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Around Lafayette: Sandbags available if needed this rainy season

Around Lafayette: Sandbags available if needed this rainy season

Midwinter seems to be moving slowly toward spring. Days, just barely, are growing longer, while much-needed rain has begun to fall. As we await the spring flowers that will eventually grace our hills and valleys, so far we’re heartened that this year is beginning to look just a little brighter, at least here around Lafayette.

Sandbag stations: Speaking of those rains, while awaiting the wildflowers it’s time for my annual reminder that the city of Lafayette has sandbag stations ready for Lafayette residents who might need to divert rainwater from their homes. Just stop by one of the two fill-them-yourself sandbag stations to get prepared. The stations are on Camino Diablo at Loveland Drive (immediately west of the Lafayette Corporation Yard), and Mount Diablo Boulevard at Village Center (across the street from the Veterans Memorial Center).

Lafayette Public Works crews will monitor streets and drains throughout the rainy season. If you see an area in Lafayette that needs the attention of the city’s Public Works Department, though, perhaps due to flooding, a pothole or a downed tree limb, please call Lafayette’s Corporation Yard at 925-934-3908, and a crew will be sent out to tackle the situation.

Don’t eat the mushrooms: Besides wildflowers, another byproduct of the rains are mushrooms, wild mushrooms. They’re everywhere: the death cap (Amanita phalloides) and the Western destroying angel (Amanita ocreata) are two of the world’s most toxic mushrooms, and both can be found right here in Lamorinda after a good rain. The death cap and Western destroying angel contain amatoxins that can be deadly to humans and many animals. Symptoms may not appear until 12 hours after consumption, beginning with gastrointestinal distress and progressing to liver and kidney failure if not treated immediately.

As a precaution, collecting mushrooms in East Bay Regional Park District locations is not allowed. Likewise, don’t pick wild mushrooms that you might see elsewhere. Sure, they might look like those mushrooms you see in the store, but they’re not — and they can be deadly. Find out more and see pictures of dangerous mushroom on the park district’s webpage at

Quick action: Earlier this month, Lafayette police responded to a report of an armed robbery at the BevMo store in the 3500 block of Mount Diablo Blvd. Officers arrived on the scene in less than a minute after getting the call and quickly went into action, contacting store employees and searching for the suspect.

While back at the station, Lafayette Police Department staff used cameras around town to spot the suspect. Within minutes of the initial call, staff were able to provide a detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle, which went out to local law enforcement agencies. The vehicle’s license plate was also entered into a regional crime-spotters database.

Shortly afterward, Piedmont officers were alerted that the suspect’s vehicle was in their area when a license plate reader picked it up.  Officers from that city quickly located the vehicle and found it occupied by two individuals. The suspect from the armed robbery in Lafayette was identified as one of them, and two firearms believed to be used in the robbery were recovered (it was later determined that the “handguns” were in fact replica weapons).

Through diligent and quick action by BevMo employees, quick response by officers and staff in Lafayette and Piedmont — and the assistance of technology — this robbery case was expeditiously closed. The suspect was arrested and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility, and the other passenger was arrested by Piedmont for unrelated crimes. Hats off to our law enforcement personnel for a job well done! See you next month with more stories from around Lafayette.

Jeffrey Heyman can be reached at Follow him and the city of Lafayette on Twitter at @JeffHeyman and @LoveLafayette.

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