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Members sought for new ‘7-11 committee’ on Marshall site disposition

Submitted by Ken Blackstone


Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) is seeking volunteers to serve on the District’s “7-11 Committee” — at least seven but no more than 11 committee members are required by state law — for the disposition of the old Marshall Elementary School site. The District is currently evaluating current and potential uses, space availability, and enrollment of its facilities, with this new Committee to advise the FUSD Board of Trustees regarding the Marshall site in particular.


The Committee will be responsible for reviewing and evaluating all relevant data in order to provide the Board with recommendations on how to maximize income from District property and educational or after-school program options for specific school sites; alternative uses for specific school sites, including long-term leases and child care programs; and possible disposition of property.


Members will be appointed to represent a cross-section of the local community in regards to socio- economic and ethnic composition, profession, expertise in land use planning, and other factors. If you live within the District’s boundaries and are interested in being considered for appointment to this committee, please complete the application at https://www.fremont.k12.ca.us/.


The first review deadline for applications is 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 (or postmarked by this date), so
they can be submitted to the Board for approval in time for its Jan. 8, 2020 meeting.



Airbnb COO Johnson stepping down from post, to join board

AP Wire Service


SAN FRANCISCO (AP), Nov 22 – Airbnb's Chief Operating Officer Belinda Johnson is stepping down from her post but will join the company board.


CEO Brian Chesky said Friday that Johnson was the first executive he hired for Airbnb. She's worked for the business since 2011 and he said she can return as an executive whenever she wants.


Johnson said her children used to play at the Airbnb office after hours, but now her oldest will be heading to college soon. She said that she is resetting the priorities in her life.



Police asking for public’s help to ID arson suspect

Submitted by San Leandro PD


Police in San Leandro are asking the public for help identifying an arson suspect sought in connection with a November 10 vehicle fire reported in the 800 block of Casanova Drive.


Officers canvassed the neighborhood and located surveillance footage of a suspect described as a light-skinned male between 25 and 30 years old. He was wearing a black peacoat style jacket, blue jeans, and gray shoes, and was driving a blue Toyota Prius.


Anyone who has information about the suspect or incident is asked to call the San Leandro Police Department at (510) 577-2740.



Attempted Robbery Suspect Arrested

Submitted by Lt John Torrez, Milpitas PD


On November 19, 2019 at approximately 7:32 p.m., officers responded to a report of an attempted strong-arm robbery on the 100-block of Serra Way. A 52-year-old victim was confronted by the suspect as she was exiting a nearby business. Without provocation, the suspect punched the victim causing her to fall to the ground and the suspect attempted to take her wallet from her hand; but he was unsuccessful and fled from the area. The victim provided a suspect description and officers checked the immediate area for him, but he could not be located. As a result of being punched, the victim sustained minor injuries and declined medical attention.

On November 20, 2019 at approximately 7:21 a.m., officers responded to a report of a disturbance within a business on the 1700-block of South Main Street. Officers contacted Sir William Mathew Alexander, with whom they had previous contacts, and recognized that he was similar in appearance to the suspect from this attempted robbery incident from the previous night. A Detective and the victim responded to the scene where Alexander was stopped, and the victim identified Alexander as the suspect who punched her and attempted to take her wallet.

Sir William Mathew Alexander was arrested without incident and transported to the Police Department for an interview. After a thorough interview with Detectives, Alexander was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for attempted robbery and battery.

The keen eye of our uniformed patrol officers, who were familiar with the incident from the previous night, and the cooperation of the victim resulted in the timely arrest of Alexander.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Milpitas Police Department at (408) 586-2400. Additionally, the information can be given anonymously by calling the Crime Tip Hotline at (408) 586-2500 or via the Milpitas Police Department Website at: http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/crimetip




Submitted by BART PD


Friday, November 22, at 5:46 p.m., Hien Huynh of San Leandro was placed under arrest and booked into jail for Battery. She was issued a prohibition order. Fremont Station


Saturday, November 23, at 8:34 p.m., Harry Winelander of Eureka was placed under arrest and booked into jail on several warrants that totaled $17.5 K. Warm Springs Station


Sunday, November 24 at 4:57 p.m., Antonio Hayes of San Francisco was contacted and arrested at the Downtown Berkeley Station for violation of a court/stay away order. Hayes was transported and booked into Santa Rita Jail. Warrant Arrest- Fremont Station


Monday, November 25 at 8:40 a.m., Nicholas Cuzzinatti of Oakland was arrested for two outstanding warrants. He was booked into San Francisco County Jail. Arrest- Castro Valley Station.


Got a crime tip? Anyone with information can call BART Police Investigations at 510-464-7040 or the anonymous tip line at 510-464-7011. For urgent matters, call 510-464-7000 or 9-1-1.The BART Police Department is continuously hiring, see current career opportunities at https://www.bart.gov/about/police/employment



Black Tie Fundraiser

Submitted by Milpitas Community Educational Endowment


Milpitas Community Educational Endowment (MCEE) will hold their annual “Black Tie Fundraiser” on Friday, December 13 at Ta’s Restaurant. This is a chance to help the organization work toward building their $200,000 endowment. The event includes a six-course dinner of Vietnamese cuisine as well as a live auction. The Milpitas High School Jazz Band and Milpitas High School Choir will get everyone in the Holiday mood by performing music of the season. (Proceeds will also go to benefit these two groups.)


Tickets are $75 or $750 for a table of 10 (those who purchase a table will receive two additional bottles of wine). Tickets are available online or from any MCEE board member. If you have questions, please email info@mceefoundation.org.


Naturally, the dress code for this event will be black tie.


Black Tie Fundraiser

Friday, Dec 13

5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Ta’s Restaurant

90 S Abel St., Milpitas




Chabot College celebrates Raza College Day

Submitted by Guisselle Nunez


Recognizing and celebrating indigenous people while empowering Chicanx and Latinx students to pursue and continue higher education, Chabot College celebrated Raza College Day on November 2.


“Raza College Day is one of Chabot College’s largest outreaches to the Latinx community, with workshops and cultural activities for all ages,” said El Centro Director Abigail Garcia Patton. “Participants were inspired, informed and equipped with the tools and resources to pursue higher education and best support their students through their academic career.”


Raza, although literally translated to “race,” colloquially refers to “people” or “community” and is used as a term of empowerment for Chicanx and Latinx people. While Chabot’s Raza College Day caters to this community, all middle, high school and Chabot students and their families were invited to attend the morning of workshops, activities and entertainment.


