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Alaska group adopts escaped goat tracked on social media

AP Wire Service


FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP), Oct 22 – An escaped goat that eluded Alaska authorities for two days has been adopted as the official mascot of an organization supporting people affected by opioids, officials said.


The Bridge group announced the adoption on its Facebook page, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday.


Animal control officials asked the public to contact law enforcement in a social media post that was shared more than 500 times after the goat escaped from its owner Oct. 14. The goat was delivered to Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Control the following night after members of the public captured it near a road where it had jumped into traffic.


Facebook users who followed the chase updates named the male goat “Curry.”


The Bridge provides employment and peer support organization for people affected by opioid use disorder. The organization was founded in May with grants from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.


“Welcome Curry the goat as the Bridge's new mascot! We are going to reintegrate him to society,” the organization posted on its Facebook page.


Goat owner Paul Finch said in a TV interview that Curry was destined to be slaughtered for his meat prior to his escape but was given a reprieve due to the interest shown by social media users.


“I work in recovery,” Finch said. “Now he's (the goat) been arrested, he's been in jail, and I believe that he would be a great mascot for the re-entry coalition or the re-entry process for people re-entering after incarceration.”


The Bridge has established an online fundraiser for the goat's needs with a goal of $5,000. The organization is also collaborating with Venue, a Fairbanks event space and coffee shop, to sell Curry stickers to raise money for The Bridge.




Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com



Allusions: More Than Meets the Eye

Submitted by Sana Chiang

Photos courtesy of Olive Hyde Art Guild


“Allusions: More Than Meets the Eye” features works by the members of The Greater San Francisco Bay Area artist group, Abstract7. Artists include Yao-pi Hsu, Gloria Huet, Marjorie Law, Sydell Lewis, James Ong, Donna Orme, and Terry Tsu. Working in diverse media, each artist expresses an individual vision in a unique way. Some pieces explode with energy, while others draw you into a contemplative place. All display the artists’ commitment to abstraction and allude to sources of inspiration, whether they be nature, science, personal experience, or the state of world affairs.


Allusions: More Than Meets the Eye

Saturday, Jan 11 – Saturday, Feb 8

Gallery hours: Thurs – Sun, 12 noon – 5 p.m.


Opening reception

Friday, Jan 17

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Olive Hyde Art Guild

123 Washington Blvd., Fremont

(510) 791-4357




Honoring Redwood Regional Park

By Fatema Bhaiji

Photos courtesy of United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division and EBParks


“Humane living is assured only to those who have disciplined themselves to choose and who have the ardor to strive for the excellence with heart and soul and mind,” Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt stated in her address at Ohio State University. Reinhardt possessed these characteristics of heart, soul, and mind that allowed her to be the only woman of the original five board members who assisted in the negotiation and purchase of land currently called Redwood Regional Park.


“Persistent, well-respected, and an advocate,” are three words Edward Willis, a planner for East Bay Regional Park District, uses to describe the prominent Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt, after whom Redwood Regional Park was officially re-named in early December of 2019; official action to rename the park was approved on October 15, 2019 by the park’s District Board of Directors.


Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Reinhardt had a growing adoration of the open space and redwoods, which in turn prompted her to become an advocate for environmentalism. Her passion for saving the redwoods was accompanied by an equally strong belief in women’s rights. Before she was elected as one of the board members for East Bay Regional Park, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and earned her Ph.D. in Literature at Yale University, an untraditional feat for women in the early 1900s. To further her advocacy of women’s rights, Reinhardt became the president of Mills College, a women’s college in Oakland.


While advancing women’s rights, Reinhardt joined many nature-loving and protection leagues such as Save the Redwoods and Sierra Club to protect and restore nature and connect people to its peace and beauty. Reinhardt’s efforts earned her the honor of having redwood park named after her. As Willis says, the renaming “was to honor not only her legacy but also her representation of a bigger movement, which was women’s suffrage.”


Although she was involved in both women’s suffrage and nature conservation, she is most well-known for her environmentalist efforts. These had a spiritual side as well; as a dedicated and involved churchgoer, Reinhardt related nature to God’s creation and believed that protecting it is doing God’s work.


Reinhardt has a lasting impact on Redwood Regional Park; school groups today learn about the park through her teaching. Approaching the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, East Bay Regional Park is setting a date in 2020 for a public celebration of the name change from Redwood Regional Park to Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. Whether it’s to attend the renaming, or simply to hike or enjoy the beautiful redwoods, join the East Bay Park District in celebrating the achievements of Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt.


Celebration of Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park Renaming date TBD 2020

7867 Redwood Road Oakland

(888) 327-2757




BART Police Log

Submitted by Les Mensinger and BART PD


Saturday, December 28

  • A man identified by police as Michael Cammarano, 36, of Fremont was arrested at Fremont station on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, loitering, being under the influence of a controlled substance, providing false identification to a police officer and an outstanding $5,000 warrant. He was booked into Fremont City Jail.


Monday, December 30

  • At 10:14 a.m. a suspect identified by police as Lavanz Crosby, 22, was arrested at Bay Fair station in San Leandro on suspicion of resisting an officer. Crosby was booked into Santa Rita Jail.


Tuesday, December 31

  • At 10:07 a.m. a suspect identified as Devereaux Sataezha, 22, of San Leandro was arrested at Bay Fair station in San Leandro on suspicion of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. Sataezha was booked into Santa Rita Jail.


Wednesday, January 1

  • At 1:29 a.m. a man identified by police as Kenneth Griffin was arrested at Castro Valley station on suspicion of grand theft and booked into Santa Rita Jail.


Thursday, January 2

  • At 8:06 a.m. a man identified by police as Brian Hughes, 29, of Hayward was arrested at Fremont station on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, theft and probation violation. He was booked into Santa Rita Jail.



Bear Bitez – Hearty Burgers served with heart!

By Madhvika Singh

Photos courtesy of Bear Bitez


Some things run in the blood, and others in tradition. For Bliss Attaie, the love of food, cooking and serving came from both. She learned the art of cooking for family and large gatherings from her mother, who in turn got it from hers. Bliss felt most at ease when immersed in cooking. “I don’t want to just have a job; I want to follow my passion” – this was the thought that propelled her to leave a lucrative career in banking and join the French Culinary Academy to become a trained chef. Determined to follow her passion, Bliss started her culinary career working entry level positions in a restaurant kitchen and worked her way up to managing a café. She also worked at a big-name Silicon Valley company, helping run its on-site cafe.


As they say, “When you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.” For Bliss, this meant that she never stopped thinking about making food even more enjoyable. She kept innovating when cooking for parties and gatherings at home, which could include over 100 people. People enjoyed her dishes so much that they started asking for them at their own gatherings. Bliss used this opportunity to further develop her creativity and make something different for each gathering. With encouragement and support from family, Bliss opened her restaurant, Bear Bitez, after working for 15 years in the food service industry – a restaurant that offers uniqueness at the top of its menu.


Her husband, Bizhan Delgoshaei, pitched in with the necessary funding; her brother Saleem Attaie handles Marketing and Operations; and her sister Fay Attaie is sous-chef. Three things were on top of Bliss’s mind as she thought about the experience she wanted to create – uniqueness, quality and family. Bliss wanted to create a space where families would feel at home and offer a menu that was fun and unique. Keeping in mind the idea that they would treat every customer as a family member, using the highest quality ingredients was a non-negotiable. “For me, it’s really important that if I don’t eat it, I’m not going to serve it,” says Bliss. To keep the focus on quality, it was decided to keep the menu short and simple.


Narrowing down her myriad culinary creations meant uniting the family’s tastes as well – her skill working with French pastry and her husband’s love for burgers led to the creation of the Bear Bitez’ signature offering, a burger wrapped in puff pastry. The pastry gives the burger a “flakey, melt-in-your-mouth texture.” As Saleem puts it, “It feels like a denser turn-over with a similar kind of texture.” This unique offering has found appeal across the Bay Area; Bear Bitez sees people drive from San Francisco for this specialty burger.


Quality is in everything offered. “I would rather have a very small menu and it be good and clean, not just to feed your hunger, but to also nourish and heal your body,” says Bliss. The chicken used is organic and free range, and the beef is antibiotic and hormone free to ensure the highest quality. The soda offered at Bear Bitez is from Alameda Point Craft Soda, made locally with natural cane sugar. A must try!


The warm and welcoming greeting from the staff at Bear Bitez instantly makes you feel at home. As Bliss puts it, “When you do what you love and you put your heart into it, people feel it. I appreciate everybody that walks through the door.” In the same vein, Saleem says, “You treat them right because that is what we want to do and what we are supposed to do. If they come back, that’s a bonus.”


The interior décor is also deliberately designed to create a family and communal vibe. An informal setting and picnic table style seating invite people to grab food, sit down and eat just like you would at home alongside your family. While Bear Bitez has garnered positive reviews, acclaim is not the goal for Bliss. “For me it’s more important that when a customer comes in, they feel welcome. I want them to leave with a smile, feeling satisfied,” she says.


While catering to creating a communal vibe, Bear Bitez focuses on giving back to the community as well. They are a premier sponsor of Sunnyvale Youth Wrestling League.


In addition to their retail outlet in Newark, Bear Bitez is now branching into catering for special events and corporate lunches as well. They also offer home delivery through Grubhub and DoorDash. For more information, please visit: https://www.bearbitez.com.


Bear Bitez

5486 Central Ave, Newark

Phone: (510) 648-2721

Email: info@bearbitez.com




Roadside Bigfoot: Georgia museum devoted to legendary beast

AP Wire Service

By Paul Newberry

AP National Writer


CHERRY LOG, Ga. (AP), Oct 19 – Along a bustling four-lane highway that winds through the north Georgia mountains, an unassuming wooden structure breaks the monotony of churches, billboards and stores selling kitschy knickknacks.


Once a BYOB supper club, it's now ground zero in the search for a legendary beast.


Welcome to Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum.


“I can remember my great-grandmother talking about having a cabin in the woods, and she saw Sasquatch,” says Sherry Gaskinn of Villa Rica, Georgia, who was driving by one afternoon and had to stop in. “I've always been curious.”


Her husband, Phillip Blevins, lets out a skeptical chuckle.


“If it was up to me,” he says, “I'd already be on down the road.”


The owner of this intriguing piece of Americana at the southern edge of the Appalachians is David Bakara, a longtime member of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization who served in the Navy, drove long-haul trucks and tended bar before opening the museum in early 2016 with his wife, Malinda.


He's looking to provide both entertainment and enlightenment in an area known for apple orchards and blazing fall colors.


“I wanted to take what I know about Bigfoot as an active researcher and investigator, but I'm also a huge Disney World fan,” the 57-year-old Bakara says. “I was thinking, `Maybe I can make this thing like a family attraction.”'


Instead of Space Mountain, the attraction not far from the Tennessee state line has an elaborate display of Bigfoot laying siege to a remote cabin, with a hatchet-wielding mannequin desperately trying to bar the door as two hairy paws burst over the top. Color-coded maps document hundreds of alleged sightings, a towering reproduction depicts a hairy 8-foot-tall beast, and the famed 1967 video of an alleged Sasquatch sighting plays on a loop, along with harrowing recollections from those who claim to have encountered a Bigfoot.


“The reason I didn't shoot it is, it was just too human,” a hunter says in one account. “I couldn't pull the trigger because something told me this ain't right.”


There's even a glass case claiming to hold feces collected from a Sasquatch in Oregon.


Believers continually add to the already ample collection. On a recent day, the mail carrier delivered two casts of footprints supposedly made by foreign Bigfoots.


“You want to see an Australian cast?” Bakara asks, tearing into the package.


He has filled up the former supper club and is planning to expand his museum, which welcomes about 50,000 visitors a year.


For those who think Bigfoot is a phenomenon confined to the Pacific Northwest, where that grainy video from more than five decades ago gave Sasquatch its greatest brush with fame, Bakara is quick to point out countless sightings the world over.


In Australia, the mythical creature is known as Yowie. In the Himalayas, they call it Yeti. In Russia, it goes by Alma.


Closer to home, there's the Florida Skunk Ape, the Georgia Booger, the Missouri Momo.


“There are several subspecies of these things,” Bakara claims, displaying nothing but sincerity. “Some have short hair. Others have long, red flowing hair. Some are multicolored, almost like a squirrel where's there's gray and red and brown mixed together. Some of them have a very human-like face. They just run the gamut.”


He'll gladly tell you about the time he saw a pair of the elusive beasts.


In 2010, Bakara says, he was summoned by a Florida man who had spotted strange creatures on his property. Using a thermal imager, he and his team were able to make out a pair of creatures emerging from a nearby swamp.


“We took turns looking at them,” he says. “They finally figured out we could see them, so they left.”


Bakara could talk all day about what's become his life's work but clams up on the most obvious questions:


What is Bigfoot?


Where did it come from? 


“That's a secret we're not supposed to know about,” he replies ominously.


