in-the-making for expanding transportation and housing throughout the nine counties in the Bay Area in a sustainable way over the next 25 years.
* The courts decides that Steven Carlson, 44, the man charged in the 1984 killing of Tina Faelz, would be tried as an adult although he was 16 at the time of her murder when she was a 14-year-old Foothill High freshman.
* Bishop Ranch is "plagued by thefts," experiencing a rash of auto and commercial burglaries, including a grand theft. Bishop Ranch security officers arrested Thomas Daley for prowling; the Concord resident was found on methamphetamines with a stolen iPhone, a window puncher and other gear used to break through a window though he possessed no Bishop Ranch items.
* Nine people are arrested, two hospitalized and three police officers injured in a series of drunken fights outside Walnut Creek night spots.
* A record high of $150,000 was made in donations by readers to the Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund, which benefited local nonprofits, including Axis Community Health, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Valley Humane Society, ValleyCare Health System Foundation, REACH, Sandra J Wing Therapies and Senior Support Services of the Tri-Valley.
* After a period of litigation, Gov. Jerry Brown dissolves 400 redevelopment agencies on Feb. 1. Both Danville and San Ramon took steps to protect funds and properties owned by their respective RDAs, using property tax revenues are to pay existing bonds, other obligations and pass-through payments to local governments. The former site of Mudd's restaurant in San Ramon is one of the redevelopment properties whose future is up in the air.
* The plight of Amador Valley grad Janet Liang launches drives for bone marrow match in her fight against leukemia.
* Workers locked out of Castlewood Country Club "occupy" Pleasanton, beginning downtown and marching to the club on Castlewood Drive, to mark the two-year anniversary since they have worked for the club after a dispute over health care costs.
* San Ramon resident is charged with attempted murder after allegedly beating his mother with a baseball bat.
* Former Alamo Post Office employee Emmanuel Odion Esezobor was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay nearly $40,000 after being convicted stealing public money and passing counterfeit bills. Esezobor issued himself $13,800 worth of U.S. postal money orders and paid for them with counterfeit bills.
* The city of San Ramon, school district and Shapell Homes partner to designate land for a future park and elementary school in the Dougherty Valley. The school would be located on an 8.6-acre site one-half mile southwest of the Dougherty Station Community Center in an undeveloped area, next to a 30-acre park.
* A sexual battery takes place March 27 near Arlington Park in the Dougherty Valley. The victim reported that an unknown Middle Eastern male rang her doorbell, engaged in a brief conversation and then made his way into the residence and forced the victim to the ground before sexually battering her.
* San Ramon Valley Unified School District "flips the switch" on five sets of solar panels at local schools. The solar electricity systems met and exceeded 100 percent of expected kiloWatt hours.
* The city of San Ramon moves forward with plans to develop a large patch of rural acreage on the northwest side of town. The 440-acre Faria Preserve will house 786 residential units, soccer and softball fields, basketball courts, picnic and play areas as well as parking facilities by 2015.
* A 15-year old girl is nearly sexually assaulted behind the Lucky supermarket on Alcosta Boulevard on March 7 when an unknown suspect tried to steal the victim's iPhone. The suspect pointed a silver handgun at the victim then pushed the teen to the ground and attempted a sexual assault.
* Parents at several local elementary schools contest proposed changes to on-site childcare providers at three elementary schools. Seven elementary schools, whose childcare provider leases have expired or are set to expire, formed selection committees to determine need and efficacy of the current business.
* 'Reel Blondes" cabaret returns to the Danville stage after a four year hiatus. Vicki Brooks, former owner of Victoria's Hair & Spa, produced the election-themed "A Hair Raising Campaign."
* Steve Carlson, accused of murdering 14-year-old Tina Faelz in Pleasanton in 1984, pleads not guilty.
* Unions urge members and others at a Democratic Party rally to protest throughout the East Bay where operating permits for Walmart grocery stores are being considered.
* The newly renovated Veterans Memorial Building and senior center is rededicated on April 28 after more than a year and a half of construction. The $8.1 million will now serve several veterans groups and hold various senior activities.