Students were welcomed by Chabot’s Vice President Dr. Matthew Kritscher and learned the history of Dia De Los Muertos to honor ancestors and celebrate their lives from Chabot’s Puente Counselor and Instructor Sandra Genera. Attendees went on to participate in facilitated workshops, which included everything from The Makers Space, which gave K-5th graders the opportunity to explore their creative sides through science, to Earn College Credit Now (which provided information on ways to earn college credit while in high school), and college application lab.


For more information on El Centro at Chabot College, visit https://www.chabotcollege.edu/student-services/el-centro/


Chabot College

25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward

(510) 723-6714




Arrest made in sexual assault cold case

Submitted by Union City PD


A 60-year-old man identified by Union City Police Department (UCPD) officials as Gregory Paul Vien is in custody in connection with two violent 1997 sexual assaults on women in Union City and Livermore.


According to police, Vien is a longtime Livermore resident, but frequented Union City, Fremont, Hayward, San Lorenzo and San Ramon in the mid to late 1990s. The first attack occurred in May 1997 when a 41-year-old woman walking home from the Union City BART station was attacked and dragged to a nearby field and assaulted by an unknown man. The second case happened in September 1997 when a 22-year-old woman was attacked by an unknown man while on an evening walk near Livermore High School. DNA from each case was uploaded into a database hoping for a suspect identification. No match was immediately found.


While reviewing the case in July 2019, Livermore Police Department (LPD) detectives submitted the DNA evidence to a genetic laboratory for a chromosomal DNA profile. Based on that DNA profile, a genetic consultant was able to provide an investigative lead for the suspect, which detectives immediately began to follow up on.


On November 5, 2019, LPD in conjunction with UCPD and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office took Vien into custody. On the night of his arrest, LPD detectives collected a direct sample of Vien’s DNA based on a search warrant. That DNA was immediately sent to a laboratory for comparison to the DNA collected in both sexual assault cases from 1997 and resulted in an exact match.


There are three additional unsolved brutal sexual assaults that occurred in Livermore between 1995-1997. These unsolved cases have similar characteristics to those in the Vien case. Authorities believe Vien may be a suspect in those cases and are continuing an investigation.


Meanwhile, Vien remains in custody and faces various charges including sexual assault, false imprisonment and kidnapping. Meanwhile, Union City police officials and allied agencies are asking that anyone who might have information regarding these assaults or any other suspicious activity involving Vien in Union City to contact UCPD Detective Josh Clubb at (510) 675-5227 or via email at joshuac@unioncity.org.



Facing lawsuit, DeVos erases student loans for 1,500

Nov 08

By Collin Binkley

AP Education Writer


Facing a federal lawsuit and mounting criticism, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday said she will forgive certain student loans for more than 1,500 borrowers who attended a pair of for-profit colleges that shut down last year.


Students who attended the Art Institute of Colorado and the Illinois Institute of Art will not have to repay federal student loans borrowed between Jan. 20, 2018, through the end of last year, DeVos said, although they will still be responsible for any previous loans. In all, about $11 million will be automatically canceled.


Students who attended another 24 schools owned by the same company will be able to get their loans erased if they enrolled after June 29, 2018. Federal rules typically allow students to get loans erased if their schools close within 120 days after they enroll, but DeVos said she is expanding the window in this case.


It's meant to provide relief to students who took on debt to attend colleges owned by Dream Center Education Holdings, which collapsed last year and shuttered campuses across the nation. But some critics say it doesn't go far enough, and still leaves many students carrying debt from a defunct chain.


“For the vast majority of defrauded students, this announcement cancels only a small portion of the loans they took out to attend a failing school,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House education committee. The relief goes “well short” of what Congress requested and what students deserve, he added.


DeVos has faced mounting criticism over her handling of federal loan forgiveness programs, which were expanded by the Obama administration following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges and other for-profit college chains accused of aggressive and deceptive marketing tactics.


Under DeVos, the Education Department has stopped processing claims from students who say they were defrauded by their schools, leaving tens of thousands of borrowers in limbo as they seek loan cancellations. DeVos has instead moved to tighten eligibility rules, prompting backlash from Democrats and a flurry of lawsuits from students and advocacy groups.


In the latest case, a federal lawsuit says the Education Department failed to cut funding from the Colorado and Illinois schools even after they lost the seal of approval of their accreditor. Losing approval should have made the schools ineligible for funding, the suit says, but instead they were allowed to keep operating without telling students of their troubles.


DeVos, however, shifted blame to the schools' accrediting group on Friday. The department said the Higher Learning Commission assigned the schools a “newly developed and improperly defined accreditation status.” The agency argues the schools should not have lost their accreditation and that, by revoking it, the accreditor left students with tarnished credits and transcripts.


The Higher Learning Commission applauded DeVos for providing relief but insisted it followed proper policies. Schools are required to notify students of any changes to their accreditation, the group said, and “in this instance, the institutions did not appropriately inform their students.”


The Education Department's debt relief was celebrated as a victory by a legal group representing the former Dream Center students who sued DeVos.


“At long last, the department is taking action to cancel the illegal debt that it issued for students who were ripped off by the Dream Center,” said Eric Rothschild, litigation director for Student Defense, a Washington advocacy group. The group will continue its suit to make sure students get full relief, he said.


In a separate case last month, a federal judge held DeVos in contempt of court and issued a $100,000 fine after the department violated a court order barring it from collecting loans on former Corinthian Colleges students. The department has filed an appeal, asking the judge to reconsider.


At the same time, House Democrats are threatening to compel DeVos to appear at a hearing and explain why her agency has failed to provide loan forgiveness that was promised to thousands of former Corinthian students. DeVos has declined requests to face the House's education committee, and on Thursday suggested a private meeting with Scott instead.


The Dream Center collapse has also attracted attention from Democrats. In an Oct. 22 letter, Scott threatened to subpoena the agency for records detailing its role in the chain's closure. Documents released by Democrats suggest federal officials knew the Colorado and Illinois campuses had lost accreditation but continued to disburse student aid for five months, totaling nearly $11 million.


Department officials later granted the two campuses temporary status as nonprofit institutions, which exempted them from certain rules and restored their funding eligibility, and officials dated the decision retroactively several months. Scott's letter said the agency was focused not on helping students but on “papering over” the lapse.


“This `special treatment' allowed more students to become entangled in Dream Center, magnifying the abrupt closure of the schools and the displacement of thousands of students,” Scott wrote.