Bakara implies that the creatures are the unintended consequence of a government experiment gone haywire, hinting that his life would be disrupted if he ever went public with his entire body of work.


Bakara has been interested in Bigfoot since a young age, spurred on by early news reports and the 1972 cult classic “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” a sort of docudrama about a Sasquatch-like creature supposedly hunkered down in Arkansas.


He knows he'll never persuade all the people – even most of the people – of Bigfoot's existence, and he's fine with that.


“Does everybody need to know everything you know?” Bakara asks. “No. It's best they don't know.'


There are doubters, of course.


One person signed the guestbook as “Bigfoot,” listing his home as the “Woods.” In the section that asks “How did you hear about us,” the visitor writes: “People were taking my picture.”


But Bakara says most visitors treat the museum with respect, at least while they're on the grounds.


“I'm just curious,” says Angie Langellier, who stopped in with her family recently while passing through on a trip from Illinois. “So far, I've had nothing that's convinced me.


“But obviously, a lot of people have seen a lot of things that have convinced them.”


On the web: Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum at https://www.expeditionbigfoot.com/



Takes from Silicon Valley East

Silicon Valley Economy Today and Tomorrow

Interview with Alexander Quinn, Director of Research (NorCal), JLL


As we close out 2019, we thought it fitting to share an overview of where our regional economy stands, according to the data. So, we caught up with JLL’s director of research (NorCal), Alexander Quinn. In his role, Quinn analyzes a diverse set of economic indicators, with an eye on impacts to real estate investment. Read on for his assessment of the Silicon Valley economy and where things might be heading in 2020.


Silicon Valley’s economy is one of the strongest in the world with massive economic productivity and innovation. It is why other cities around the world have coined themselves “the Silicon Valley of …insert place here (e.g. China, India, Europe, etc.).” Relative to the rest of the state and the nation, the area remains a high-income, low-poverty region. In 2019, the Valley generated record levels of private capital and IPO activity. However, the dichotomy of unemployment rates at an 18-year low and housing prices being the highest in the nation creates a wide income gap that makes Silicon Valley a complex place with significant barriers to entry.


This current economic expansion has been led by technology where Silicon Valley has been a stalwart while creating an economic halo experience across the entire United States. It is now the longest on record. To drive the point further, the economic indicators and yield curves show a moderately growing economy with no recession flash warnings.


Although most of the data continues to reflect economic strength, we should also pay attention to signs of slowing in jobs and population growth. Of importance is the reduced housing construction activity when it is needed most to accommodate our growing workforce.


The Silicon Valley Economy Today

  • The per-person output from Silicon Valley outweighs every other economy in the nation of all major MSAs.
  • Since the great recession, San Jose Metro Statistical Area (MSA) led the top 25 MSA in Gross Metropolitan Product. In terms of economic activity, the San Francisco/Silicon Valley mega region was the fastest growing economy, which includes Stanford University in Palo Alto, Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, and Apple HQ in Cupertino. San Francisco MSA trails closely behind San Jose MSA, putting both areas among the top three fastest-growing MSAs in the country.
  • Office vacancies are at an all-time low, with the technology industry dominating leasing activity in the Valley (Q3 2019 saw leasing activity by the tech sector of approximately 1.8M square feet). San Francisco takes the top spot in this category with the lowest vacancy and highest asking rent, with Silicon Valley trailing close behind. In Fremont, office vacancy has decreased from 30-40 percent in 2010 to 5-14 percent in 2019.
  • Although the sustained demand and supply-and-demand imbalance is keeping the West Coast from correction, employment is slowing down.


Strengths of Our Economy

  • The Bay Area remains the tech capital of the nation. Indicators include:
  • Most active high-end innovation and software development concentration in the U.S.
  • Largest cluster of higher education institutions with the top 15 colleges associated with software developer apps and social media query located in Silicon Valley.
  • Claims nearly half of total VC (Venture Capital) investment in the entire United States. VC funding in the Bay Area peaked in 2018 with San Francisco taking over Silicon Valley in percentage share of total funding.
  • Silicon Valley’s market share in Google and Facebook’s digital advertisement revenue accounted for more than 50 percent of global market share or $170 billion of the total $333 billion revenue which has been growing by double digits over the last decade. Digital ad revenue now accounts for more than half of global advertising spending and will continue to grow in market share.


 Looking to Future

  • Tech tenants in the market will continue to drive the demand for office space in Silicon Valley — which accounts for 61 percent of all requirements by product type.
  • California Department of Finance estimates indicate job growth and unemployment rate curves continuing to plateau. California EDD (Employment Development Department) projects show the highest percentage share of growth in educational services (private), healthcare, and social assistance jobs.
  • Migration trends indicate net loss in domestic and gains in international net migration figures since 2016. Overall, Bay Area population growth is declining; however, the East Bay has shown an uptick in population growth since 2018.
  • Housing construction continues to remain well below employment growth, creating challenges.


Closing Thoughts

While no one has a crystal ball, we all know that growth at the present rate cannot be sustained forever. To elaborate, the major challenges that the region is facing — with more than its fair share of recent wildfires, compounded by homelessness and housing problems — act as headwinds for the economy. What makes matters worse is the fact that California has the highest individual income tax rate in the nation, an extremely high cost of living, diminishing industrial supply, rising construction costs, and other market uncertainties, leaving the region vulnerable to talent poaching from more affordable states that are activating to target Bay Area companies.


These liabilities would surely spell doom for any other place; but Silicon Valley is different. It has continued to reinvent itself, with an unmatched ability to shift from one emerging industry to the next. As with many things in Silicon Valley, it seems likely that the next downturn will serve as a natural experiment testing the strengths and vulnerabilities of the region. We must remember the things that are integral to the region’s success — for example, the free movement of people and capital. As to how will we ride, and recover should the current “gold rush” end? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain; it will be in a style typical of Silicon Valley.



Caliban Trio

Submitted by Wayne Brask


Caliban is an offshoot of the Celtic Rock Band Tempest. Leader Lief Sorbye wanted to keep a platform to play classic Celtic music and folk songs, and Caliban is the result. Until now the band has been a Duo, but recently it evolved into a Trio with new member Mirco Melone.


We at Brask House Concerts are going back to the 1990’s for this show. Sue first saw the whole band, Tempest, at the Fremont Art and Wine Festival in the late 1990’s, and we booked them for our home series and then for BraskHouseConcerts shows at Mission Coffee starting in January of 2006. They have returned every year since.


Caliban has performed at darn near every major Scottish/Celtic “Games” or festival in the USA and a number of notable ones overseas in Great Britain and Scotland. For Sorbye, who was an original member of “Golden Bough,” this has been a labor of love and dedication to the songs of the Celtic Iles. Michael Mullen on fiddle is how we original saw the duo back in the 90’s. Mullen is quite possibly the best Celtic fiddler we have heard in 24+ years of hosting shows and following live music.


As a duo they were a delight; now they have added a third player (also from Tempest): Mirco Melone. From Bologna Italy, Melone studied at Italy’s Classical Music Conservatory “Bruno Maderna” in Cesena. In addition to performing Celtic music with Tempest, Melone has also performed 30/40’s music of Reinhardt and Duke Ellington.


We expect great things with this trio.


Brask House Concerts: Caliban Trio

Saturday, Jan 11

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Mission Coffee Roasting Company

151 Washington Blvd., Fremont

(510) 623-6920


Cover charge: $15-20 at the door



California newspaper ends print publication after 161 years

AP Wire Service


MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP), Dec 29 – One of the longest-running newspapers in California printed its final edition on Sunday, ending 161 years of publishing news about the city of Martinez east of San Francisco.


Rick Jones, the Martinez News-Gazette's editor, said he wasn't certain whether the news outlet covering the city of nearly 40,000 will continue publishing online.


The News-Gazette began publishing in September 1858 and combined in 1906 with another local paper in Contra Costa County, the former owner's grandson, Bill Sharkey III, told The San Francisco Chronicle. At its height in the middle of the 20th century, the paper had about 50 employees, but the staff shrank over the years as advertising revenue dwindled.


Jones said Gibson Publishing, which owns the paper, has not provided details on the future to the staff.


Meanwhile, the state's oldest weekly newspaper covering two rural counties northeast of Sacramento appears to be nearing its final days.


The Mountain Messenger's editor-publisher told The Los Angeles Times he is planning to retire by the middle of January, at which point publication will end. Don Russell said he spent the past year trying to sell the paper, but he hasn't received any offers.


The paper began in 1853 as a twice-per-month publication; its claim to fame is that Mark Twain once wrote there under his real name, Sam Clemens, while hiding out from the law. Known around the area as the “Mountain Mess,” the paper covered school board meetings, federal land use and other issues in rural Sierra and Plumas counties.


Lee Adams, a Sierra County supervisor, told the Times his family has subscribed to the paper since the 1970s.


“It has chronicled our history for 166 years, and to see it disappear now is just quite sad,” Adams said. “This is more than a newspaper; it really is an institution.”



Cat found in New Mexico after going missing in Oregon

AP Wire Service


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP), Nov 20 – A cat who has been missing for five years in Portland, Oregon, has been found in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


The Santa Fe Animal Shelter announced this week that Sasha the black cat was recently found wandering the streets of New Mexico's capital. Officials said a scan of the cat's microchip revealed that the kitty had traveled more than 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) from Oregon.


American Airlines offered to fly the cat to Portland, along with a member of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. Officials will present the animal to Viktor Usov, the cat's original owner.


Usov says the family thought they'd never see the cat again.



Women’s Basketball

Gladiators Report

Submitted and photo by Chabot Athletics 


The Lady Gladiators of Chabot College (Hayward) moved up to 7th place in state basketball poll with a championship finish in the San Jose City College Tournament. With a record of 13-4, the Lady Gladiators are tied for the No. 7 spot with Glendale (12-2) in the December 30 CCCWBCA state poll.


Chabot sophomore Zakiya Mahoney was named MVP of San Jose Jaguars Tournament after scoring 22 points in a 60-48 win over College of the Siskiyous’ Lady Eagles on December 29 in the championship game. All-tournament pick Nyah Willis of Chabot had 18 points.




Cougars Report


Holiday Classic Tournament

Submitted by Coach Darryl Reina


The annual Newark Optimist Club – Newark Memorial Girls Basketball Holiday Classic featured 16-teams from throughout the Bay Area who participated in Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions December 27, 28, and 30, at the Newark Memorial High School Event Center.



The Varsity Division title was captured by Lick-Wilmerding of San Francisco, with wins over Menlo-Atherton, Newark Memorial, and a 37-36 win in the Championship contest over Sequoia. The Newark Memorial Girls Varsity Team recorded an opening round win over Santa Clara, then lost to Lick-Wilmerding in the semifinals, and dropped the third place game to Lynbrook of San Jose.  Freshman Cougar’ Tali Fa’I was named to the All-Tournament Team.


Junior Varsity:

The Junior Varsity Division was won by Valley Christian High School of San Jose, with wins over Foothill, Meno-Atherton, and San Ramon Valley. The Newark Memorial Lady Cougars JV squad finished the tournament with a 2-1 record, winning the third place game, a hard-fought 44-40 victory over Menlo-Atherton.  Cougars’ Naite Hautau and Kamalei Iokepa were named to the JV All-Tournament Team.


The 2020 Tournament will be held on December 28, 29, and 30.  Be sure to save the dates and attend this very special event. Special thanks to the Newark Optimist Club for their on-going support as the title and award sponsor.



Lady Cougars beat Lady Colts to open MVAL basketball season

Submitted by Timothy Hess


The varsity defeated the James Logan Lady Colts (Union City) by the score of 69-63 in a very competitive game on January 3rd at the Event Center. The Cougars exploded for 46 first-half points and led by 8 points at the half.  Newark Memorial took an 11-point lead into the fourth-quarter only to have the Colts rally to tie the game at 60-60 with two-minutes left in the contest.  The Cougars held on down the stretch, outscoring Logan 9-3 to come away with the victory.  Freshman Jaydin Armas scored 9 of her 12-points in the final period, including making 5 clutch free-throws in the last-minute.


Four Cougars scored in double-figures, including Tali Fa'i (18-points), Samantha Armas (18-points), Rylee Sarasua (14-points), and Jaydin Armas (12-points).


The JV Lady Cougars lost to the Colts JV squad in their MVAL season-opener.



Cougars win St. Francis Tournament

Congratulations to the Cougars boys varsity on their 52-48 victory over host St. Francis Lancers (Mountain View) in the championship game of the tournament on December 30th. Elijah Carlton was named the Tourney MVP, and teammate Nay'veon Reed won the “Mr. Hustle” award.



Always doe prices? Deer wanders into Walmart, slips around

AP Wire Service


WOOSTER, Ohio (AP), Nov 15 – A whitetail went retail for a bit this week when it entered a Walmart store in Ohio.


Patrons in Wooster in northeastern Ohio say the deer was kicking shelves as it walked through the store Wednesday afternoon.


