A Low-Key Scoping Meeting for
Saranap Village EIR
APRIL 7—Today’s scoping meeting on the environmental impact report on Hall Equities Group’s (HEG) proposed Saranap Village development was sparsely attended and over quickly.
Scoping meetings provide information about a project to government agencies that will or may be involved in an EIR. They’re also an opportunity for the public to comment on topics relating to possible environmental impacts of a project.
The only audience member to speak at the meeting was SCA President and Application Review Committee Chair David Dacus, who attended with fellow board and Application Review Committee member Charles Huddleston. Dacus summarized the 10 written responses the SCA has received to an invitation to communicate concerns about environmental aspects of the project.
“The comments arranged themselves neatly into some of the categories that were already to be studied in the draft EIR process,” Dacus said.
A New Home for the Boutique
White Pony Express Takes the Boutique Under Its Wing
MARCH 5--The SCA launched the Toy & Clothing Boutique in December 2008 as a way to help Saranap and Meher Schools families struggling to make ends meet during the “Great Recession.” Over the next five years, we gave away thousands of clothing items, books, toys, and games to hundreds of families at 16 Boutiques.
As the recession receded and the need for assistance in our area lessened, we extended the reach of the Boutique to families in other, less-affluent parts of Contra Costa County where the need is still great. We distributed flyers to churches, homeless shelters, and other entities that serve low-income families, inviting those they serve to attend.
Through 2012, attendance at the Boutiques averaged between 50 and 100. At the May 2013 event, the first one held after we began broadening our outreach, 25 families from outside the area whom we hadn’t seen before attended. In October, as our outreach efforts grew and word-of-mouth spread, the guest list swelled to 500. Then, in December, nearly 1,000 people attended our Holiday Boutique, with some families traveling from as far away as Richmond and Brentwood.
“While we were pleased to be able to help so many people who were genuinely in need,” Stephanie says, “it became obvious that the SCA had neither the funds nor the volunteers to continue the Boutique in its expanded form, where it would do the most good.”
Learning of this, Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, who had originated the concept of the Boutique five years earlier, offered to take the Boutique under the wing of the White Pony Express. The White Pony Express picks up excess food from supermarkets, bakeries, farmers markets, restaurants, and other donors and delivers it at no cost to programs throughout the county that feed the poor. “In other words,” says Stephanie, “they work with many of the same organizations we had begun contacting and serve the same population we were attempting to reach.”
At its January 2014 meeting, the SCA board of directors voted unanimously to accept Dr. Conner’s offer.
Photo of Las Trampas Creek © 2013 by Patrick Mage