The department has denied any wrongdoing in the case.



Dear EarthTalk: I suffer from occasional acne but am loathe to treat it with harsh chemicals. Do you know of all-natural acne treatments that actually work?

— J.W., Miami, FL


Acne — when sebum from oil glands under the skin clogs pores causing small bacterial infections that lead to swelling and discomfort — isn’t just a temporary annoyance during our teenage years; it plagues many of us throughout our adult lives as well.


Some 85 % of Americans are prone to at least occasional breakouts or worse. But common over-the-counter treatments — most contain either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid — can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs and are also linked to more serious health problems. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warns that the use of these over-the-counter topicals “can cause rare but serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation.”


Most of the top-selling brands incorporate benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in their acne treatments, but the only way to know for sure what’s inside any given product is to consult its label. Even better, do some research online before you buy. The Environmental Working Group’s free online Skin Deep database lists ingredients — and more importantly, the health and environmental threats — of over 120,000 personal care products, including more than 2,000 different acne treatments now or recently available on store shelves.


As far as alternative treatments go, tea tree oil, distilled from the leaves of Australia’s Melaleuca plant, seems to be a favorite. Studies have shown it to be equally as effective as benzoyl peroxide in reducing both the number of acne lesions and their severity. Likewise, Witch Hazel has similarly positive effects for most who try it, although there hasn’t been any scientific research to back that up yet.


According to National Geographic, dabbing a pasty mixture of powdered nutmeg and honey onto a problem pimple and leaving it there for 20 minutes can help unclog pores. Another trick is to soak a chamomile tea bag in cold water, squeeze it out, then hold it onto a pimple for 30 seconds. Icing a new pimple can also help reduce swelling and discomfort and shorten its lifespan. And smearing a little milk of magnesia on your face at bedtime can help prevent break-outs to begin with.


Healthline’s Kayla McDonnell suggests dabbing zits with apple cider vinegar or witch hazel, or applying a honey/cinnamon mask. Her other tips for pimple remediation include regular exfoliation, taking a zinc and/or fish oil supplement, eating a low glycemic load diet, cutting back on dairy, reducing stress and exercising regularly.


If your acne is more severe, it might be worth consulting a dermatologist who can recommend prescription-strength treatments that can work with your body chemistry to limit the production of sebum in the first place. But drying, irritation and/or other side effects can ensue from these doctor-prescribed treatments as well, so be sure to voice any concerns to your doctor so he or she can adjust the dosage or treatment plan.



EarthTalk is produced by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for the nonprofit EarthTalk. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.



Park It

By Ned MacKay


There are always lots of holiday season programs in the East Bay Regional Park District, especially at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, where Victorian-era Christmas celebrations are recreated.


First on the calendar is a Christmas Evening Open House at the park’s historic Patterson mansion from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, December 6, and there may still be time to sign up. The house is adorned with Victorian-inspired holiday decorations. Refreshments and live music are included. The adult fee for the event is $7 in advance, $8 at the door, free for children ages 12 and under. This is an after-hours City of Fremont event. Register at regerec.com. For information, call (510) 791-4196 or email rkiehn@fremont.gov.


There are also daytime Christmas tours at the Patterson House, guided by staff and docents. The tours are at 11:30 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, December 7 – 22. Tickets are available at the house. The cost is $2 for children 4 – 17, $3 for adults, plus the park’s winter rate admission fee. Special shortened tours for children six and under are offered at 11:30 a.m. To book large group tours or inquire about the weekday tour schedule, call (510) 544-3289.


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


Nearby at Coyote Hills Regional Park, naturalists host free Discovery Days programs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at the visitor center. Come at 11 a.m. for an introduction to the topic of the week or drop by any time during the day to join in the activities.


Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road, off Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For details, call (510) 544-3220.


Down at Sunol Regional Wilderness, holiday wreath making is on the agenda from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 7, with naturalist Ashley Adams. The group will use a variety of greenery from native plants and holiday favorites, all supplies provided. The program is for ages 7 and older, registration required, with a fee of $10 per person ($13 for non-district residents). To register, call 888-327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program number 27009.


The park is at Geary Road off Calaveras Road, about 5 miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. For information, call (510) 544-3249.


You can make a gift and/or an ornament during either of two programs scheduled on Saturday, December 7, led by naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder, at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. Both programs are for ages 8 and older.


From 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Broesder will show how to create a washcloth using undyed wool. Gail advises that creating the gift will require the entire program time.

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. you can learn how to create felt while making an easy acorn ornament.


The center is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information, call (510) 544-2233.


Birding enthusiasts will enjoy a walk from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, December 8, at Contra Loma Reservoir in Antioch with naturalist Kevin Dixon, in search of local and migratory fowl.


Contra Loma is at the end of Frederickson Lane off Golf Course Road. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. Meet Kevin at the main parking lot. For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 2750.


Spawning Chinook salmon are the topic of a nature program from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 7, starting at Homecoming Park in Brentwood. The naturalists from Big Break Regional Shoreline will lead the group on a walk up Marsh Creek to the salmon spawning ground. Homecoming Park is at 2040 Homecoming Way. For information, call (888) 327-2757, ext. 3050.


For information on all the programs offered in the regional parks, visit www.ebparks.org. And remember, Fridays are free in the regional parks through the end of the year, in celebration of the district’s 85th anniversary.




A dark and stormy night


An oft-used phrase that indicates something secretive, sinister and unwelcome can be appropriate when setting the mood for fearful contemplation and unease. In this case, the subject is worthy of an Edgar Allan Poe story of hubris and impending doom. Short days and long hours of darkness have increased the likelihood of traffic incidents resulting in serious consequences. Speed and reckless behavior have become the linchpins for tragedy.


Recently, another preventable catastrophic automobile accident occurred in the Niles District of Fremont, resulting in the death of a pedestrian and canine companion. Although Fremont is actively engaged in multiple aspects of preventive safety measures, termed “Vision Zero”, designed to ensure “safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all,” this isn’t enough. Safe behaviors cannot – and should not – be the sole product of legislation since shared responsibility is part of a free and democratic society.


Watching the excessive speed, inattention to traffic signals and wanton disregard or ignorance of basic rules of the road by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, it is a wonder that mayhem on the roads is not more widespread. Excuses by those in a hurry and irritated by others who share the roads do not result in “accidents”, rather purposeful and avoidable incidents that maim or kill, destroy property and, for many, demolish economic well-being. While mistakes happen and are a human condition, too many incidents are not the result of innocent error, rather the harsh consequence of poor attitudes.