Bert and Dawn Moore encountered the deer after stopping in for a few things for dinner. Bert Moore told the Wooster Daily Record he feared the doe was in danger of hurting itself or others.


Moore says he grabbed the deer when it grew tired after slipping on the floor and then lay on it to keep it still.


He, another shopper and store employees helped the animal get out. It disappeared into a field.




Information from: The Daily Record, http://www.the-daily-record.com



Dear EarthTalk: Which companies are taking the lead in commitments to plastics reduction?

– Jason K., Reno, Nevada


Our modern world is literally swimming in plastic. According to Plastic Oceans International (POI), we produce more than 300 million tons of plastic each year around the world, half of which is for single-use purposes. We then dump eight million tons of it into the oceans annually, where it accumulates up and down the food chain, with some settling into large, mid-ocean whirlpools of plastic waste called gyres.


Since the 1950s, we’ve produced upwards of 8.3 billion tons of plastic, and production is seemingly only just starting to ramp up: A recent study predicts we’re on course to add another 26 billion tons to the planet’s existing plastic burden by 2050 if production remains unchecked.


Weaning ourselves off plastic is going to be one of the great challenges of the 2020s. Consumer demand, along with governmental action, is forcing many companies to re-examine their manufacturing processes, supply chains and distribution networks to reduce the use of plastic in both products and packaging.


One leader is Ikea, which recently committed to transition much of its plastic packaging to a mushroom-based renewable alternative that can grow in a controlled environment, and, like plastic, be easily formed into shapes. If kept dry, this “MycoComposite” can be used over and over. It can also decompose fully in just 30 days. Producing it uses only 12 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of plastic, and with 90 percent lower carbon emissions.


Another step in the right direction is Mattel’s recent commitment to use 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastics materials in both its products and packaging by 2030. Early in 2020 the company will debut its first product aligned with this new goal, the Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack, made from sugarcane-based plastics and packaged in 100 percent recycled or sustainably sourced material.


Walmart announced in February, 2019 that it seeks to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025 and will encourage other brands it sells to set similar goals. The retailing behemoth is also working with suppliers to eliminate non-recyclable PVC plastic in general merchandise packaging altogether by 2020.


These efforts are laudable, but some worry that shifting to alternatives doesn’t fully address the problem: Due to public concerns about plastic pollution, says Greenpeace’s Graham Forbes, “we are witnessing a parade of corporations scrambling to look greener” by advancing false solutions that don’t address our  addiction to single-use packaging. Instead, Greenpeace argues, we need to get away from throwaways and refill our own containers. We’ll only see real change, says Forbes, when we prioritize re-use.


EarthTalk is produced by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for the nonprofit EarthTalk. See more at https://emagazine.com. To donate, visit https://earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.



Park It

By Ned MacKay


With the winter rains, renewing grasses spread a welcome green blanket over the hills and fields. The rains also stimulate lots of other growth, including mushrooms. So, it’s an appropriate time to give both a warning and an invitation. It’s against the rules to harvest and remove any plants or animals from the East Bay Regional Parks, except of course for state regulated fishing at district lakes. The regional parks are essentially preserves, where plants and animals are supposed to be left undisturbed. This is especially important with regards to mushrooms, some of which are extremely poisonous.


The most dangerous mushrooms commonly found in the Bay Area are the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) and Western Destroying Angel (Amanita ocreata). Both contain powerful toxins. Symptoms don’t usually appear until up to 12 hours after consumption. Severe gastrointestinal distress progresses to liver and kidney failure if treatment is not sought immediately.


“Both the Death Cap and Western Destroying Angel grow near oak trees,” said naturalist Trent Pearce, who works at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. “They can be lethal to both humans and pets if consumed.”


Dog owners should keep a close watch on their pets during the winter months and contact a veterinarian immediately if they believe the pet has eaten a toxic mushroom. The Death Cap is a medium to large mushroom that typically has a greenish-gray cap, white gills, a white ring around the stem, and a large white sac at the base of the stem. The Western Destroying Angel is a medium to large mushroom that usually has a creamy white cap, white gills, a white ring around the stem that disappears with age, and a thin white sac at the base. Other mushrooms in this area that contain deadly toxins include Galerina and Lepiota species.


In sum, if you collect mushrooms in areas where it is permitted, expertise is a must. For most of us, the best place for mushroom gathering is the local supermarket. If you want to learn more about mushrooms, and see some in the wild, join naturalist Kevin Dixon on a mushroom safari from 10 a.m. to 12 noon Sunday, January 12 at Briones Regional Park near Martinez.


Meet Kevin at the Alhambra Staging Area. It’s off Reliez Valley Road about a mile south of the intersection with Alhambra Valley Road. For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 2750. The Tilden Nature Area plans a Fungal Fair from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26, at the Environmental Education Center. The center is at the north end of Central Park Drive.


Another seasonal phenomenon in the regional parks is the annual overwintering of monarch butterflies at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, very few monarchs have appeared this year in Ardenwood’s eucalyptus groves. However, programs are still planned that describe the butterflies’ life cycle and emphasize how the insects can be protected.


There are programs at the Ardenwood greenhouse from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in January, and from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sundays, January 12 and January 19. A slide presentation on monarchs is scheduled at the Ardenwood granary from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 26.


The historic farm is at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. For information, call (510) 544-2797.


Nearby at Coyote Hills Regional Park, there’s a rare opportunity to see changing wildlife activity at dusk during a hike from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, January 11. The hike is for ages 6 and older, and registration is required. To register, call (888) 327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program 27787.


The park’s new Dumbarton Quarry Bayside Campground is scheduled to open this year. Naturalist Francis Mendoza will lead a preview hike to the site for ages 12 and older, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, January 12. It’s an easy 2½-mile out-and-back walk, during which Mendoza will talk about the history of the quarry and campground. Meet him at the visitor center.


Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. For information, call (510) 544-3220.


At Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda, naturalist Morgan Guenther will host two adult craft night social gatherings from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, January 12, and Saturday, February 8. The project on January 12 is macramé plant hangers from t-shirt yarn; and on February 8 it’s picture frames and wall hangings from magazine paper reeds. The park will provide the project, instruction and supplies.


Registration is required; fee is $10 ($12 for non-district residents). To register, call (888) 327-2757; select option 2 and refer to program 27675 for January 12, and 27684 for February 8. Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Avenue. For details, call (510) 544-3187.


The New Year brings lots of new programs to the regional parks. For information, visit www.ebparks.org.




The Dustbin


In an historical context, the dustbin of history is filled with people and events that have lost their value, either through the passage of time, new information or irrelevance. Along with once important, but now discarded theories and ideologies, the dustbin may also contain concepts and plans that were once bright, shiny objects commanding attention, but now relegated to obscure footnotes, far from public attention or action.


As we enter a new year filled with anticipation, the increasingly rapid transfer of information is not only a boon to society, but a possible perilous deterrent to thoughtful and extensive analysis of current events, their genesis and impact. News cycles are so rapid that in many cases, hot topics of the moment are fleeting; by the next day, or even hour, they are past their prime, eclipsed by another cause célèbre.


At the national level, there have been so many controversies that it is unremarkable to wonder at the pace of change and political shenanigans that have transpired. On the local scene, we have seen our share of hot topics and vigorous debate although not always as flagrant as some of the national hullabaloo. Looking back over the past year, there are many issues that have changed the political landscape and others with potential for continued consideration if retrieved from our local dustbin.


The prime topics of discussion for the southeast Bay Area revolve around transportation, housing, education and economic considerations (i.e. cost of living). Intertwined within these topics is a question of quality of life. What is being done to preserve and promote the health and happiness of those living and working in our communities? An example of a dustbin issue is the creation and implementation of the California Nursery property of Fremont into a historical park. Lost in the tangles of bureaucratic morass and other hot topics, this grand scheme has been dormant, yet brought passionate response when proposed early in 2019. An “update” in November included a self-guided tour map, but what else has been accomplished? Another grand recreational plan that has landed on a shelf of obscurity is the park envisioned at the terminus of Auto Mall Parkway. These ideas are not always permanently relegated to the dust bin, but need to be revived or at least considered on an annual basis.


To be fair, there are many projects including skate parks, dog parks, recreational facilities and other amenities to promote a good quality of life that have progressed and been completed. New civic facilities are in the works and so are streetscapes and mobility action plans. It may be a good exercise for each city council to take time during a work session or council meeting to BRIEFLY outline the projects initiated and completed or in progress. Although this is done in extensive and lengthy documents and reports such as a Capital Improvement Program (CIP), for most citizens there is too much detail involved and eyes glaze over when contemplating such a review.


A benefit of a macro review would be to involve a large group of residents in the process of cleaning out any debris remaining in the dustbin and making sure that our cycle of review is meaningful to as many as possible. Assessments of past actions, if balanced, can become a solid foundation for future growth and prosperity.


It is apparent that growth of industry and population in our area not only brings economic advantages, but adverse impacts as well. Exorbitant housing costs increase the woes of urban crowding – traffic, frustration, crime. With the influx of new workplace opportunities come challenges for our elected leaders. A timely outline of proposed projects will provide constituents with a clear and understandable guide to civic progress.


The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to peek into our dustbin and make sure it is clean for 2020.



Judge allows California's shift to energy saving light bulbs

By Don Thompson

Associated Press


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Dec 31 – A federal judge on Tuesday allowed California's updated light bulb efficiency standards to take effect with the new year.


U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of Sacramento rejected a petition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the American Lighting Association to temporarily block new minimum efficiency standards for light bulbs that the California Energy Commission adopted in November.


The judge said the associations are unlikely to succeed in their lawsuit, which argues that the state rules conflict with federal law.


Mueller said state regulators appear to have acted properly under exemptions that gave special privileges to California and Nevada to adopt tougher regulations more quickly than the U.S. Department of Energy.


In granting the exemptions, “Congress recognized, among other things, California's history of leadership in energy efficiency regulations,” Mueller wrote.


President Donald Trump's administration in September scrapped an Energy Department rule that would have phased out less energy efficient incandescent bulbs nationwide. That decision slowed a years long effort by Congress and previous administrations to switch the nation to LED bulbs and other lighting that uses less electricity.


Mueller's ruling “keeps California at the forefront of the movement to resist the Trump Department of Energy's efforts to tie Americans to the technology of the past,” Noah Horowitz, director of the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “Given our climate crisis, it's appalling that the greedy lighting manufacturers are still fighting these common-sense regulations that deliver massive carbon savings and put money back in consumers' pockets.”


The American Lighting Association's vice president for government engagement, Michael Weems, said the decision sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to federal preemption, “and the consumers of California will suffer as a result.”


“Retailers will be burdened with perfectly good product that is now illegal for sale in California. Consumer access to these products is effectively eliminated,” he said in a statement.


The new regulations include incandescent and halogen candle- and flame-shaped bulbs used in chandeliers and sconces, reflector bulbs used in recessed cans and track lighting, round globe bulbs, and bulbs that can operate at three different light levels. Previous regulations affected other types of light bulbs.


Supporters said the change will save Californians as much as $2.4 billion on their annual utility bills after less efficient bulbs have burned out.



Fire department bids adieu to popular colleagues

Submitted by Fremont Fire Department


Fremont Fire Department (FFD) officials are extending their best wishes to two longtime colleagues who recently retired after serving a combined 50 years with the agency.


Division Chief Michael “Mike” Thomas joined the department as a Firefighter/Paramedic on November 28, 1994. He was subsequently promoted to Fire Engineer in July of 2001, Captain in December of 2004 and Division Chief in 2015. His retirement was announced December 30, 2019.


Over the years Thomas actively participated in numerous department activities including the Recruit Academy, training for suppression personnel, the Medical Supply and U-Cap-It programs, and the State Accreditation of the FFD Tactical Training Center. He also served as an Acting Fire Engineer, Acting Captain, Staff Captain, Division Chief, and Acting Deputy Chief.


FFD officials noted that Thomas also was involved in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Training throughout his career, and consistently sought out opportunities to learn and serve. A respected member of the FFD, he displayed a strong commitment to EMS and Training in to help personnel learn and grow.


Captain Craig Rhoades, who joined the department as a Firefighter/Paramedic on same day as Thomas in 1984, also has had a long and varied career in Fremont. Rhoades was promoted to Fire Engineer in July of 2002 and Captain in October of 2009. His retirement was announced January 2, 2020.


FFD officials said that Rhoades excelled in various department activities over the years including the Recruit Academy and training for suppression personnel. His efforts are most specifically recognized in the areas of Engineer training and development. He embraced assignments related to Driver Operator training, the Engineer’s Academy, development of the engineer’s testing process, and coordination and management of the DMV testing program. Rhoades also served as a Staff Captain and Acting Division Chief.


Over the course of his career, Rhoades also participated as a member of the Special Operations Task Force Team, Operational Training Team, and the Critical Incident Stress Management Team. His supervisors noted that Rhoades displayed a commitment to training, leading department members to increase their knowledge, skills, and abilities.


