El Cerrito student wins sophomore writing contest


Jack London State Historic Park has announced the winners of its 2022 Young Writers Competition. The program, now in its seventh year, encourages students in grades six through eight to practice their writing skills by creating an original story of 2,000 words inspired by the works of Jack London.

This year’s theme was “Building Brighter Communities” reflecting Jack London’s own hopes for the land he purchased in Sonoma County that eventually became Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. Today, visitors can experience both history and nature in the park’s 1,400 acres.

Students were encouraged to write a fictional story in which the characters create and live in a community of their own invention that is unique, different, emergent, or overcomes something difficult. A total of 15 entries were received from across the United States. All students who entered the competition are entitled to a free day of admission to the park, which includes a car full of guests.

The 10 volunteer judges, many of whom are published authors, were given stories without names or locations, so all entries were judged blind. The winning entries, available online at jacklondonpark.com/annual-young-writers-contest, are:

  • first prize ($250): “Seda de Araña” by Natali Cox, a seventh-grade student at Fred T. Korematsu Middle School in El Cerrito. Natali also won the top prize in the 2021 competition.
  • second prize ($150): “The After Hours Society” by FJ Zamora, an eighth grader at Willowside Middle School in Santa Rosa.
  • third prize ($100): “Plastic Food” by Yoon Koo, a seventh-grade student at Valley Christian Junior High in San Jose.

The winners were honored at a recent awards ceremony at the park. Special guest and author Tracy Salcedo said in her opening remarks, “Being a storyteller involves both inspiration and the elaboration of words. These young writers showed us both the art and the craft of these beautiful pieces.

— Jack London State Historic Park

Public and in-person City Council meetings will resume soon

With the regular meeting of City Council scheduled for June 7, Council Chambers will once again be open for in-person attendance by City Council members, staff, presenters and the public. The city will continue to offer participation via Zoom, cable broadcast and live streaming on the city’s website.

Details regarding security protocols for in-person attendance will be posted online no later than June 2. In general, it is expected that masks will be strongly recommended, social distancing will be encouraged and capacity will be limited to available seats only.

In-person participants are encouraged to participate remotely if they show symptoms of illness in the previous 24 hours. For more information, contact the city clerk at [email protected] or 510-215-4305.

— El Cerrito City Manager’s Office


The Saturday Music in the Parks series continues through July

Come catch any Saturday through July music concert series that blends different musical genres with interests for a variety of ages with settings in our various beloved parks.

You can listen to jazz at the marina, sing with the kids at San Pablo Park, explore other genres and activities, or do it all. No alcohol or controlled substances are allowed. Our Music in the Parks series features activities, food, music and entertainment for kids. In the process, we will also feature local musicians in the events listed below:

  • June 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Kids Day with Andy Z at the Virginia McGee Totland;
  • June 18 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Jazz at Strawberry Creek Park;
  • June 25 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Morchestra ribbon cutting at the John Hinkel Park Amphitheater;
  • July 9 from 2 to 5 p.m.: Bay Area Jazz Mobile at Shorebird Park;
  • July 23 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Blues at Willard Park;
  • July 31 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Kids Day with Sing Jam at San Pablo Park.

Arrive early and bring your blankets or low back chairs to enjoy the music. Community concerts are just one of many events held throughout the year by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department, which offers dozens of camps, classes and other activities for people of all ages. Get an overview of Recreation Division offerings through our online registration portal.

— City of Berkeley


The City is looking for seven members for its police commission

The creation of a police commission is intended to foster community participation and engagement in law enforcement policies and procedures. The commission may make policy recommendations to the city council and receive all legally public complaints from the Albany Police Department to determine whether to recommend that such complaints be referred to an outside consultant for investigation in accordance with California law.

The commission will consist of seven members – one Albany resident nominated by each member of the city council and two nominated by the Albany Unified School District school board. Members appointed by the school board need not be residents of Albany.

— town of Albany

To submit an article for our “In Brief” section, please email it, at least three days before publicationto [email protected] Each item should be 90-180 wordsinclude the name of the group or individual to which it should be credited and should include a brief title.

Scott R. Banks