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Your hometown weekly newspaper



    Vol. 9, No. 26 Including Surrounding Communities www.thepress.net June 26, 2009


    nalAwardWinning Newspapers



    Divine dream,devilish details

    Let our Wedding Planner sweat the small stuff so you can relax on your big day.

    Page 1B

    Courtship successful

    An East County entrepreneur turned the dream of hosting a pro event into reality.

    Page 21A

    Business .............................8ACalendar ..........................33AClassifieds ........................25ACop Logs ..........................15AEntertainment ..................6AFood ...................................8BHealth & Beauty ...............6BMilestones .......................18AOpinion ...........................14ASports ...............................21ATalk About Town ..............5AWedding Planner .............1B


    Rumor has it Talk About Town lets you eaves-drop on our insiders take on the people who make East County tick.

    Page 5A

    Biodiesel plant proposed for DuPont site

    City offi cials in Oakley have agreed to help a biodiesel company get government funding to build a processing and storage plant on the DuPont property on Bridge-head Road near the planned River Oaks Crossing shopping center.

    Its been several years dream-ing and hoping and planning for something to take place on the DuPont property, City Manager Bryan Montgomery told the City Council on May 26. DuPont has been working feverishly to get the land cleared and ready for develop-ment. Part of that area is cleared; other areas are imminent.

    Bay Area Bio Resources hopes to build a plant that would provide biodiesel feedstock made from materials such as algae, palm oil and jatropha plants, he said. That feedstock would be supplied to other plants that would convert it into fuel for diesel engines.

    As you may expect, this is an alternative energy source that

    has garnered a lot of attention in our green economy, said Mont-gomery. Discussions have been had (with company offi cials) of whether or not the city could be a co-applicant or partner in the process, certainly encouraging the economic development that we desire on the property and also helping the environment and these applications. There are millions of dollars available to be spent and invested in Oakley in this very in-teresting and unique project.

    A total of $480 million is available in the Renewable Energy Research and Development Grant Program for this type of project, with a maximum of $50 million going to an applicant. Other grant funding might be available as well. City offi cials agreed to pay

    a consulting company, Platinum Advisors, $5,000 per month for the next six months to assist with the application. Bay Area Bio Re-sources is depositing those funds into a city account to reimburse the city for the consultant and staff time involved with the appli-cation process.

    The only council member to comment on the proposal was Bruce Connelley, who said, I un-derstand that this does not obli-gate the city to necessarily pursue the biodiesel plant, but assists it in getting a mutually benefi cial posi-tion for the grant process. Its re-ally just to help the grant process happen.

    Montgomery confi rmed Connelleys assessment and said a council meeting would be held

    where the public could provide in-put and the council could consider the pros and cons of the proposal before approving or rejecting it assuming that Bay Area Bio Re-sources gets the grant funding that its seeking. This is just to try to fi nd the money to get to that step, he added.

    Connelley responded, Something has to be done and time is of the essence. My concern is this is the fi rst public exposure on the subject, and I really dont know how the community would feel about it. (It) may be a good thing, may be a bad thing or not so good. I dont think its bad at all. I have studied up quite a bit on biodiesel. I think we ought to make it clear that at this point its not obligating the city. But its a mutually agreeable thing that we are doing to get that grant money set up, whether the company puts it in Oakley or somewhere else, thats yet to be determined.

    The council voted unani-

    by Dave RobertsStaff Writer

    see Biodiesel page 34A

    As you may expect, this is an alternative energy source that has garnered a lot of attention in our green economy.

    Oakley City Manager Brian Montgomery

    Sign ordinance draws protestGene Bucholz, whose Hook, Line & Sinker store

    sells shotguns among other items, verbally unloaded with both barrels on city offi cials Tuesday night one of sev-eral merchants blasting them for planning to ban most of the A-frame signs merchants put out along Main Street to attract passing motorists.