Both Thomas and Rhoades have been respected members of the FFD and will be missed.



Fremont Police Log

Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD


Monday, December 30

  • At about 6:00 p.m. officers working with San Mateo Police Department arrested two suspects after their vehicle crashed on Thornton Avenue following a high-speed chase eastbound across the Dumbarton Bridge. The suspects, identified by San Mateo police as Jose Longino, 21 and Dania Juarez, 19, both of East Palo Alto, may have been involved in a shooting around 2:30 p.m. in the parking lot at the La Hacienda Market in San Mateo. The shooting victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The case is under investigation by the San Mateo Police Department. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Nick Morsilli at (650) 522-7670 or by email at nmorsilli@cityofsanmateo.org. Anonymous tips can be submitted to http://tinyurl.com/SMPDTips or by calling (650) 522-7676.


Tuesday, December 31

  • At about 7:46 a.m. officers tried to make a traffic stop to serve a warrant to a man identified by police as Marquice McClinton. However, McClinton failed to stop and led officers on a six-minute pursuit through city streets before he crashed into an occupied vehicle on Mowry Avenue and Civic Center Drive. He was safely taken into custody and booked into Santa Rita Jail. There we no major injuries, but a patrol car sustained minor damage.



Generation She exposes girls to entrepreneurship

Submitted by Avni Barman


In 2019, Generation She came together with Snap, Inc. to beta test an idea under the name She Leads. They gathered 150 high-achieving high school girls in a room for two days of ideation, design-thinking, prototyping, digital design, and marketing. Each student ended the makeathon with a fully built prototype and pitch deck of a viable business idea. They had over 15 successful female founders join them that weekend including Rosie of Sugarfina, Angie of BOOMCHICKAPOP, and Jen of Knock Knock Stuff. Twelve high school girls went home with a mentor (a current successful female founder) who would work with them over the course of the next year to take their business idea to the next level and make it a reality.


The event was an extraordinary success with 93% of attendees reporting back that they had changed their outlook about their career and now wanted to pursue entrepreneurship. Comments from attendees include:


“I always thought about working for someone, but never saw myself as a leader.”


“I want to continue following my dreams and inspiring other young female entrepreneurs as I go. This was really a life changing experience I know I want to create an impact like She Leads has in me.”


The organizers took She Leads, built upon it with all that they learned, and give you: Generation She. Generation She’s mission is the same—to build the next generation of female leaders by investing specifically in this generation, Gen Z. Gen Z women are a powerful group of digital natives, driven by what is right, and with the passion to make change happen. Generation She wants to close the gender gap in the current leadership landscape by instilling young women with a sense of ownership and entrepreneurial spirit.


On January 25-26 2020, they will be hosting their second entrepreneurship makeathon at Lyft HQ in San Francisco where attendees will learn from and build with the founders of Urban Decay and Health-Ade Kombucha. At the makeathon, attendees will learn the steps to start and run their own problem-solving businesses, build their resumes, and position themselves for leadership positions in high school, college, and (eventually!) the Fortune 500.


Buy your ticket today at http://bit.ly/GenShe-SF2020. (Use code “TRYCITYVOICE” for 30% off your purchase!)


If you know a high schooler who would be interested in being a brand ambassador for Generation She, please have the student apply at: bit.ly/genshe-ambassador. All ambassadors will receive a 50% discount toward an early bird ticket and receive exclusive Gen She materials and merch. Additionally, there are numerous scholarships available to attend for free! Please have the student apply at: bit.ly/genshe-scholarship.


We are also actively looking for new sponsors, partners, speakers, and female founders who would like to get involved. Follow us on IG, LinkedIn, or Facebook to keep up with all things Generation She! Learn more at generationshe.co.


Generation She conference

Saturday, Jan 25 – Sunday, Jan 26

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Lyft HQ

185 Berry St. #5000, San Francisco





Georgia town bets on giant bushy chicken to attract tourists

AP Wire Service


FITZGERALD, Ga. (AP), Oct 23 – Why did the tourists cross the road? One south Georgia town hopes it will be to see a giant bushy chicken statue.


Fitzgerald Mayor Jim Puckett tells local news outlets that the town is building the world's largest chicken topiary, a 62-foot (19-meter) steel-framed chicken with plants growing on it.


Wild Burmese chickens have long roamed Fitzgerald. Puckett aims to leverage that reputation to draw tourists.


He says: “They want to see chickens, so we're going to show them a chicken.”


The city is spending $150,000 on the topiary, designed to top the 56-foot (17-meter) tall steel “Big Chicken” at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Marietta.


Puckett says the Fitzgerald topiary could even include an apartment for overnight rentals and an observation deck. It should be ready by year's end.



Girl Scouts donate blankets

Submitted by Cara Kundrat


This past month, Girl Scout Troop 33952 (Newark/Fremont) recently completed two community service projects. The girls collected new and gently-used towels, blankets, and baby socks for the Tri-City Animal Shelter and delivered huge bags full of all the goodies to the shelter.


The girls also used cookie sale proceeds to buy enough fleece fabric to make and deliver 10 brand new no-sew blankets to the Fremont Warming Center. The blankets were distributed Tuesday evening, December 10th — keeping our underserved community a bit warmer and cozier at night. Tuesday was also a warming center client’s birthday, and the client received one of our troop’s blankets as a gift.


Girl Scout Troop 33952 is a multi-level group with Daisies, Brownies and Juniors in grades K-5. The girls who participated in the projects are:


Daisies: Natalia Craig, Nadia Contreras, Saheli Jayakody, Carina Kundrat, Lauren Miott, Calliope Smith, and Emilia Zuno


Brownies: Mckenzie Dapelo, Ava Marden, and Madeleine Monzon


Juniors: Katie Clinton, Natalia Contreras, Danika Dapelo, Elliot Hawkes, Adiana Kundrat, Laila Mena, Keren Mendoza, Isabella Parra, and Addyson Wolf


Leaders: Christine Clinton and Cara Kundrat



Shape Our Fremont

General Plan Amendment Requests


Fremont’s General Plan defines how and where the city will grow in the future. Any developer who proposes to make an amendment to the general plan must first submit a General Plan Amendment (GPA) Screening Request for review. The screening request is sent to the planning commission for its recommendation and to the city council for a decision whether the amendment would be consistent with the city’s long-range goals and in the best interests of Fremont. Comments from residents are an important part of this screening process. There are two GPA screening requests that will be considered in the next few weeks.


If the council decides it will not consider making the requested changes, the proposal cannot proceed, and must either be revised or withdrawn. If the council indicates they would consider making the changes, they would authorize the developer to submit a formal request for the general plan amendment and detailed plans of the development to be reviewed by city staff. This review may take six to nine months. If an existing building on the site is eligible for historic designation, or if the site is within an Historic Overlay District, the Historic Architecture Review Board would have to review the proposal. It would then go to the planning commission and city council.


Ellsworth Residential

Robson Homes wants to build 16 two-story, detached multi-family houses on two adjacent vacant parcels at 43401 and 43431 Ellsworth Street in the Mission San Jose Town Center. The site is opposite the post office and extends north along the west side of Ellsworth to Grove Avenue. Two of the houses are proposed to be deed-restricted affordable housing for families in the moderate income range. The rest would be market-rate. There would not be any commercial space in the development.


In the screening request, the developer is asking Fremont to consider changing the general plan designation of the properties from Commercial – Town Center to Residential – Medium Density and changing the zoning from Town Center – Pedestrian to R-3-18 Multi-Family Residential. Because the proposal is for a multi-family development, all the houses would be on small lots with small side setbacks between them, and no back yards. The housing density would be about twice the density of nearby residential neighborhoods. One point that might be considered is that the site is within the Mission San Jose Historic Overlay District. Another point is that these properties were recently recommended to be part of the Mission San Jose primary commercial area, and city staff is working on a master plan to incorporate some of those recommendations. This was supposed to be a commercial area, not residential.


Robson Homes will host a community meeting to view the proposal from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 9, in the Olive Hyde Center meeting room at the corner of Washington and Mission Boulevards. All residents are invited to attend, ask questions, and express their views to the developer.


Rex Homes

In Niles, Hogan Land Services proposes to build five two-story, detached single-family houses on a vacant lot at 36400 Niles Boulevard at the corner of Nursery Avenue. All the houses would be offered at market-rate; although the developer has indicated that below-market-rate affordable housing would acceptable if the city would also grant concessions and incentive for increases in allowable density.


In the screening request, the developer is asking the city to consider changing the general plan designation from Open Space – Private to Residential – Low Density and changing the zoning from P-71-3 HOD to R-1-6 Single-Family Residential. The site may be within the Niles Historic Overlay District, and that may be a factor in the consideration. Another factor may be that the site is adjacent to a busy intersection and a railroad crossing.



These two GPA Screening Requests are scheduled to be heard by the planning commission on Thursday, January 23. The tentative date for the city council hearing is Thursday, February 25. Residents are encouraged to attend these meetings and express their comments. Residents may also send separate written comments about each GPA request to city staff planner Hang Zhou at hzhou@fremont.gov. For more information, view the GPA page at www.ShapeOurFremont.com.



Thanks for a job well done!

Submitted by Hayward PD


After four years of service, two Hayward Police Explorers are bidding the department adieu and retiring at the ripe young age of 21.


At a Thursday, December 26 ceremony, Explorer Lieutenant Jonathan Park and Explorer Stephanie Rodriguez were recognized for their service in Explorer Post No. 275 by Explorer advisors Captain Bryan Matthews and Jeannie Quan.


The purpose of the Police Explorer Program is to provide young adults (under age 21), who may be interested in a career in law enforcement, with a comprehensive program of training, competition, service and practical experiences.


Park plans to continue his studies at Chabot College in Hayward and serving in the military as a Reserve Marine. Rodriguez recently graduated a semester early from Cal State East Bay in Hayward and plans to pursue a job as a police officer.


More information about the Police Explorer program is available on the City of Hayward website at www.hayward-ca.gov/. Type “police explorer program” into the search box and follow the prompts. For details, call the Explorer Program Coordinator at (510) 293-7054.



Alaskan city sees heat and snowfall records in single day

AP Wire Service


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP), Nov 17 – Alaskans have experienced both a record high temperature and a record amount of snowfall in the same day.


The Anchorage Daily News reports the Municipality of Anchorage saw snowfall of more than a foot Saturday after tying a temperature record set in 1967.


The National Weather Service says the city tied the high-temperature record by reaching 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 Celsius) around 3 a.m.


The weather service says southeast winds blew warm air into the city before the winds subsided, temperatures dropped and snow fell.


Snow levels at the weather service's office broke the 1958 record of 8.3 inches (21 centimeters) by 1/10th of an inch.


Officials say the snow varied from 5 inches (13 centimeters) in the city to more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in nearby Eagle River.




Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com



Felony Vehicular Manslaughter Hit and Run Charges Filed

Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD


A 28-year-old man has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter hit and run in the August fatality that occurred on Boyce Road just before 5 a.m., on August 28, 2019.


28-year-old Fremont resident Kiranjot Deol was riding his bicycle as he often did to a tech company in Menlo Park where he worked. As he rode in the bicycle lane on Boyce Road, between Auto Mall Parkway and Stewart Avenue, in the City of Fremont, he was struck and killed by a motorist who initially fled the scene.


Eventually the motorist, 25-year-old Rosendo Cruz Vargas, a Ceres, California resident returned to the scene where he found Kiranjot Deol deceased in the bicycle lane. Vargas phoned 911 and Fremont police and fire personnel immediately responded, along with an ambulance. Deol was pronounced deceased as he lay in the bicycle lane.


After a lengthy investigation of the evidence, investigating officers determined probable cause existed that Rosendo Vargas had committed vehicular manslaughter and hit and run. Officers presented their case to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for criminal charges and Vargas was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter along with felony hit and run.


Vargas self-surrendered to Fremont Traffic Investigators on December 12th and was taken into custody.  Vargas has since been released pending future court proceedings.



Honor Roll


Belmont University, Tennessee

Fall 2019 Dean’s List

  • Samantha Silva, Fremont



New president’s mission: grow pet adoptions, services

Submitted by Klaudia Simon


Officials from Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) are welcoming Kurt Krukenberg as the non-profit organization’s new president. Krukenberg took the helm on January 6 from Carol Novello, who recently stepped down after 10 years with the organization. She plans to move across the country to spend more time with family but stay connected with HSSV as part of the organization’s Board Alumni Ambassadors.


Krukenberg is no stranger to HSSV, having served as former Board Chair of the Milpitas-based organization. “I am thrilled to step into this role at a time when HSSV has both a strong foundation of existing capabilities and an ambitious strategic plan to further expand our mission impact,” he said.