* San Ramon officials hear testimony from Caltrans and residents on proposed HOV ramps, which would allow carpoolers and buses to travel directly onto and off the I-680 HOV lanes at Norris Canyon Road. The ramps would cost an estimated $102 million and are largely unsupported by residents.
* Marino and Nicole Sandoval, the Pleasanton couple who owned and ran the El Balazo restaurants in Danville, San Ramon and in three additional East Bay locations, are sentenced for immigration, Social Security and tax charges connected to their restaurants. Marino was sentenced to 41 months in prison and Nicole was sentenced to five years probation and 12 months of community confinement.
* Walnut Creek's Planning Commission recommends that the City Council approve a new nuisance abatement ordinance for downtown businesses that serve alcohol. The ordinance would establish performance standards for all bars and restaurants, including long-standing businesses with varying land use permits.
* Grace Eunhea Kim, a 2007 graduate of Foothill High School, is among victims of mass shooting at Oikos University in Oakland.
* A robbery attempt at the Gold N Treasures jewelry store in San Ramon results in a fatal shooting of the suspect around on May 30. The victims and witnesses reported that four suspects entered the store and at least one of them was armed with a handgun. A victim armed himself with a handgun and shot the armed suspect,
* BART police investigate an apparent suicide May 30 at the West Dublin/Pleasanton station. A man either jumped or fell to the ground on the Dublin side of the parking garage.
* Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema, 73, died May 19 after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. Uilkema served 19 years on the Lafayette City Council and 16 years on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors representing District 2, which was reconfigured to include the San Ramon Valley with the realignment of the county's districts in August. She announced in November that she planned to retire at the end of her term in January 2013.
* San Ramon resident Spencer Freeman Smith, an attorney practicing in San Francisco, is arrested in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist on May 15 in Dublin. Smith was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run in the crash that killed Bo Hu, 57, also of San Ramon. Hu, who was either walking his bike or riding northbound on Dougherty Road near Fall Creek Road, was pronounced dead at the scene.
* Duwan Fields and Claudiens Griffin are convicted of running a prostitution ring out of San Ramon in 2009 and committing sex crimes against their underage victims. Fields received eight years and four months two counts of pimping a minor prostitute and one count of unlawful sex with a 16-year-old; Griffin received three years and eight months in prison for pimping a minor prostitute, pandering for prostitution, rape and lewd acts on a 13-year-old.
* Father and son Randy and Kyle Harrell save their 96-year old neighbor and family dog whose Alamo home caught fire. On May 7, Randy and Kyle jumped their fence and ran next door after seeing flames coming from the front of their neighbor's home. Randy Harrell told reporters that he carried the woman, who uses a walker, out of the home and over the fence to his son; he also rescued the family's dog.
* Pleasanton Mother and daughter, Amy Burton-Freeman, 36, and Ainsley Freeman, 13, are found shot in their Stacey Court home; it was later ruled a murder-suicide.
* David Rice, the longtime president and director of the multimillion-dollar-funded Tri-Valley Community Foundation, is fired after an independent audit finds discrepancies in the organization's finances and reserves.
* A woman's body is found inside a 45-gallon trash can that was left on the side of a road in northwest Pleasanton.
* Danville Mayor Candace Andersen declares victory in the race for Contra Costa County District 2 supervisor on June 5 with 61 percent of the vote. Opponent Tomi Van de Brooke held 27 percent while Sean White at 12 percent.
* San Ramon attorney Lesley Regina and Alameda County Deputy Deputy Ryan Silcocks face criminal charges for illegally obtaining information to be used by a client in a custody battle involving a Pleasanton man.
* Tri-Valley Community Foundation looks at bankruptcy after investigations show it may be $3 million in debt.
* Nearly seven months after his death, the community honored the memory of Lance Cpl. Joshua "Chachi" Corral during the dedication of Danville's Fallen Hero Memorial. Chachi was the first SRVHS grad to die in combat during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a memorial in his honor now sits at the corner of Hartz and Prospect avenues.