A Vision Zero statement notes that “…because so many fear for their safety on our streets, there is no true freedom of mobility.” Can we feel truly free if mobility is limited by irresponsible behavior? As debate over methods to achieve safe mobility are aired, the primary motive should be integration of all traffic control methods and devices including behavioral modification. Narrowing streets to theoretically slow traffic and modify behavior is, for some, a challenge to negotiate reduced lane widths at high speeds.


Just as a concentrated campaign has reduced cigarette usage in our communities, it did not eradicate nor slow the entrepreneurial avenues of vaping. However, the synergy of laws and restrictions combined with education about the effect of relatively clean air for all of us has had great impact. Its time to use the same method to confront our behavioral traffic problems. There is much to do to reduce the impact of too many people traveling on an inadequate road system. Let’s not forget the role of erratic and irresponsible behavioral problems.


Fremont has organized a Mobility Commission to explore and advise the City about a host of problems associated with all forms of travel. Hopefully, education and public relations will be an integral component of the solution. Although we may be part of the problem, we can also be part of the solution as well… even on dark and stormy nights.



Ex-government health chief joins warnings about EPA proposal

By Ellen Knickmeyer

Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP), Nov 13 – A former top government environmental health official joined health experts on Wednesday in expressing alarm as the Trump administration moves forward with a proposal that scientists say would upend how the U.S. regulates threats to public health.


“It will practically lead to the elimination of science from decision-making,” said Linda Birnbaum, who retired last month as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences after serving under both Republican and Democratic administrations.


In an appearance before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Birnbaum said the proposal could be used to roll back fundamental protections from air pollution and other toxins. The “effects here could affect an entire generation,” she said.


The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed regulation seeks public disclosure of the data underlying studies used by agency officials in deciding how to regulate contaminants and toxins, from car exhaust to coal waste to pesticides. Opponents fear that could include seeking to release identifying information for patients and study participants in violation of confidentiality requirements, leading important public health studies and other research on people to be taken out of consideration instead.


The administration says the proposal would increase transparency in government regulation.


Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, an EPA principal deputy assistant administrator, told the lawmakers that the agency was working “to ensure the public has access to information so they can make decisions to protect their health and environment.”


But opponents fear the measure will be used to toss out findings of decades of research on humans – and of future studies yet to come – that are a foundation of environmental and public health regulation. With weaker evidence regarding risks to human, the result could be weaker regulation of toxins, opponents said.


When the EPA first raised the proposal last year, university heads, public health officials, researchers, health workers, environmental advocates and others lined up at the agency's public hearings to object. The agency received nearly 600,000 public comments on the change, the majority urging against it.


Debate on the proposal revived this month when the EPA sent a draft supplement to the measure to the White House for government review. That made clear that the administration was moving ahead on the measure despite the unusually strong torrent of opposition from scientists and health practitioners.


At Wednesday's hearing before a committee of the Democratic-controlled House, some Republicans also indicated concerns about the measure, which follows past, failed efforts by conservative lawmakers to get similar legislation through Congress.


“This is about attacking the EPA under the current administration – not about improving transparency and scientific integrity,” said Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, the committee's senior Republican member.


Lucas called the EPA proposal “well-intended,” but said broader discussion was needed about “the best way to improve reproducibility and transparency.”


Orme-Zavaleta, a career EPA employee, said a draft of the rule obtained by the news media this week was not the final version.


Under questioning from Democratic lawmakers, Orme-Zavaleta acknowledged that while the proposal was not intended to be retroactive to existing rules, it could apply to past health studies.


Democratic lawmakers argued the change could also be used to throw out findings of health studies and rewrite regulations whenever an existing rule comes up for review.


“The true purpose is to undermine the decades of sound science on which the EPA relies to protect public health,” so that “political agendas are given more weight than science,” said Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY. It “will endanger the safety and health of millions of Americans for many generations to come.”


Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., noted the early draft rule would allow the EPA administrator to make exceptions to the data disclosure requirements.


“Can you understand why we might not be comfortable having the final call being made by a coal lobbyist?” Foster asked, referring to the current EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler.


Birnbaum, one of five scientists and health experts testifying Wednesday in addition to the EPA official, said eliminating studies and research on humans because of the confidentiality of identifying information would leave regulators more dependent on animal studies, which are less accurate for people.


However, Wheeler announced separately in September that the agency intended to scale down and ultimately eliminate testing of chemicals on animals. Animal rights advocates welcomed the move, but health officials said it eliminated an essential safeguard for human health.

Now recruiting for teen Explorer Program

Submitted by Fremont P.D.


The Fremont Explorer Program is a fun and safe way for teenagers to learn more about the field of law enforcement. Explorers participate in various activities such as community events, ride-alongs, traffic control, building tours and school visits. In addition, Explorers are required to attend weekly meetings at the Police Department. This program gives teens an understanding of various law enforcement careers and helps them decide whether or not to pursue a career in law enforcement. All new Explorers are required to attend a one-week Explorer Academy in Southern California, typically held during summer.

If you are between the age of 14 – 18 and think that you might be interested in learning more about becoming a Police Teen Explorer or having a future career in law enforcement, please visit the Department's Explorer Volunteer web-page at http://www.fremontpolice.org/Explorers.


Applications accepted through Friday, November 29 at 5 pm.



Facebook says it removed 3.2B fake accounts in 6 months

AP Wire Service


SAN FRANCISCO (AP), Nov 13 – Facebook says it removed 3.2 billion fake accounts from its service from April to September, up slightly from 3 billion in the previous six months.


Nearly all of the bogus accounts were caught before they had a chance to become “active” users of the social network, so they are not counted in the user figures the company reports regularly. Facebook estimates that about 5% of its 2.45 billion user accounts are fake.


The company said in a report Wednesday that it removed 18.5 million instances of child nudity and sexual exploitation from its main platform in the April-September period, up from 13 million in the previous six months. It says the increase was due to improvements in detection.


The report is Facebook's fourth on standards enforcement.



California halts fracking permits in oil producer crackdown

By Adam Beam

Associated Press


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Nov 19 – California Gov. Gavin Newsom is cracking down on oil producers by halting the approval of hundreds of fracking permits until independent scientists can review them.


Also Tuesday, the Democratic governor also temporarily banned another drilling method that regulators believe is linked to one of the largest spills in state history.


The state said it will not approve new wells that use high-pressure steam to extract oil from underground.