    If I was a business owner wanting to locate a busi-ness in Oakley, after listening to this meeting about this sign ordinance, I would get up and walk out. Id look for a new city, Bucholz told the council. You need to learn to give us business owners a little more respect. Oakley has done, from what Ive seen on the City Council, more to run businesses out of town than they have to try to keep us here.

    Bucholz pointed out that hes done a lot to bring rev-enue to Oakley by hosting 67 bass fi shing tournaments each year, one of which gains national and international attention.

    One of the things that has really, really assisted me has been my A-frame sign sitting in front of the Cen-troMart grocery store right now, he said. I have had hundreds, if not a thousand people, come into my busi-ness and say, We didnt know you were here. We saw your sign and thought we would stop. This sign ordinance right now is the worst you can put up in the worst eco-nomic time we are having right now especially when theres other issues in the city of Oakley that need to be

    by Dave RobertsStaff Writer

    see Sign page 34A

    This A-frame sign wasnt providing much publicity when this picture was taken Wednesday morning. A proposed city ordinance would ban such signs except to announce grand openings and charitable events.

    Photo by Dave Roberts


    Downtown Thursdays return with a twist

    Downtown Thursdays, the weekly event designed to bring people out for afternoon adventures in the heart of historic downtown Brentwood, is back this summer with a new look.

    Following the sound of music and the sight of brightly colored tents, hundreds of residents descended on First Street to discover a festival in full swing last Thursday. And thats just the beginning.

    This year the Downtown Brentwood Coalition, the group of local merchants which helps organize the events, received a $20,000 grant from the city to put on events aimed at drawing people downtown. With increased funds, the Coalition has been able to plan bigger, themed events, such as the singing competition Brentwood Idol, scheduled for Sept. 23.

    Unlike last year, the block of First Street between Oak and Chestnut streets will be closed off each week, allowing more space for vendors and other activities, such as the infl atable bounce houses set up for the Family Festival.

    While the main focus of Downtown Thursdays is to encourage locals to come out and support small businesses and rediscover the charm of what Brentwood has to offer, the weekly events also provide families with an affordable mid-week escape.

    Not only will most local businesses stay open later on Thursdays; other vendors will set up booths on First Street alongside arts and crafts booths for children, so there will be plenty to do. Live bands will also perform downtown so there can be some dancing in the streets.

    This is a family-friendly event where people can come shop, dine, play and experience the culture of downtown Brentwood, said Lyle Miller, Downtown Thursdays event planner and Brentwood Chamber of Commerce board member. Its important to support local business and this is a way to bring people to historic Brentwood.

    Dafne Swisher, owner of Brentwoods Co. Co. County Wine Company, said events like Downtown Thursdays help people discover and rediscover what Brentwood has to offer.

    You dont have to go over the hill to have a good time, said the Downtown Brentwood Coalition member. You can get that kind of experience right here downtown, but Im always surprised to meet people who have no idea what is available to them down here. People want to support local business. They dont want to see the mom-and-pop shops die out, but we need events like Downtown Thursdays to remind them that we are here all year long.

    Donna Ross, owner of Crme dela Gem Jewelry, said the Downtown Thursdays events will see a mix of upbeat and quiet weeks, featuring big events such as the Harvest Festival on Sept. 3 and small events like Vendors Night on July 30.

    Downtown Thursdays is an opportunity for people come out and interact with the community, Ross said. You can come down for an hour or spend the whole afternoon here. Its a casual thing, where you dont have to get all dressed up to have a good time.

    Thursday is the perfect night for an event like this. People have been working hard Monday through Wednesday, and they have plans for the weekend, but Thursday is that day in between where there are no plans but everyone is in a good mood because the weekend is in sight.

    The car shows that made last years series popular will return this summer, beginning July 9. There will be car shows each month, and those interested in displaying

    JoJo the Clown, left, dazzles and delights children with her bal-loon artistry. JoJo will be at all Downtown Thursdays events this year. Above, Downtown Thursdays visitors check out the shiny pre