He also expressed gratitude for Novello’s time as HSSV president: “I am grateful beyond words for Carol’s extraordinary leadership over the past decade and her unwavering commitment to HSSV’s success. It’s inspiring to see everything HSSV has accomplished with the support of our amazing staff, dedicated volunteers, and generous donors.” Before stepping down, Novello described her career with HSSV as a positive experience: “I deeply love this organization and all of the people who collectively come together to accomplish such amazing outcomes for both animals and people in Silicon Valley and beyond.”


Established in 1929, HSSV offers quality adoptions, affordable spaying/neutering, vaccinations and microchipping services, pet care services and education programs to residents throughout Santa Clara County.


HSSV Animal Community Center

901 Ames Ave., Milpitas

Weekdays: 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(408) 262-2133 ex. 150




Traffic relief may be on the way in 2020

Submitted by Tess Lengyel


Now that the holidays are over and the new year has arrived, traffic jams have again clogged many local freeways as morning and evening commuters travel to work or schools.


One of the busiest commuting corridors in the East Bay is Interstate 680. Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) officials say this roadway, which slices through Fremont between Highway 84 at Sunol and State Route 237 in Milpitas is among the Bay Area’s top 10 most congested corridors.


While slogging along, many drivers might be wondering when traffic relief may come. It could be as soon as this autumn, according to ACTC officials. Construction on a northbound express lane along the thoroughfare broke ground in April 2018 and is scheduled for completion late this year. The work is part of the Interstate 680 Sunol Express Lane project which has been in operation since 2010.


The two-phase project has involved converting high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT)/express lanes along southbound I-680 corridor. Conversion required additional roadway widening and installation of tolling equipment throughout the project corridor.


When the project was approved by ACTC in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the goals of the project included:


  • Widening the freeway to accommodate the HOV/express lane together with several auxiliary lanes to facilitate the smooth and safe transition of traffic between local streets and the freeway between interchanges.
  • Adding a new 9-mile HOV/express lane and associated improvements between Auto Mall Parkway and SR-84, providing congestion relief in the corridor.
  • Upgrading the I-680 Southbound Express Lane access configuration from controlled access to a near continuous access configuration.
  • Modifying bridge crossings.
  • Construction of retaining walls to accommodate the widening.
  • Repaving the full project limits.


The second phase goals include widening the roadway from State Route 262 (Mission Boulevard in Fremont) to the Santa Clara County line, and:


  • Construction of HOV/high occupancy toll lanes in the northbound direction on I-680 from the county line south of SR-262.
  • Construction of nearly five miles of HOV/express lane along the I-680 corridor through widening, along with other necessary improvements, including structure widening/modification and retaining walls.


More details about the I-680 Sunol Express Lanes project are posted on the ATCT website at https://www.alamedactc.org/i-680-sunol-express-lanes-phase-i/.





Monday – Friday, Dec 6 – Jan 17

Veterans Art Project Exhibit

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Art projects created by veterans and their partners

John O'Lague Galleria

777 B St., Hayward

(510) 538-2787



Fridays, Jan 3 – Jan 31

Toddler Ramble: Is There a Storm Brewing? $

10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Kids 1-3 learn about weather through play and exploration

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center

4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward

(510) 670-7270



Saturdays – Sundays, Jan 4 – Jan 26

Monarchs: Pollinator Royalty

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Learn how butterflies affect our surroundings

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Saturdays – Sundays, Jan 4 – Jan 26

Monarch Spotting

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.; 1/12, 1/19 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Use a spotting scope to look for butterflies

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797


Saturdays – Sundays, Jan 4 – Jan 26

Nature Crafts

10 a.m. – 12 noon

Discover the natural world through your artistic side

Sunol Regional Wilderness

1895 Geary Rd., Sunol

(510) 544-3249


Saturdays – Sundays, Jan 4 – Feb 29

Wild Wonders

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Games, activities, crafts for all ages

Sunol Regional Wilderness

1895 Geary Rd., Sunol

(510) 544-3249



Thursday – Sunday, Jan 7 – Mar 31

Animal Feeding $

3 p.m.

Check for eggs, feed animals hay. Meet at Chicken Coop

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Thursday – Sunday, Jan 11 – Feb 8

Symphony of Color – Abstract 7

12 noon – 5 p.m.

Abstract art exhibit

Olive Hyde Art Gallery

123 Washington Blvd., Fremont

(510) 791-4357



Mondays, Jan 13 – Mar 30

Job Lab

12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

One-on-one help for job seekers

Castro Valley Library

3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley

(510) 667-7900



Friday – Sunday, Jan 17 – Feb 1

The Wizard of Oz $

Fri – Sat: 7:30 p.m., Sun: 2:30 p.m., Sat 2/1: 1 p.m.

Breathtaking special effects, dazzling choreography and classic songs

Jackson Theater, Smith Center at Ohlone College

43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 659-6031

(510) 659-1319


Friday nights

Laugh Track City $

8 p.m.

Fast-paced improv comedy show

Made Up Theatre

4000 Bay St., Suite B, Fremont

(510) 573-3633



Saturday nights

8 p.m.

Audience-inspired improv play

Made Up Theatre

4000 Bay St., Suite B, Fremont

(510) 573-3633






Wednesday, Jan 8

Science is Fun

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Students in grades 1-4 learn about wind power

Fremont Main Library

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 745-1421



Thursday, Jan 9

Social Media and Innovation

10 a.m.- 12 noon

Maximize social media to grow your business and customer base

Fremont Main Library

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 745-1421



Thursday, Jan 9

Libertarian Party of Alameda County

7:15 p.m.

Meeting and election of officers

Englander Restaurant

101 Parrott St., San Leandro



Thursday, Jan 9

Startup Grind Meeting R

6 p.m.

Idea to funding- get an investor’s perspective

Peerbuds Innovation Labs

4580 Auto Mall Pkwy #121, Fremont



Thursday, Jan 9

Music for Minors II Kids Choir Audition

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Open to all first through sixth graders

Niles Elementary School

37141 2nd St., Fremont

(510) 733-1189



Thursday, Jan 9 – Sunday, Jan 12

The Little Mermaid $

Thurs – Sat: 7:00 p.m., Sat: 2:30 p.m., Sun: 1 p.m. & 5 p.m.

1/9 at 9:00 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Musical adaptation based on the story and Disney film

Milpitas Community Center

457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas

(408) 586-3210



Friday, Jan 10 – Saturday, Jan 11

Build a Better Birdhouse Battle

Fri: 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Sat: 12 noon – 2 p.m.

Hayward, Mt. Eden and Tennyson high school students build stylish bird homes

Sun Gallery

1015 E St., Hayward

(510) 581-4050



Friday, Jan 10

Family Story Time

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Stories, songs and fingerplays. Ages 2-5

Niles Library

150 “I” Street, Fremont

(510) 795-2626



Friday, Jan 10


3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Love to build? Get creative with bricks

Niles Library

150 “I” Street, Fremont

(510) 795-2626



Saturday, Jan 11

Brask House Concerts: Caliban Trio $

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Celtic music and fiddle

Mission Coffee Roasting Company

151 Washington Blvd., Fremont

(510) 623-6920



Saturday, Jan 11

Documentary Film “Circles”

1:30 p.m.

Inspirational portrait of a father who fights racial discrimination

Niles Discovery Church of Fremont

36600 Niles Blvd., Fremont

(510) 797-0895



Saturday, Jan 11

Monarchs For Kids

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 am.

Educational look at butterflies. Ages 3-6

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Saturday, Jan 11

Cart of Curiosities

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Find the cart filled with wonders of cultural and natural history

Coyote Hills

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Saturday, Jan 11

Dusk Discovery

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

See the beauty and diversity of Coyote Hills at dusk

Coyote Hills

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Saturday, Jan 11

How to Plant and Water Trees

10 a.m. – 12 noon

Learn about the 50-50 Street Tree program with City of Fremont

Fremont Main Library Fukaya Room A

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 574-2063



Saturday, Jan 11

Bird Photography in the Central Valley $

1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Birding trip to Cosumnes River Preserve. Ages 12+

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center

4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward

(510) 670-7270



Saturday, Jan 11

Census 2020 Town Hall R

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Join Assemblymember Kansen Chu and learn about the upcoming Census 2020

Summerdale Elementary School

1100 Summerdale Dr., San Jose

(408) 22-2501


Saturday, Jan 11

Second Saturday Author Series

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Marjorie Johnson reads from her mystery adventure-thriller “Bird Watcher”

Half Price Books

39152 Fremont Blvd., Fremont

(510) 744-0333



Saturday, Jan 11

Science Explorers: Phases of Matter & the Sun’s Energy

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Explore science in a fun and exciting way with experiments. Ages. 7+

Centerville Library

3801 Nicolet Ave., Fremont

(510) 795-2629



Saturday, Jan 11

Centerville Drama Club

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Become more comfortable with speaking in front of a crowd. Kids in grades 1-5

Centerville Library

3801 Nicolet Ave., Fremont

(510) 795-2629



Saturday, Jan 11

Storytime with Sara

11 a.m.

“Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise”

Books on B

1014 B St., Hayward

(510) 538-3943



Saturday, Jan 11

The Long Sleep $

7:30 p.m.

“Rip Van Winkle”

Niles Essanay Theater

37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont

(510) 494-1411



Saturday, Jan 11

Poetry at the Bette

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Local poets Florence Miller, James M. LeCuyer and Robin Michel

Frank Bette Center for the Arts

1601 Paru St., Alameda



Sunday, Jan 12

Puppet Show

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Farmyard puppets perform the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Sunday, Jan 12

Birding the Shoreline

8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

2 mile walk to the shoreline. Ages 15+

Hayward Shoreline at West Winton

3050 West Winton Ave., Hayward

(510) 670-7270



Sunday, Jan 12

Dumbarton Quarry Bayside Campground Hike

1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

2.5-mile hike. Learn history of the quarry. Meet at Quarry parking lot. Ages 12+

Coyote Hills

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Sunday, Jan 12

Weekend Weed Warriors

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Volunteer to remove litter from the shoreline

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center

4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward

(510) 670-7270



Sunday, Jan 12

Tom Rigney and Flambeau Performance $

1 p.m.

Cajun zydeco, blues and funk music. Benefit for LOV

Thornton Jr. High, Multi-Use Auditorium

4357 Thornton Ave., Fremont

(510) 659-2542



Sunday, Jan 12

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Program

3 p.m.

King’s 2020 Vision: The Beloved Community-The Fierce Urgency of Now

First Presbyterian Church of Newark

35450 Newark Blvd., Newark


(510) 793-8181


Sunday, Jan 12

Poets Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver and Gerard Manley Hopkins

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Companions on our Spiritual Journey, presented by S. Katherine Jean Cowan

Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

43326 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 933-6335



Sunday, Jan 12

Tango: A Lecture & Demonstration

2 p.m.

Multimedia talk on the history of the tango, plus live performance

Castro Valley Library

3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley

(510) 667-7900



Sunday, Jan 12

Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee $

4 p.m.

“The Spanking Age”, “Habeas Corpus”, “Saturday's Lesson”, “Wrong Again”

Niles Essanay Theater

37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont

(510) 494-1411



Sunday, Jan 12

Essence of Indian Art

2 p.m.

Dance presentation unravels the mysteries of Bharatanatyam

Union City Branch Library

34007 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City

(510) 745-1464


Monday, Jan 13

Outdoor Discoveries: Water, Water Everywhere!  R

10:30 a.m. – 12 noon

Preschool and home school nature series. Ages 4-8

Sunol Regional Wilderness

1895 Geary Rd., Sunol

(510) 544-3249



Monday, Jan 13

Lawyer in the Library R

6 p.m.

Free 20 min. consultation

Castro Valley Library

3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley

(510) 667-7900



Tuesday, Jan 14

Weekday Bird Walk

7:30 a.m. – 930 a.m.

Enjoy bird life on tranquil trail. Bring water, sunscreen and binoculars. Ages 12+

Coyote Hills

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Tuesday, Jan 14

Outsmarting Investment Fraud

6:30 p.m.

Learn about the common tactics fraudsters use

Fremont Main Library

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 745-1421



Tuesday, Jan 14

The Best Animal Minds R

7 p.m.

Fascinating look into unexpected levels of animal intelligence

Castro Valley Library

3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley

(510) 667-7900




Colts Junior Varsity prevails

Submitted and photos by Mike Heightchew


The James Logan Colts Junior Varsity took control early in their January 3rd meeting with the Newark Memorial Cougars. By halftime, the Colts held a 10-point lead and although the Cougars found their offense in the third quarter, it was too late to catch the Colts. Final score: Colts 67, Cougars 48.



Mermaid magic coming to Milpitas

Submitted by Cheryl Oldham


Young performers will soon take to the stage in Milpitas in a lively stage musical adaption of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Sponsored by Center Stage Performing Arts, the show is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and Disney Film produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker.


Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, January 9-10; 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Saturday, January 11; 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Sunday, January 12 at the Milpitas Community Center. Tickets at the door are $15 general seating; $18 reserved seating. Advanced reserved seating tickets are $12 if purchased before January 9.


Advance tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com. Type “The Little Mermaid” into the search box and follow the prompts to the Milpitas production. For details, call (408) 586-3210.


“The Little Mermaid”

Thursday – Friday, Jan 9-10: 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan 11: 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan 12: 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Milpitas Community Center

457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas

(408) 586-3210


Tickets: $12 advance; $15 – $18 at the door



Local poets read their work

Submitted by Robin Michel


Florence Miller, James M. LeCuyer, and Robin Michel will be featured readers at “Poetry at the Bette,” in Alameda, on Saturday, January 11.


Florence Miller’s second poetry collection, After Rain a Little Girl Straightening Worms (Raven & Wren Press) was released in 2019 when Florence was 96. Upriver (Shakespeare’s Sisters Press), her first book, was published in 2012. Her work appears in many publications, including Modern Haiku, the Paterson Literary Review, Blue Unicorn, LYNX, Brussels Sprout, Passager, Crazy Ladies and Milvia Street. Florence taught Creating Writing and English at McClymonds High School in Oakland, and the 1972 Emmy-winning film Can You Hear Me? Young Black Poets from the Ghetto is based on her students and their work.


Florence Miller, who lives in Fremont, was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1922. Her family moved to West Orange soon after. Many of Florence’s poems capture the pain and confusion she experienced when her father lost his drugstore and the family home during the Great Depression.


Poet and writer James M. LeCuyer’s most recently published book is a collection of short fiction, Duck Lessons (Darkhouse Books, 2018). He has also published two collections of poetry, Threnody for Sturgeon, and A Brick for Offissa Pup (Floating Island Press, 1979).


Raven & Wren Press publisher Robin Michel is also a writer and poet whose work can be seen in San Pedro River Review, Rappahannock Review, and South 85 Journal. She belongs to the poetry collectives, Fresh Ink (East Bay) and Wild Women Writing (SF). In 2019, she founded the Raven & Wren Press in order to help “feather a nest” for Florence’s exceptionally fine and moving poetry. Michel says, “Working with Florence on After Rain a Little Girl Straightening Worms has been an incredible gift and learning experience, and I am profoundly grateful to her.”


Poetry at the Bette is hosted by Wulf Losee on the second Saturday of each month at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. The event showcases local talent, mostly poets and writers but also singer-songwriters, dancers, storytellers, stand-up comedians, and other creatives. After the featured artists open each session, there is a short break, followed by an open mic. For more information, please visit www.frankbettecenter.org.


Poetry at the Bette

Saturday, Jan 11

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Frank Bette Center for the Arts

1601 Paru St., Alameda




Last six seconds secure win for Colts

Submitted and photos by Mike Heightchew


Every year the Newark Memorial Cougars – James Logan Colts (Union City) varsity basketball matchup has been a ferociously fought game as usually both teams are in the mix for a Mission Valley Athletic League title at season’s end. The games are always exciting and suspenseful; the 2020 version on January 3rd was no different. In fact, it came down to the last six seconds of the game to determine which team would walk off the hardwood as the winner.


The Colts jumped off to an 8-point lead in the first quarter with great outside shooting and good defensive play but in the second quarter, the Cougars defense stiffened and fought to within three points. At halftime, the score was close 27-24. The second half featured a back and forth battle for supremacy and neither team was able to shake the other out of contention. With 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Cougars tied the game 58-58 leading to an overtime drama.


In overtime, the Colts pulled away with a four-point lead and it looked like they would prevail. However, true to the nature of the previous four quarters, the Cougars would not relinquish the game without a ferocious battle, tying the score at 64 each. In the play of the night, the Colts would gain control of the ball with 6.1 seconds left on the clock and score the winning basket to pull off a dramatic 67-65 victory.


Congratulations to both teams for a truly exciting and well-played game.



West Virginia woman reunited with wallet lost 15 years ago

AP Wire Service


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP), Nov 04 – A West Virginia woman has been reunited with a wallet she lost in 2004.


Catrina Napier tells WCHS-TV she got the wallet back on Friday after a student found it in a Spring Valley High bathroom.


Student Michael Tyree says he found the wallet in the rubble of a bathroom ceiling that collapsed. Tyree says he reached out to Napier on social media.


Among the items inside the wallet were a driver's license, a Social Security card and high school photos.


Napier says she doesn't know how her wallet ended up in a ceiling but suspects that pranksters were behind it. She says she's glad to get back “a little piece of your childhood that you had forgot about.”


She says she's glad “there's still honest kids around that want to do good things.”



Information from: WCHS-TV, http://www.wchstv.com



Complete Guide to Magnolias

Article and photos by Lalitha Visveswaran


Every year, from mid-January to March, 100 rare and historic magnolias burst into pinks, magentas, pale yellows, and whites in a pastel riot; some are over 80 feet tall, and many have come from faraway lands to San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Magnolias start out as silvery velvet spikey cones and then unfurl as living art.


Magnolias are ancient. It is thought that they appeared even before bees did, and were originally pollinated by beetles. Fossilized specimens of the genus have been dated as far back as 95 million years. The flower is wide ranging now, from Asia to the Americas, and from the West Indies to Australia.


In America, magnolias can be evergreen or deciduous. Evergreen varieties are summer blooming such as Magnolia grandiflora, which have large leathery leaves and large cup-shaped creamy white flowers. The deciduous varieties such as M. dendata and M. liliiflora have saucer shapes, while M. stellata and M. koubus are shaped like stars, are early blooming, and vary in color from white to purple. Not all magnolias are fragrant, but tropical varieties like M. champaca and M. champaca alba can have intensely fragrant blooms.


The hardiness of magnolias ranges from zone 7 to zone 9. Magnolias are generally planted in late winter or early spring. They can be purchased balled and burlaped as well as in containers, and buying larger plants guarantees a spring bloom. They need to be at least seven years old for their first bloom, although some start flowering after the fifth year. Deciduous magnolias burst into a riot of colors for a short time as they wake up from their dormant state. As flowers fall, leaves appear; it is quite a show and makes a very attractive addition to any garden.


Magnolias thrive in full sun and partial shade. Their soil should be humus rich and preferably well drained. The PH of the soil should be neutral and maybe a touch acidic. They are highly intolerant of salt buildup in soil; when soil becomes dry, they need deep irrigation so their roots can soak up and leach out the salts. They also appreciate a thick layer of mulch to keep the soil moist and cool. Allowing soil to go dry, especially when it is being set, is a sure way to kill the young tree.


Top heavy magnolias do better with staking. A pair of stakes grounded on either side of the main trunk before transplanting from pot/burlap ball to soil will protect the roots. Dig a square hole that is twice as deep as the root ball and fill with good soil mixed with manure. Top with mulch. Water deeply. As the tree gets bigger, a slow release balanced fertilizer will make growth even and stress free. A 15-gallon plant will need fertilizing for at least three years after it is set down. Time it so the fertilizer pellets are applied in March, May, and July. Just one cup will do in the first year; every year, double the amount of fertilizer. As the canopy grows bigger, sprinkle from the canopy edge to a little beyond. After the fourth year, there is no need for fertilizer. If you are using liquid fertilizer, adjust accordingly. Keep an eye on the leaves. If they start yellowing between the veins of the older leaves, they need some extra nutrients.


Evergreen magnolias can be found all over Alameda County as street trees, and California weather is very suitable for this variety. Evergreen magnolias can grow as tall as 50-60 feet and they have a wide canopy. They do shed their leaves in autumn but on the bright side, during summer, they are shade-givers. The flowers are summer blooming and they appreciate a light pruning in spring. I always find that it is better to leave fallen leaves to decompose as they become mulch and keep the ground protected. Deciduous varieties bloom earlier, and they can be pruned and trimmed after flowering is over in the spring.


Do remember that magnolias do not produce any nectar, but they produce a lot of pollen. When cities choose magnolias and often only the male magnolias for easy maintenance, they end up creating pollen zones leading to high rates of asthma and pollen allergies during spring. One must be mindful of this before planting magnolias where there are already plenty of them.


Bees love magnolia pollens because they are rich in protein and have high nutritional value. Instead of nectar/honey, they secrete a sugary substance that is sticky and attracts bees. Magnolia fruits are reddish-brown and have cone like structures, two to four inches long, with bright red kidney shaped seeds maturing from October to November.


Magnolias are known to live for over a hundred years under favorable conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the bark and flower buds of M. officianlis have been used to treat anxiety and are supposed to have anti-angiogenic properties. In Japan, the leaves of M. obovata have been used for wrapping food and as cooking dishes. In India, M. champaca is used in perfumes because of its fragrant properties.


Every year, within a small window of time, magnolias put on a show, feed birds and bees, and give us shade for the rest of the year. Perhaps you already have this beautiful tree or maybe this might encourage you to plant your first magnolia. I hope this beautiful tree that bears flowers that hearten our souls stays in spirit as we welcome 2020.



Lalitha Visveswaran is a full-time farmer at Jellicles Farm in the Sunol AgPark. www.jelliclesfarm.com



Local Author Reads Her Mystery Adventure/Thriller

Submitted by Nancy Guarnera


It’s “Second Saturday” 2020! Fremont Area Writers (FAW) author Marjorie Johnson will read from her book Bird Watcher at Half Price Books in the Fremont Hub on Saturday, January 11 from 2 to 4 p.m.


Who is the bird watcher, and why does he steal airplanes?


When Jerry Christensen’s Cessna disappears from its tie-down at Palo Alto Airport, Air Traffic Control can’t help, and the FBI isn’t interested. Jerry, a teacher, is unsuited to pursue a criminal, but he’s determined to catch the thief. Acting on hunches and using his imagination, Jerry chases the thief across California, Nevada, and South Dakota to their final destination. If you like mysteries, don’t miss the first FAW reading of the New Year.


Johnson is a small-plane pilot and has years of flight time and a wealth of knowledge in the area of aviation. She brings her real-world experience to her book, and looks forward to sharing her own personal stories with her audience. The author will have books to purchase and will happily inscribe them.


FAW, the local branch of the California Writers Club (CWC), is partnering with Half Price Books to give the Tri-City community an opportunity to experience local authors and their work. These events are held every second Saturday of the month and will feature a different FAW author at each event. Everyone is welcome! For more information go to www.cwc-fremontareawriters.org.


Marjorie Johnson author reading

Saturday, Jan 11

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Half Price Books

39152 Fremont Hub, Fremont




Milpitas Police Log

Submitted by Sgt. Tyler Jamison, Milpitas PD


  • At about 9:45 p.m. security personnel at the Great Mall of the Bay Area found a suspicious unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot with a large amount of merchandise with security censors still attached inside the car. They also noticed a pair of pliers on the dashboard and called police. Officers watched the vehicle until a woman, later identified by police as Grace Marie Naffa, 29, of San Jose, got inside and started to drive away. Officers made a traffic stop and discovered Naffa was on Santa Clara County probation for a narcotics violation and had an outstanding warrant. Inside the car they found stolen merchandise and credit cards. Naffa was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail and faces various felony charges.



Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration

Submitted by Afro-American Cultural Historical Society


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more than just another man. His words and leadership not only helped African Americans make great strides through the Civil Rights Movement, but also inspired generations of Americans with a message of hope.


The Afro-American Cultural Historical Society established the annual celebration honoring Dr. King six years before the federal government declared a national holiday recognizing his accomplishments because his message and his life are that important to America. The celebration, which fills the room every year with people from all backgrounds, helps to inform youth and members of our community about the importance of passing on King’s message.


“Every generation has to make its own stand for freedom, for justice, for peace,” said the Rev. Clarence Johnson of Mills Grove Christian Church in Oakland, a speaker at one of our past programs. “We have inherited a wonderful legacy from Dr. King.”


This year the guest speaker will be Reverend Mark Gaskins on the theme of “King’s 2020 Vision: The Beloved Community – the Fierce Urgency of Now.” There will also be special guest performances, and a children’s MLK art exhibition. A reception will follow the program.


By attending the event, families get a chance to connect with their neighbors and hear stories of hope from people with similar backgrounds who encourage them not to fall prey to fear or hatred, and not to lose sight of the bigger dream of which King so famously spoke.


43rd Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

Sunday, Jan 12

3 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church of Newark

35450 Newark Blvd., Newark

(510) 793-8181




Spot the Young Stars of the Hyades and Pleiades

By David Prosper


Orion is the last of a trio of striking star patterns to rise during the late fall and early winter months, preceded by the diminutive Pleiades and larger Hyades in Taurus. All three are easily spotted rising in the east in early January evenings, and are textbook examples of stars in different stages of development.