* Danville resident Marshall Owens Dittrich pleaded guilty to attacking a woman last summer after she offered the hitchhiking teen and his friend a ride in Idaho's Hope Peninsula.
* Mata Amritanandamayi -- known as Amma or the hugging saint visits her Castro Valley ashram. For up to 20 hours a day, Amritanandamayi sits and hugs, whispering blessings in the ears of those who travel to see.
* SRVUSD Superintendent Steven Enoch retires on June 30 after four years of service in the San Ramon valley.
* The Alameda County Fair opens June 20 with a new White Water ride that proves popular at opening day has record high temperatures.
* San Ramon's fireworks-free Fourth of July event is pronounced a success.
The scaled-down event cost about a fourth of 2011's event and also provided a greater opportunity for people to watch the city's volunteer symphonic band.
* Danville's Newell Arnerich and Robert Storer are rotated in as mayor and vice mayor after Candace Anderson receives early appointment to the Board of Supervisors following the death of her predecessor.
* Grading begins on Elworthy property for the Quail Ridge subdivision. The 459 acre KB Homes project is located near Sunset Color nursery and the Danville Congregational Church
* A 23-year-old man hanged himself in a downtown Danville parking lot on July 27.
* A Livermore woman's body was found in the brush near the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station parking structure. A coroner's report says the death was due to "multiple blunt force trauma" consistent with a jump from the parking garage.
.* East Bay developer Peter Branagh and his wife Mona, who owned and operated Pacific Bay Interior in Danville, were killed when their small plane crashed into a mountainside in southern Utah.
* Donna, Danville Police's long-time K-9, retires after six years of service.
* More than 534,000 attendees visit the Alameda County Fair, an 18 percent increase from 2011, and is the largest recorded attendance in history,
* Thousands converge on downtown Danville to celebrate Independence Day at the annual Fourth of July parade. Over 130 participants -- including floats, Boy Scout packs, marching bands and commercial entries -- marched along Hartz Avenue and San Ramon Valley Boulevard.
* San Ramon Valley residents, Olympics enthusiasts and Monte Vista Mustang supporters welcome home Danville residents Jessica and Maggie Steffens, members of the gold medal winning U.S. women's water polo team. Both defenders for the Olympic team, the sisters were crucial in helping the U.S. win a gold medal in this year's London games with an 8-5 victory over Spain.
* Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf dies on Aug. 9 at age 69 after a battle with leukemia. His death came more than a year after his retirement as sheriff, a position he had held for 18 years.
* San Ramon drops out of Tri-Valley Community Television, known as TV30, citing savings of about $80,000 a year. The move prompts questions about whether the city is trying to break away from the Tri-Valley.
* A San Ramon man and a Concord resident are killed in a fiery crash that closed a portion of southbound Interstate 680. San Ramon's Merhrdad Emami was the passenger in a silver BMW that was struck by a Nissan Maxima while headed southbound on Interstate 680 near the Crow Canyon Road exit.
* Alamo resident Michael Littman pleaded not guilty to murder charges for the death of his neighbor during a fight with her husband. Littman allegedly struck and fatally injured Doris Penico after a physical fight with Penico's 55-year-old husband.
* Adam Stephens is arrested for robbing Union Bank at 3223 Crow Canyon Road on Aug. 29. The San Francisco resident verbally told the teller that he would shoot if the teller alerted the police, displayed a black pistol, tucked into his waistband and ordered the teller to empty the cash drawer into a bag.
* A man fatally overdoses in the Luckys parking lot off Crow Canyon Road on Aug 3. The victim, who was in his early 20s, was dead when San Ramon Valley Fire crews arrived on scene.
* Labor judge rules in favor of locked-out Castlewood workers although country club can appeal decision.
* California Highway Patrol officer Kenyon Youngstrom is fatally shot during a traffic stop on Interstate Highway 680 near Alamo on Sept. 5. Youngstrom, 37, was shot at about 8:30 a.m. after he and another CHP officer pulled over a Jeep Wrangler near the Livorna exit on southbound I-680.