It's the type of process Chevron uses at an oil field in the Central Valley that California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said has leaked more than 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million liters) of oil and water this summer.


The oil industry called the moves “disappointing.” The Western States Petroleum Association says California's environmental regulations already lead the world.



Gift-wrapping this season trends jazzy but sustainable

Nov 25

By Katherine Roth

Associated Press


The trend in gift wrapping this holiday season is toward jazzy yet sustainable options. Consider beautifully folded fabrics or understated, brown or green masking paper topped with colorful washi tape or sprigs of green instead of easily crushed store-bought bows.


“There's a lot of fun stuff going on in gift wrap these days,” says Amy Panos, home editor at Better Homes and Gardens.


“People still like paper, of course, but there's a lot of interest in wrapping gifts in fabric,” she says. There's the Japanese technique of furoshiki, in which the wrapping cloth becomes part of the gift. “Or you can use a scarf or pretty tea towel, then fold it like origami,” Panos says.


Tenugui cloth, similar to furoshiki but rectangular instead of square, can also be used as an alternative to traditional gift wrapping.


As with origami, there are books showing how to wrap gifts in cloth, a gift-wrapping solution in Japan for centuries. Furoshiki come in various sizes, fabrics and patterns.


For unusually large gifts – and an easier wrapping job – decorative pillowcases are a good option, says Tanya Graff, style editor at Martha Stewart Living.


“Overall, the trend is definitely away from throwaway options and toward a more eco-minded approach,” she says.


Pretty boxes are another great and reusable way to present a gift, says Graff.


“You could try decorating a box with decoupage, so that the box is a part of the gift itself. Or cover a stack of hatboxes in marbleized paper. You can put gifts inside,” she says. “Boxes can also be embellished with stick-on rhinestones.”


As much thought should go into the gift wrapping as into the gift itself, she explains. “That way, the wrapping can be a part of the gift or can be reused,” she says.


Many people still prefer paper of course, but Panos and Graff say the aesthetic is changing.


“One thing we're seeing is a very Scandinavian look, with lots of browns and reds and naturals,” says Graff.


Panos agrees. “Brown Kraft paper, like the kind of paper grocery bags are made of, is fantastic. It's multipurpose, inexpensive, and looks great with any kind of ribbon or bow. It's also easy to dress up with colorful ribbon or sprigs of greenery,” she says.


Holiday ornaments are also a great gift topper, she says. Or if you're traveling and want a gift that packs flat, as opposed to something with a bow, try making a sort of “belly band” of some interesting leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper for a pretty and less-bulky gift-wrapping solution.


Decorative washi tape, which comes in a wide range of patterns and colors, is another trendy alternative to ribbon.


Masking paper, which is typically green, is another good alternative to wrapping paper. “It's what painters typically spread across the floor before they start painting,” explains Panos. You can buy rolls of it at a hardware store, and “it looks amazing with a bright red ribbon around it.”


To save on gift tags, Panos suggests using pretty scraps of leftover paper, or writing directly on the package. She recommends that gift recipients save whatever ribbons or wrapping paper can be salvaged so they can be repurposed instead of ending up in a landfill.



Eco-friendly ways to eradicate weeds

Article and photos by Daniel O'Donnell


“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories,” is a quote accredited to the ancient Chinese General Sun Tzu, known for writing the famous military strategy book The Art of War. The philosophy and strategies in the ancient text have transcended military applications and have been used by business leaders, debaters, and even sport team coaches. The influential work can also influence a gardener’s approach to combating weeds.


There is a constant battle between enthusiastic gardeners and tenacious weeds. Taking a militaristic approach to winning the war seems reasonable. The first weapon of choice is probably going to be the application of a chemical herbicide, but this approach could have detrimental side effects for humans, wildlife, and the environment. This is where Sun Tzu’s method to winning a war can be applied to clearing weeds. He was focused on alternatives to violence to achieve victory. That favorable approach can be applied to using different organic techniques as opposed to synthetic chemical herbicides to be triumphant over invasive weeds.


There are three approaches—cultural, mechanical, and biological—for controlling weeds in the garden. There are plenty of nonchemical and environmentally friendly processes within the three approaches to incorporate into a plan of attack.


Cultural approaches to battling weeds refer to methods based on good planning, sound choices, and sensible maintenance. Eliminating moisture where weed seeds grow by using drip irrigation instead of overhead spray heads is one way to suppress them. Planting close-knit ground covers or dense shrubs that block out the light that seedings need to survive is another effective cultural practice. Any mulch, be it chipped tree trimmings or wooden pallets, gravel or rocks, or fall leaf litter, can also block sunlight and impede weed seeds from having contact with the soil, therefore limiting their growth.


Planting trees or other plants that release growth inhibiting toxins into the soil is another potent cultural practice for eliminating weeds. Certain trees such the Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) release allelochemicals that kill many weed species. Lemon Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) is one of the many other smaller sized plants that also releases detrimental allelopathic toxins.


Battles are won on many fronts. Multiple approaches need to be deployed to win the war. This means using one or more mechanical methods in conjunction with cultural approaches. Mechanical weed management is the physical removal of weeds. Hand pulling is the oldest but still effective form of mechanical weed removal in planters and small spaces. However, the process can be time consuming and physically demanding for practical weed removal for the entire home garden. There are many tools a person can use to help speed up the process or help reduce physical exertion while weeding. One of the best is called a hula hoe. It has a long handle that is connected to a sharp two-sided steel blade that allows the user to slice away weeds just below the surface of the ground. The shape of the blade with its curved ends and the pivoting connection to the handle allows the hula hoe to scrape away weeds in hard to access places.


There are fabrics and plastic sheets available that many people use to control weeds. These barriers restrict the natural flow of air, delivery of nutrients, and migration of beneficial soil organisms. They are not reliable because they create a barrier close to the surface that gathers dust that weed seeds will quickly find and exploit. Sheet Mulching is the name given to the process of using cardboard instead of the other materials to create a temporary barrier to kill the existing weeds and prevent the next generation from sprouting. Two or three layers of cardboard covered by three or four inches of mulch can keep an area weed free for years.


The most entertaining way by far for clearing weeds without using toxic chemicals is to use goats. Hiring goats for organic weed control is becoming popular with municipalities and even some homeowners, especially in the hills. Most herders’ websites (type in “goat rental for weed control”) only give estimates for larger areas, but there are some that focus on smaller plots of land, and as demand grows so will the availability to hire goats for smaller gardens.