The famous Orion Nebula (M42), found in Orion’s “Sword,” is a celestial nursery full of newly-born “baby stars” and still-incubating “protostars,” surrounded by the gas from which they were born. Next to Orion we find the Hyades, in Taurus, with their distinctive “V’ shape. The Hyades are young but mature stars, hundreds of millions of years old and widely dispersed. Imagine them as “young adult” stars venturing out from their hometown into their new galactic apartments. Bright orange Aldebaran stands out in this group but is not actually a member; it just happens to be in between us and the Hyades.


Traveling from Orion to the Hyades we then find the small, almost dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster (M45). These are “teenage stars,” younger than the Hyades, but older than the newborn stars of the Orion Nebula. These bright young stars are still relatively close together, but have dispersed their birth cocoon of stellar gas, like teenagers venturing around the neighborhood with friends and wearing their own clothes but remaining close to home – for now. Astronomers have studied this trio in detail in order to learn more about stellar evolution.


Figuring the exact distance of the Pleiades from Earth is an interesting problem in astrometry, the study of the exact positions of stars in space. Knowing their exact distance away is a necessary step in determining many other facts about the Pleiades. The European Space Agency’s Hipparcos satellite determined their distance to about 392 light years away, around 43 light years closer than previous estimates. However, subsequent measurements by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope indicated a distance of 440 light years, much closer to pre-Hipparcos estimates. Then, using a powerful technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which combines the power of radio telescopes from around the world, the distance of the Pleiades was calculated to 443 light years. The ESA’s Gaia satellite, a successor to Hipparcos, recently released its first two sets of data, which among other findings show the distance close to the values found by Hubble and VLBI, possibly settling the long-running “Pleiades Controversy” and helping firm up the foundation for follow-up studies about the nature of the stars of the Pleiades.


You can learn more about the Pleiades in the Universe Discovery Guide at bit.ly/UDGMarch, and find out about missions helping to measure our universe at nasa.gov.


This article is distributed by NASA Night Sky Network. The Night Sky Network program supports astronomy clubs across the USA dedicated to astronomy outreach. Visit https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm to find local clubs, events, and more.



Newark Police Log

Submitted by Newark PD


Saturday, December 28

  • At 9:46 p.m. a misdemeanor assault was reported on the 37900 block of Dahlia Drive.


Monday, December 30

  • At 12 midnight, a felony assault of an elder adult was reported on the 35400 block of Provance Street.
  • At 5:55 p.m. a felony burglary was reported on the 1000 block of NewPark Mall.


Tuesday, December 31

  • At 2:25 p.m. a felony burglary was reported on the 6300 block of NewPark Mall Road.
  • At 4:30 p.m. a misdemeanor assault was reported on the 36200 block of Hayley St.


Wednesday, January 1

  • At 6:39 p.m. a misdemeanor assault was reported on the 35900 block of Anjou Place.



Renegades falter, lose to DeAnza

Submitted and photos by Don Jedlovec


In a January 3rd non-conference meeting with the DeAnza Mountain Lions, a promising first half 34-27 lead for the Renegades was reversed by a 10-point deficit in the second half, leading to a 72-69 loss. The Renegades begin California Community College Athletic Association Coast Conference competition at Las Positas on January 8th.

Calling all Tri-City students

Submitted by Darryl Reina


The annual Newark Optimist Club Essay Contest is now underway. The club is encouraging Tri-City area students to contemplate the phrase: “Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams you iMagine?” The top-three club essays will receive cash prizes of $200, $100, and $50. The first-place essay will advance to district competition and have an opportunity to win a $2,500 college scholarship.


Completed essays and applications must be received by Friday, January 24, and sent to Darryl Reina, Chairman, at darryl14r@aol.com or mailed to the Newark Optimist Club at P.O. Box 402, Newark, CA 94560. For application and rules, visit https://optimist.org.


Newark Optimist Club Essay Contest

Application Deadline: Friday, Jan 24





The recall of Gov. Newsom


AB5, which was approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom on September 18, 2019, has ruined the freelance economy in California. It was voted for by our local state representatives: assembly members Bill Quirk and Kansen Chu, and state Sen. Bob Wieckowski. AB5 is a travesty of poorly crafted legislation that has adversely affected not only those who work for Uber and Lyft, but independent truckers, freelance journalists and cartoonists, yoga instructors and many others.


What AB5 has done is made illegal flexible working opportunities, especially for many women who work as freelancers to work around schedules for their families. An addition, California now pays the highest gas taxes in the nation, yet Newsom decided to subvert some of these tax funds to pay for his pet “green project.” Newsom just heaps on more taxes and regulations, which is causing many businesses to flee the state. California has been regularly rated as one of the least business-friendly states in the U.S. and Newsom only makes it worse with more regulations and more taxes.


It is because of Newsom’s terrible stewardship of California that I support the recall of Newsom. If you want to sign this petition, you find your local petition collection location at https://ranaf.org/petition-locations or download a petition from the site RANAF.ORG. The deadline is Feb 13, 2020.


Elizabeth Stump

Castro Valley



Tiffany & Co. bracelet dropped in Salvation Army kettle

AP Wire Service

Dec 21


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Salvation Army leaders in Maryland say a donor recently dropped thousands of dollars worth of jewelry in a red kettle.


Capt. Ryan Vincent is commander of the Salvation Army in Annapolis. He tells the Capital Gazette everyone was shocked to find out the ring and two bracelets were real.


One of the bracelets, a yellow-gold piece by Tiffany & Co., has been sold for $1,500. A gemologist will soon examine the ring and second bracelet that features diamonds and rubies to determine their value.


Pearl Eldridge is the ringer who collected the donation. She called the donor a “quiet spirit,” and said the woman told her the pieces were sentimental but had been laying around.


Other unusual donations have been reported in Salvation Army kettles around the country, including a gold bar in Kentucky and a more than century-old gold coin in North Carolina.


Vincent says the Salvation Army has a policy for dealing with jewelry donations. Pieces found in a kettle are kept for 30 days, but if someone acknowledges leaving a piece with the bell ringer, it's immediately considered donated.


If big donations are found to be stolen, the charitable organization arranges them to be returned.



JFK letter promising Santa safe during Cold War on display

By Philip Marcelo

Associated Press


BOSTON (AP), Dec 25 – In the throes of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was planning to test a massive nuclear bomb in the Arctic Circle.


But in a letter to then-President John F. Kennedy, a young Michigan girl was most concerned about the North Pole's most famous resident.


“Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole,” 8-year-old Michelle Rochon, of Marine City, pleaded, according to news reports at the time. “Because they will kill Santa Claus.”


Kennedy's brief, but reassuring response to Rochon is part of a trove of holiday-themed archival materials being featured this month at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.


“You must not worry about Santa Claus,“ the president wrote on Oct. 28, 1961. “I talked with him yesterday and he is fine. He will be making his rounds again this Christmas.”


Kennedy also told Rochon that he shared her concern about the Soviet Union's test, “not only for the North Pole but for countries throughout the world; not only for Santa Claus but for people throughout the world.”


Photos of the Kennedys celebrating Christmas in the White House and copies of the family's Christmas cards are among the other holiday keepsakes being highlighted in a seasonal display in the library's lobby.


Rochon, who now goes by the last name Phillips, told The Boston Globe in 2014 that she never thought the letters would resonate the way it did back then, when it turned her into something of a national sensation.


“I was just worried about Santa Claus,” she told the Globe.


The Soviets, meanwhile, made good on their threat to bomb the North Pole. Two days after Kennedy penned his letter, they dropped the “King of Bombs,” as it was dubbed in Russian.


Reportedly 1,570 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined, it shattered windows as far away as Norway and Finland. It's still considered the most powerful man-made explosive ever detonated.


Kennedy and other world leaders were quick to denounce the bomb test, The Washington Post reports. None of the officials statements, however, addressed Santa's fate.

Senior softball league season begins

Submitted by Joe Farias


The Hayward Area Recreation District’s senior softball program is gearing up for the 2020 season and its 30th year. The initial meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21. Applications to play are now available online at www.hardseniorsoftball.com. The league is open to men and women.


New players need to attend one of the Tuesday practice sessions on February 4, February 11, and February 18. There will be a draft after the last practice session. The leagues will begin league play on Tuesday, March 17 and continue through September, finishing after the playoffs and championship games. The league will consist of the following three age divisions – 50s, 60s and 70s. The 60s division will play on Tuesday mornings, 70s on Wednesday mornings, and 50s on Thursday mornings.



Senior Softball Program


Initial meeting

10 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan 21

San Felipe Center

2058 D St., Hayward


Practice sessions

10 a.m.

Tuesdays: Feb 4, Feb 11, and Feb 18

Castro Valley Community Center

Lake Chabot Rd., Castro Valley


League Play

Begins Tuesday, Mar 17

Alden E. Oliver Fields

2580 Eden Park Pl., Hayward

(Hesperian Blvd.)





Superhero of Early Childhood Luncheon

Submitted by Kidango


On Wednesday, January 22, Kidango will host a benefit luncheon to celebrate this year’s Superhero of Early Childhood, California’s First Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris.


Kidango is the largest provider of preschool in the Bay Area. They are committed to providing high quality early learning services to the children who need them most. In addition, they help children and their families gain access to health and dental care and housing.


Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an award-winning physician, researcher and advocate dedicated to changing the way our society responds to one of the most serious, expensive and widespread public health crises of our time: childhood trauma. She was appointed as California’s first-ever Surgeon General by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019.


Her career has been dedicated to serving vulnerable communities and combating the root causes of health disparities. She is the Founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, an organization leading the effort to advance pediatric medicine, raise public awareness, and transform the way society responds to children exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress.


All proceeds benefit Kidango and ensure a level playing field for all Bay Area Children. 


Superhero of Early Childhood Luncheon

Wednesday, Jan 22

12 noon

Oakland Marriott City Center

1001 Broadway, Oakland




Teen's school project gets $40K from ‘Shark Tank' investors

AP Wire Service


GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP), Nov 08 _ Investors on ABC's “Shark Tank” are funding a product pitched by a 13-year-old Tennessee boy who initially developed the idea for a fourth-grade project.


The Tennessean reported Thursday that Maddox Prichard, now an eighth grader, pitched his product called the Measuring Shovel at several invention conventions and got to go before “Shark Tank” this year. The now-patented utility shovel has measurements marking it from tip to handle, allowing the user to measure variables such the distance between seedlings.


The Gallatin teen says he came up with the idea after helping his mother and grandmother in their garden. The episode aired Sunday, and Sharks Kevin O'Leary and Lori Grenier agreed to provide $40,000 in exchange for a total 30% stake in the company.




Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com



Feds will investigate deadly Tesla crash in California

AP Wire Service


GARDENA, Calif. (AP), Jan 01 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the crash of a speeding Tesla that killed two people in a Los Angeles suburb, the agency announced Tuesday.


Agency spokesman Sean Rushton wouldn't say whether the Tesla Model S was on Autopilot when it crashed on Dec. 29 in Gardena. That system is designed to automatically change lanes and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.


The black Tesla had left a freeway and was moving at a high rate of speed when it ran a red light and slammed into a Honda Civic at an intersection, police said.


A man and woman in the Civic died at the scene.


A man and woman in the Tesla were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. No arrests were immediately made.


An NHTSA statement said the agency has assigned its special crash investigation team to inspect the car and the crash scene. That team has inspected a total of 13 crashes involving Tesla vehicles that the agency believed were operating on the Autopilot system. Results were published in two of those cases, one of which involved Autopilot. Results are pending in the other 10 cases, the agency said in a statement.


Messages were left Tuesday night seeking comment from Tesla.


Another Tesla crash killed a woman Sunday in Indiana. State police said the driver, Derrick N. Monet, 25, of Prescott Valley, Arizona, was seriously injured after he rear-ended a fire truck parked along Interstate 70 in Putnam County. His wife, Jenna N. Monet, 23, was pronounced dead at a hospital.


Derrick Monet told investigators he regularly uses his Tesla's Autopilot mode but didn't recall whether he had it activated at the time of the accident, state police Sgt. Matt Ames said.


Earlier this month, a Tesla struck a police cruiser and a disabled vehicle in Connecticut but nobody was seriously hurt. The driver told state police that he was using the Autopilot system and had looked around to check on his dog in the back seat.


Both Tesla and the NHTSA have advised that advanced driver assist systems such as Autopilot aren't entirely autonomous but require human drivers to pay attention at all times. But several crashes – some fatal – have been blamed on driver inattention linked to overconfidence in such systems. In one crash report, the National Transportation Safety Board referred to it as “automation complacency.“


The National Transportation Safety Board has criticized Tesla's Autopilot. In September, that agency said that in a 2018 crash in Culver City where a Tesla hit a fire truck, the design of the Autopilot system “permitted the driver to disengage from the driving task.” Nobody was hurt in that accident.


The NTSB determined in September 2017 that design limitations of the Tesla Model S Autopilot played a major role in a May 2016 fatal crash in Florida involving a vehicle operating under Autopilot. But it blamed the crash on an inattentive Tesla driver's over reliance on technology and a truck driver who made a left turn in front of the car.