* Tri-Valley Community Foundation files for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy with more than $153,000 in debts, leaving some charities without funds owed them.
* Christopher Butler, a former private investigator and Antioch police officer, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for his role in the CNET-related conspiracy with the so-called "Dirty DUI" scheme that included drug offenses, conspiracy, extortion and illegal wiretapping.
* Dr. Hsui-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder after several of her patients, including Cal High grad Joey Rovero, died from prescription drug overdoses.
* San Ramon attorney Mary Nolan pleaded not guilty to tax evasion and several other felony charges Tuesday after being linked to the "dirty DUI" case that led to the arrest of police officers across the county and the disbanding of the county's narcotics enforcement
* The Bay Area's first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in San Ramon on Sept. 19 at 9100 Alcosta Boulevard (inside the Country Club Village Center).
* Missing Pleasanton teenager Tricia Martin is found shot to death in a Newark motel along with an adult male on Sept. 14. Kathy Martin, an executive assistant at the Pleasanton Weekly, said the girl found is her daughter, a 17-year-old Village High School student who lived at home.
* Janet Liang, the Amador Valley High grad whose impassioned plea for help on Youtube led to thousands of people signing up as potential bone marrow donors, dies six days after receiving a transplant from a near perfect match.
* Grassroots ballot initiative Save Open Space Danville circulates through town with the hope of strengthening voter rights on future development and ending the sunset clause on Measure S.
* San Ramon's population surges between 2000 and 2010, growing 61 percent from 44,722 people to 72,148 people, according to information based on the 2010 Census.
* A Pleasanton man files a $3 million federal lawsuit against a local police officer, an Alameda County Sheriff's deputy and a San Ramon Attorney. The suit asks for a jury trial, claiming, among other things, of false arrest and false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, conspiracy to interfere with civil rights, defamation of character and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
* Danville resident Leo Joshua Kennedy is charged with bilking $17 million from at least 10 people by transferring money from their trust accounts for his personal use
* Moody's Investors Service announces potential downgrades to 32 California cities, including Danville. The possible downgrades are a result of "fundamental economic pressures in the state."
* The Danville and San Ramon Express run a series of stories on suicide after several occur throughout the Tri-Valley.
* Castlewood workers return to their jobs at the country club under the terms of their old contract.
* California passes Proposition 30, one of two dueling initiatives to benefit the schools, which will temporarily increase sales tax by one-fourth of a cent per dollar and raise income taxes for people who earn more than $250,000 per year.
* Long-time Danville Town Council members Newell Arnerich and Mike Doyle are re-elected on Nov. 6 along with eight-year Planning Commissioner Renee Morgan.
* San Ramon Valley voters pass Measure D, a $260 million school bond that will dedicate funds specifically to schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, with 55.19 percent of the vote.
* Hayward resident arrested Zaid Masood Khan is arrested in connection with a hit-and-run collision that critically injured an elderly San Ramon man on Nov. 9. Khan is the suspected driver that hit an 82-year-old pedestrian on Village Parkway south of Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon. The victim suffered critical injuries.
* A woman leaving work in Walnut Creek on Nov. 7 is kidnapped by two men who forced her to withdraw money from various ATMs before abandoning her in the Oakland Hills.
* Long-time California High School teacher and varsity basketball coach Bob Donovan implores the school board to change its policies after being "forced to resign" due to parent complaints and unfounded accusations.
* Paragon Outlets open in Livermore, near the Pleasanton border, causing huge traffic jams on Interstate 580.
* San Ramon's City Council voted to confirm a recommendation to not bring back fireworks in the 2013 July Fourth celebration.
* Hundreds of residents pack Danville's Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 11 to protest updates to the 2030 General Plan.
* Former Contra Costa County drug task force commander Norman Wielsch pleaded guilty to charges including narcotics possession, distribution and sales, theft from a federally funded program, and civil rights violations including conducting illegal searches and seizures. The felony charges stemmed from the CNET police corruption case.
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.
There are no comments yet for this story.
Be the first!