Although there are cultural and mechanical approaches to successfully fighting weeds, there are still some who will want to use a biological approach and just spray the weeds with something that will kill them. There are organic alternatives to those synthetic weed killers that have now been linked to cancer. Fill a 32oz spray bottle with strong white vinegar and a tablespoon of dish washing soap. Spray on weeds in place of chemical weed killers.


Sun Tzu wrote: “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” The gardener who takes this advice and knows when to use a synthetic herbicide and when not to will win the fight for better health and a safer environment.


Daniel O'Donnell is the co-owner and operator of an organic landscape design/build company in Fremont. www.Chrysalis-Gardens.com



Fatal hit and run in Niles

Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD


Friday, November 29th at ‪8:28 p.m., the Fremont PD Dispatch Center received a call, reporting that an unconscious woman was lying in the roadway at the intersection of Niles Boulevard and Linda Drive. Traffic officers working the Niles Holiday Parade were a short distance away and immediately responded.


When officers arrived, they spoke to a witness who stated the female pedestrian was crossing at the intersection in the crosswalk with her dog, when a vehicle traveling northbound on Niles Boulevard struck them. The driver of the vehicle stopped and walked over to the pedestrian. The driver then returned to his vehicle and drove away.


Fremont Fire and paramedics arrived, but sadly the woman succumbed to her injuries. The dog she was walking also died at the scene.


The driver is described as a white male (unknown age). The vehicle was described as a light colored 4-door sedan. The driver was last seen driving northbound on Niles Boulevard towards Union City. Responding Officers checked the area but were unable to locate the suspect. The vehicle likely has front end damage.


The pedestrian is a woman who appears to be in her 50’s. The Alameda County Coroner has been notified and they will respond to identify the woman and make family/next of kin notifications.


Anyone with information is asked to please contact Fremont Police Dispatch at 510-790-6800 x 3 or email Investigator Brian Burch at Bburch@fremont.gov. We will also accept anonymous tips. Text Tip FremontPD followed by a short message to 888-777. 



Could Home Sharing Be Right for You?

Submitted by City of Fremont


Home Match of the Tri-Cities is a home sharing program that helps connect homeowners with people seeking an affordable place to live. Through this free service, homeowners can benefit from additional income, companionship, or help with chores such as grocery shopping, pet care, or transportation. Home seekers (who live, work, or study in Fremont, Union City or Newark) can benefit from affordable rent and the opportunity to become part of a community.


Home Match connects people based on lifestyle and interests to ensure compatibility and program staff screens applicants through interviews, background checks, and home visits. Program staff will also design a comprehensive Living Together Agreement and will continue to work with both parties, even after the match is made, offering on-going support.


Home Match is a partnership with the City of Fremont and Covia, a Bay Area nonprofit provider of housing and older adult services. To learn more, visit https://covia.org/services/home-match/ or call 510-574-2173.



Iconic stretch of California coastal highway faces closures

AP Wire Service


BIG SUR, Calif. (AP), Nov 13 _ Officials plan to temporarily close an iconic stretch of California's landslide-plagued Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast this winter when forecasts of significant rain emerge.


Highway 1 is a major scenic route for tourists driving between Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as a lifeline for small communities along the rugged coast.


The Monterey Herald reports the California Department of Transportation will provide two days of notice before closures for the Mud Creek or Paul's Slide areas.


Closures could occur at one or both locations, with crews locking gates across the highway. It asked for patience during any closures.


The agency in a statement said the heavy rainfall during the winter of 2017 caused significant landslides at many spots along Highway 1.


In one major landslide, 6 million cubic yards (4.6 million cubic meters) of dirt and rocks covered a quarter-mile (0.4-kilometer) of the two-lane highway at Mud Creek, north of the Monterey-San Luis Obispo county line.


Highway 1 was reconstructed over the top of the slide at a cost of $54 million and it reopened in July 2018.


Among other damage along the route, the 2017 storms triggered a landslide that wrecked a bridge, requiring a $24 million replacement.



Information from: The Monterey County Herald, http://www.montereyherald.com



Interfaith religious group celebrates Thanksgiving

By Raymond Ibale


Before sitting down at Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones, hundreds gathered to rejoice at the 58th annual Tri-City Interfaith Council (TCIC) Thanksgiving Service at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fremont. Pastors and attendees from Tri-City’s Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and Thai communities came together to celebrate friendship and express their gratitude for Thanksgiving.


The service focused on “Growing in Unity” and featured 12 faith communities in the Tri-City area: Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Fremont, Sisters of the Holy Family, Temple Beth Torah, Serra Center, Christ the King Lutheran Church, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Community of Christ, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Niles Discovery Church, and Wat Buddhanusorn.


Tri-City officials Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Newark Mayor Alan L. Nagy, and Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci were in attendance for the service and each expressed their appreciation for communities coming together during the Thanksgiving season.


“I feel so fortunate that every day when I’m in the community, I have the opportunity to learn about so many different faiths and cultures,” Mei said. “We continue our long tradition of respecting one another and learning to love one another. One of the things that makes Thanksgiving great is that we share our faith in the idea that we can live together in peace with our families and communities.”


Highlights of the service included performances by the Rainbow Ukulele Club from Niles Discovery Church, singing “One Love” by Bob Marley; and Thai Buddhist dancers performing “Khan Dok,” also known as Flower Dance. Also, under the direction of Associate Director, Adam Lee, the Interfaith Choir sang “Let All Things Now Living” by John Cowley, and “Draw the Circle Wide” by Gordon Light.


Tri-City Interfaith Council President and senior pastor at Niles Discovery Church, Reverend Jeff Spencer, addressed the audience and reflected on opportunities the Thanksgiving season brings.


“We can focus simply on values that apply to everybody — togetherness, generosity and gratitude. Let’s commit this Thanksgiving to actually doing the work needed to create a community of interracial and multicultural unity, respect, peace, and equality,” Spencer said.

Spencer acknowledged the Ohlone Indian land that the church was built upon. He also gave himself a Thanksgiving homework assignment to learn more about the history and culture from the Ohlone people and encourage the audience do the same.


The Thanksgiving service included the traditional Native American “Prayer to the Four Directions.” Prayers were led by Ohlone Indian and Hayward resident, Andrew Galvan. At four different periods of the service, attendees would recite a prayer in each direction, facing north, south, east, and west.


The service concluded with snacks and refreshment provided by the attendees and TCIC. The TCIC is a grass-roots organization brining together people of diverse religious beliefs from Fremont, Newark, and Union City. Learn more about them at tcicouncil.weebly.com.