The Robot Report

By Steve Crowe


California is already the epicenter of self-driving car testing. But its roads are about to get a bit more crowded thanks to another type of autonomous vehicle. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) now allows testing of light-duty autonomous delivery vehicles on the state’s public roads.


The new rule opens up testing for autonomous vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. So, this includes only Class 1 and 2 vehicles such as passenger cars, mid-sized pickup trucks and cargo vans. Any vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds (Class 3-8) is still not permitted, ruling out FedEx or UPS trucks and certainly any semi-trucks.


The California DMV will allow testing of autonomous vehicles both with and without a safety driver. For tests with a safety driver, the drivers need to complete a training program and maintain a clean driving record. There are additional requirements for tests without a safety driver, including the ability for the vehicles to communicate with and be controlled by a remote operator. The DMV can start approving permits around January 17, 2020.


As of December 5, 2019, 65 companies had autonomous vehicle testing permits (with a driver) from the California DMV. But the new rule could open up the floodgates for companies to test autonomous vehicle delivery services in 2020 and beyond. For example, Nuro, a self-driving startup in Mountain View, California that raised $940 million in 2019 from the Softbank Vision Fund, is already trialing its autonomous vehicles in Arizona and Texas. It recently announced a partnership with Walmart to test autonomous grocery delivery in Houston.


Waymo is the only company permitted by the California DMV to test autonomous vehicles without a safety driver. Waymo is the clear frontrunner in the autonomous passenger vehicle space, and it is developing autonomous trucks. When the California DMV released its disengagement reports earlier this year, Waymo had the best-performing self-driving cars in California with one disengagement every 11,017 miles. That performance marks a 50 percent reduction in the rate and a 96 percent increase in the average miles traveled between disengagements compared to the 2017 numbers.


Waymo recently started to operate its self-driving taxi service near Phoenix, Arizona, called Waymo One, without human safety drivers. And it acquired Latent Logic, a UK start-up that uses imitation learning to simulate models of human behavior on the road. The acquisition marks the launch of Waymo’s first European engineering hub, which will be located in Oxford.


Steve Crowe is editor of The Robot Report and co-chair of the Robotics Summit & Expo. He can be reached at scrowe@wtwhmedia.com.



Uber, Postmates sue to challenge California's new labor law

By Don Thompson

Associated Press


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Dec 30 – Ride-share company Uber and on-demand meal delivery service Postmates sued Monday to block a broad new California law aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors.


The lawsuit filed in U.S. court in Los Angeles argues that the law set to take effect Wednesday violates federal and state constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.


Uber said it will try to link the lawsuit to another legal challenge filed in mid-December by associations representing freelance writers and photographers.


The California Trucking Association filed the first challenge to the law in November on behalf of independent truckers.


The law creates the nation's strictest test by which workers must be considered employees and it could set a precedent for other states.


The latest challenge includes two independent workers who wrote about their concerns with the new law.


“This has thrown my life and the lives of more than a hundred thousand drivers into uncertainty,” ride-share driver Lydia Olson's wrote in a Facebook post cited by Uber.


Postmates driver Miguel Perez called on-demand work “a blessing” in a letter distributed by Uber. He said he used to drive a truck for 14 hours at a time, often overnight.


“Sometimes, when I was behind the wheel, with an endless shift stretching out ahead of me like the open road, I daydreamed about a different kind of job — a job where I could choose when, where and how much I worked and still make enough money to feed my family,“ he wrote.


The lawsuit contends that the law exempts some industries but includes ride-share and delivery companies without a rational basis for distinguishing between them. It alleges that the law also infringes on workers' rights to choose how they make a living and could void their existing contracts.


Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego countered that she wrote the law to extend employee rights to more than a million California workers who lack benefits, including a minimum wage, mileage reimbursements, paid sick leave, medical coverage and disability pay for on-the-job injuries.


She noted that Uber had previously sought an exemption when lawmakers were crafting the law, then said it would defend its existing labor model from legal challenges. It joined Lyft and DoorDash in a vow to each spend $30 million to overturn the law at the ballot box in 2020 if they don't win concessions from lawmakers next year.


“The one clear thing we know about Uber is they will do anything to try to exempt themselves from state regulations that make us all safer and their driver employees self-sufficient,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “In the meantime, Uber chief executives will continue to become billionaires while too many of their drivers are forced to sleep in their cars.”


The new law was a response to a legal ruling last year by the California Supreme Court regarding workers at the delivery company Dynamex.



Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9601

Submitted by Michael Martin


The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post of Castro Valley is pleased to announce that ground was broken on the Castro Valley Veterans Memorial Expansion Project this week. The Memorial is located at 3683 Quail Avenue, behind the Community Center on Lake Chabot Boulevard.


Originally built so that family members or groups could memorialize local service members close to them, the memorial was completed in 2012. Service Stones from each Branch of Service (including Coast Guard and Merchant Marine) have space on the back to engrave the names of service members to be honored.


What was thought to be enough space to last a few decades quickly filled up, and many residents expressed a desire for more space. The Post began to design plans and raise funds for an expansion and has finally achieved the goal of raising the needed funds. Thanks to a very generous bid by a local contractor (Bridge Construction), the project is under way and is expected to be complete in two months.


We encourage you to visit the site and see the expansion being constructed. When completed, the new expansion will have laser engraved pictures depicting life in each branch of service. There will be space available for those interested in having a service member memorialized on a Service Stone or Paver Brick. Go to www.cvvm.info or call Post commander Steve West at (510)-432-4346 or Kasey Warner at (530)-391-3330.


A Crab Feed in support of the project will be held on Feb 29th at the Moose Lodge in Castro Valley. Contact the above names or Pat Flanagan at (510)-459-6177. Tickets will not be for sale at the door.



The Psychological Effect of Vision Zero


Vision Zero, by its definition and title, is an appreciable attempt to minimize the loss of life due to traffic accidents. The goal of eliminating fatalities and significantly reducing severe injuries by 2020 is auspicious and one that every city would love to achieve. It’s now 2020 – have we met the goal? I think not. The next question should be “why not?” That requires a deeper dive into each individual accident and a root cause analysis. This is where the police data would come in. If a pedestrian or bicyclist was crossing a street at night and not in an intersection which resulted in an accident, would Vision Zero have changed the result? If a driver was impaired or on their phone and hits a car, bicyclist or pedestrian, would Vision Zero have changed the result?


Making lanes narrower, painting lines and colors all over the street and restricting the flow of traffic by not syncing traffic signals is arguably making are streets less safe. There are now so many lines on the streets, colors on the streets and new signs all over the city, that the visual stimulus can cause confusion. The result may cause drivers to slow down, but are they also confused and less focused on the driving and looking out for others? Also, the fact that our traffic signals are not synced to allow for a normal flow of traffic on major thoroughfares, like Paseo Padre, creates frustration for many drivers. I have experienced more drivers speeding between traffic signals because they don’t want to get stuck at the next light. I’ve never seen so many people driving down bicycle lanes as I do today; a result of being frustrated.


Vision Zero merely looks at traffic flow as a funneling issue, which in theory causes a slowing effect. What I see happening is the funneling effect is causing frustration that involves acceleration and diversion (finding alternative routes). Someone once told me you can’t put 10 gallons in a 5-gallon bucket. So, the overflow effect is now flowing through our neighborhoods as the city makes it more difficult to travel down our main thoroughfares – i.e.: Stevenson, Mowry, Thornton, Fremont Blvd, Paseo Padre.


Let’s pause Vision Zero, understand the psychological effect of this program, fix our streets instead of painting them, and look at the “whys” for the accidents that are occurring. Vision Zero is not a one size fits all.


Pat Mapelli




Customers help Waffle House worker left to run diner alone

AP Wire Service


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP), Nov 08 – Waffle House is known to not close for anything – even if there's only one worker behind the counter.


Ethan Crispo told AL.com that was the case early Sunday morning at a location in Birmingham, Alabama. He says he came in just after midnight to find a single man tending to “the incoming crowd of hungry, heavily imbibed customers.”


That's when Crispo says a customer stood up, asked the employee for an apron and got to work. Soon, other customers also jumped in to wash dishes and bus tables.


Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner says a scheduling miscommunication left the lone worker to take care of the restaurant by himself. Warner says Waffle House appreciates the customers who stepped up but prefer their associates behind the counter.




Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews



‘Wizard Rock' that disappeared from Arizona forest returns

AP Wire Service

Nov 02


PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) – A boulder that mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago from a national forest in Arizona is back, and forest officials aren't asking any questions.


Prescott National Forest officials said a forest employee on patrol Friday noticed that the 1-ton boulder dubbed “Wizard Rock” had been returned to a site along State Route 89 south of Prescott.


The much-admired boulder is black with streaks of white quartz running through it.


District Ranger Sarah Clawson said forest officials were thrilled that the rock was returned and “grateful that whoever took it was conscientious enough to give it back to the public”


According to forest officials, it would have required heavy equipment to move the boulder.


Permits are required to gather and remove most forest products, including rocks, plants and trees.



Zoo raises funds for wildlife conversation

Submitted by Isabella Linares


From lions in Uganda to toads in Puerto Rico, Oakland Zoo — Conservation Society of California (CSC), raised $330,182 in the name of saving wildlife during 2019 mostly through its Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) program which designates 50 cents from every ticket and $2 from every membership to the Zoo’s 25 wildlife conservation partners. Additional funds were raised through various efforts including the Zoo’s IMPACT Speaker Series events.


Half of the funds will go directly to three 2019 featured out-in-the-field programs — jaguars (Kaminando, Panama), California condors (Pinnacles National Park), and African lions (Lion Recovery Fund).


Twenty percent of the funds raised will go toward Oakland Zoo’s onsite conservation programs. Such programs include veterinary care for lead-poisoned California condors, the repopulation of Western Pond turtles through a head-start program and breeding of Puerto Rican Crested toads– a species once thought to be extinct.


The remaining 30% helps support the zoo’s conservation field partners around the world, including the Budongo Snare Removal Project, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, California wolf protection through Working Circle, Cotton-top tamarin conservation with Proyecto Titi, and promotion of research, conservation, and community development in Madagascar through Centre Val Bio.


Oakland Zoo’s new featured conservation partners for 2020 focus on the conservation of cougars (Bay Area Puma Project), rainforests (ARCAS), and chimpanzees (The New Nature Foundation).


Through a unique camera trap research program, the Bay Area Puma Project engages and empowers communities to collect critical data, becoming citizen scientists and stewards for cougar survival and human coexistence.


ARCAS’s new world-class Biodiversity Education Center provides citizens, tourists, and officials the inspiration, knowledge, and tools to protect the Mayan jungle and all of the wildlife that lives there.


The New Nature Foundation empowers communities to live sustainably through education, tree planting, biomass briquettes, and eco-stove use, ensuring a connected society that celebrates and protects the chimpanzees that live in the Kibale Forest.


Oakland Zoo

9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland

(510) 632-9525




Spring ZooKids Classes

Submitted by Oakland Zoo


Does your little one love animals? ZooKids classes are a great way for children ages 4 – 5 to have a fun and educational adventure at the zoo. This is a drop-off program and includes a zoo tour, craft, meeting a small animal up close and a snack. Classes are held on select Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon. Each ZooKids class is offered twice per month to accommodate more participants. Each month has a different theme and classes are designed so that children can come to multiple classes without repeating the same activities.


Schedule of Classes


January 11 & 25 “Who’s Sleeping Now”

What time do you go to bed at night? Did you know that when you are getting ready to go to bed, other animals are just waking up? There is always someone sleeping. Learn about the special adaptations of nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular animals.


February 8 & 22 “Let’s Leap!”

It’s Leap Year! A lemur can leap 25 feet. Frogs can leap 20-50 times their body length. Squirrel monkeys leap from tree branch to tree branch. Can you leap? How far? Learn about the special adaptations of leaping animals in celebration of Leap Year!


March 14 & 21 “Wild About Primates”

What makes a monkey a monkey? Or an ape an ape? Primates come in many different shapes and sizes. Learn and explore why these animals are so special and how we all can help protect them.


April 11 & 25 “Bugs & Butterflies”

Would you like to eat a cricket for breakfast? Or maybe snack on a beetle? No? Explore the fascinating world of insects; learn about the many different types of bugs and the very important role they play in ecosystems.


May 9 & 16 “Carnivores, Herbivores, & Me”

What do you like for dinner? Did you know some animals only eat meat, some eat only plants and some eat everything? Learn how carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores are specially adapted for their unique diets.


Fees are $25 Oakland Zoo members, $30 for non-members. Register on the Oakland Zoo website at https://www.oaklandzoo.org/programs-and-events/zookids.


ZooKids Classes

2nd & 4th Saturdays, Jan 11 – May 16

9: 30 a.m. – 12 noon

Oakland Zoo

9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland

510-632-9525 x141