Mondays, May 14 – Dec 30

English Conversation Group

1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Practice spoken English in a friendly environment

Union City Branch Library

34007 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City

(510) 745-1464


Mondays, Sep 9 – Dec 17

Advanced Math and Science Tutoring

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

High school/college level help in math, physics and chemistry

Castro Valley Library

3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley

(510) 667-7900



Monday – Friday, Oct 4 – Dec 6

Members Show

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Art by members of the Hayward Arts Council

John O’Lague Galleria

777 B St., Hayward

(510) 538-2787



Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Oct 8 – Dec 3

Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Works by community artists and members of Hayward Arts Council

Sunset Gallery

22100 Princeton St., H2, Hayward

(510) 538-2787



Sundays, Nov 3 – Dec 29

Animal Feeding Time

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Discuss reptiles, observe feeding time

Sunol Regional Wilderness

1895 Geary Rd., Sunol

(510) 544-3249



Saturdays – Sundays, Nov 2 – Dec 29

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, Nov 2 – Dec 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



Sundays, Nov 10 – Jan 4

Dove Gallery Art Competition Exhibit

12 noon – 3 p.m.

Artworks from all ages in various media and styles

Park Victoria Baptist Church

875 S. Park Victoria Dr., Milpitas

(408) 464-5011



Saturdays – Sundays, Nov 23 – Dec 22

Great Dickens Christmas Fair $

10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Shopping, entertainment, and food from Dickensian London

Cow Exhibition Hall

2600 Geneva Ave., San Francisco

(800) 226-0841



Daily, Nov – Dec

Photos with Santa

November: Mon – Sat, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (break 2 p.m.- 3 p.m.), Sun, 12 noon – 6 p.m. (break 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

December: Mon – Sat, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (break 1 p.m.- 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.), Sun, 12 noon – 6 p.m. (break 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.), Xmas Eve, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (break 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.)

Closed Thanksgiving

NewPark Mall

2086 NewPark Mall, Newark

(510) 793-5683


Thursday – Sunday, Nov 5 – Dec 22

Christmas Tours $

various times

Tour the fully decorated Patterson House

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Friday, Dec 6 – Sunday, Jan 5

Zoolights at Oakland Zoo $

5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Light displays, laser shows, kids’ rides

Oakland Zoo

9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland

(510) 632-9525



Fridays, Dec 6 – Dec 13

AARP Smart Driving Course $

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Drivers 50+ years of age can refresh their driving skills and save money

Fremont Senior Center

40086 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont

(510) 790-6600


Thursday – Sundays, Dec 6 – Dec 14

Peter and the Starcatcher $

Thurs. Fri. & Sat. 7 p.m. Sun. 2 pm.

Explore the depths of greed and despair, and the bonds of friendship and love

Irvington High School Valhalla Theatre

41800 Blacow Rd., Fremont

(510) 590-7510



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



Saturday – Sunday, Dec 7 – Dec 15

Tours of Shinn House $

12 noon – 4 p.m.

Docent led tours of the historic house

Shinn House

1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont

(510) 793-9352

(510) 795-0891


Saturdays & Sundays, Dec 7 – Dec 22

Holidays at McConaghy House $

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Victorian House decorated for the holiday

18701 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward

(510) 581-0223


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, Dec 4

Hayward Neighborhood Alert Holiday Party

6:30 p.m.

Enjoy dinner with the Hayward Police. Bring a dish to share and unwrapped toy to donate

Hayward Police Department North District Office

22701 Main St., Hayward

(510) 293-7272


Thursday, Dec 5

Chinese Calligraphy R

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Try your hand at this delicate art using pen, brushes and ink

Fremont Hills Assisted Living & Memory Care

35490 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 796-4200



Thursday, Dec 5

Flu Shot Clinic

9:30 a.m. – 12 noon

Regular dose vaccine for 12 years and older, including pregnant women

San Leandro Senior Community Center

13909 East 14th Street, San Leandro

(510) 577-3462


Thursday, Dec 5

The Tinseltones R

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Festive music that spans decades and globe

Kenneth C. Aitken Center

17800 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley

(510) 881-6738



Thursdays, Dec 5 – Dec 12

Lap Harp Class $

1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Seniors with arthritis or limited mobility are encouraged to attend

Kenneth C. Aitken Center

17800 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley

(510) 881-6738



Thursday, Dec 5

Holiday Concert $

7 p.m.

Castro Valley High School orchestra performs

Castro Valley Center for the Arts

19501 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley

(510) 889-8961



Thursday, Dec 5

Artful Steps @ The Cooler

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Enjoy reception, snacks, and crafts

The Cooler

1517 E. 14th St., San Leandro

(510) 567-2621



Thursday, Dec 5 – Sunday, Dec 8

Morrisson Theatre Chorus Holiday Concert $R

8 p.m., Sun: 2 p.m.

Directed by Cesar Cancino

Douglas Morrisson Theatre

22311 N. Third St., Hayward

(510) 881-6777



Friday, Dec 6

Veterans Art Project Exhibit Reception

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Art projects created by veterans and their partners

John O'Lague Galleria

777 B St, Hayward

(510) 538-2787



Friday, Dec 6

Open House at Patterson House $

5:30 – 8:30

Lively music, Victorian-inspired decorations, and more

Patterson House

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 791-4196



Friday, Dec 6

Eden Area Village Member Forum & Outreach

2 p.m.

Meet members and learn how seniors are being helped in Hayward, Castro Valley and San Lorenzo

Hayward City Hall

777 B St., Hayward

(510) 208-0410



Friday, Dec 6 – Saturday, Dec 7

Convidando esta la noche $

Fri. 7 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m.

Castro Valley High School choral concert

Castro Valley Center for the Arts

19501 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley

(510) 889-8961



Friday, Dec 6 – Sunday, Dec 8

The Living Nativity

Fri & Sat: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sun: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Five scenes with live actors, petting zoo, refreshments

Prince of Peace Church

38451 Fremont Blvd., Fremont

(510) 793-3366



Saturday, Dec 7

Ojo De Dios

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Make yarn from fleece and create a colorful ornament

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Saturday, Dec 7

Monarchs For Kids

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Educational look at butterflies. Ages 3-6

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Saturday, Dec 7

Wreath Making at the Barn R

12 noon – 2 p.m.

Make a “living wreath” from native plants. Ages 7+

Sunol Regional Wilderness

1895 Geary Rd., Sunol

(510) 544-3249



Saturday, Dec 7

Tow Truck Toy Run and Parade

7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Car & truck parade, raffle, buffet breakfast, pictures with Santa

Bridges Community Church

505 Driscoll Rd., Fremont

(510) 651-2030



Saturday, Dec 7

Classic Film Night $

7:30 p.m.

“Wild Beauty”, “Looking for Trouble”, “The Dumbwaiter”

Niles Essanay Theater

37417 Niles Blvd, Fremont

(510) 494-1411



Saturday, Dec 7

Family Crafts at McConaghy House $

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Holidays theme

McConaghy House

18701 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward

(510) 581-0223



Saturday, Dec 7

Intro to Acrylic Painting

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Develop painting skills and techniques. Ages 15+

Centerville Library

3801 Nicolet Ave., Fremont

(510) 795-2629



Saturday, Dec 7

Stories Under An Oak

11 a.m. – 12 Noon

Storytime under the canopy of a majestic oak

Coyote Hills

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Saturday, Dec 7

Cart of Curiosities

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Find the cart filled with wonders of cultural and natural history

Coyote Hills

8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Saturday, Dec 7

Snacks with Santa $R

10 a.m. – 12 noon

Cookies, hot cocoa, photo with Santa. Ages 12 and under

Union City Ruggieri Senior Center

33997 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City

(510) 675-5328



Saturday, Dec 7

Holiday Cheer Ornament Party

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Enjoy treats, listen to stories, decorate the tree. Ages 2-12

Union City Police Department

34009 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City

(510) 471-1365



Saturday, Dec 7

Fossils from 680 Freeway

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

One of the original boy paleontologists Phil Gordon will be present

Children’s Natural History Museum

4074 Eggers Dr., Fremont

(510) 790-6284



Saturday, Dec 7

Fremont Hub Holiday Open House

12 noon – 3 p.m.

Snow play area, face painting, balloon twister, holiday music

Fremont Hub

39261 Fremont Hub, Fremont

(510) 793-5683



Saturday, Dec 7

Fremont Youth Symphony Orchestra Winter Concert

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Works by Mozart, Schubert, Respighi, Handel, Saint Seans

Irvington Presbyterian Church

4181 Irvington Ave., Fremont

(510) 657-3133



Saturday, Dec 7

Cine Next Film Festival $

11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Award winning films, acting workshops for teens, awards ceremony

Mexican Heritage Plaza

1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose



Saturday, Dec 7

Christmas Countdown Calendar Workshop R

9 a.m. – 12 noon

Fun project, plus free apron and pin

Home Depot

1177 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas

(408) 942-7301



Saturday, Dec 7

Christmas Countdown Calendar Workshop R

9 a.m. – 12 noon

Fun project, plus free apron and pin

Union City Home Depot

30055 Industrial Parkway SW, Union City

(510) 489-9400



Saturday, Dec 7

Christmas Countdown Calendar Workshop R

9 a.m. – 12 noon

Fun project, plus free apron and pin

Home Depot Newark

5401 Thornton Ave., Newark



Saturday, Dec 7

Rich Swift Memorial Ironman Duels

8 a.m.

Ten wrestling teams compete, boys and girls

Newark Memorial High School Gym

39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark

(510) 487-4995


Saturday, Dec 7

Holiday Extravaganza Concert $

1 p.m.

Ohlone College music groups present traditional Christmas music

Smith Center

43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 659-6031



Saturday, Dec 7

A Charlie Brown Christmas

6 p.m.

The Jim Martinez Jazz Quartet plays music Snoopy would dance to

First Presbyterian Church of Newark

35450 Newark Blvd., Newark




Saturday, Dec 7

Eric Swalwell Town Hall

9:15 a.m.

Open to all 15th Congressional District residents

Wells Middle School

6800 Penn Dr, Dublin

(510) 370-3322


Saturday, Dec 7 – Sunday, Dec 8

Monarch Spotting

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Use a spotting scope to look for butterflies. Ages 3-6

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Saturday, Dec 7 – Sunday, Dec 8

Mission Peak Chamber Singers: Navidad Nuestra $

Sat: 8 p.m. Sun: 4 p.m.

Featuring music from Central and South America

Old Mission San Jose

43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 659-6158

(510) 926-6727



Sunday, Dec 8

Paskuhang Pinoy

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Filipino Christmas celebration

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

279 S. Main St., Milpitas

(408) 262-256

(650) 290-0542


Sunday, Dec 8

Monarchs: Pollinator Royalty

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Learn how butterflies affect our surroundings

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Sunday, Dec 8

Santa’s Workshop

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Singing, dancing, crafts, cookie decorating, face painting, photos

Bayfair Mall

15555 E. 14th St., San Leandro



Sunday, Dec 8

Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee $

4 p.m.

“Babes in Toyland”, “Good Cheer”

Niles Essanay Theater

37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont

(510) 494-1411



Sunday, Dec 8

Newark Symphonic Winds Holiday Pops Concert $

1 p.m.

Get into the holiday spirit. Bring new, unwrapped toy for admission

Thornton Jr. High, Multi-Use Auditorium

4357 Thornton Ave., Fremont

(510) 659-2542



Sunday, Dec 8

St. Nicks of Niles “Giving Hope” $

5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Music, food, and drinks. Benefit for City of Fremont Giving Hope program

Niles Cafe

121 I St., Fremont

(510) 791-6049



Sunday, Dec 8

Native Plant Gardens

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Visit the native plant gardens. Meet at Greenhouse

Ardenwood Historic Farm

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 544-2797



Sunday, Dec 8

Desi Wealth Summit $R

8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Tax and wealth planning sessions, networking

India Community Center

525 Los Coches St., Milpitas

(408) 934-1130



Monday, Dec 9

Outdoor Discoveries: Wildlife Detectives 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, Dec 9

Covered California Enrollment Workshop

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Learn about health care options, eligibility, how to register

Fremont Main Library Fukaya Room B

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 745-1467


Monday, Dec 9

Milpitas Rotary Club Meeting

12 noon – 1:15 p.m.

Speakers: School District Superintendent and School Board President

Dave and Busters

940 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas

(408) 957-9215



Monday, Dec 9

Lawyer in the Library R

6 p.m.

Free 20 min. consultation

Castro Valley Library

3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley

(510) 667-7900



Monday, Dec 9

Creekside Middle School Winter Concert $

7 p.m.

Evening of beautiful choral music

Castro Valley Center for the Arts

19501 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley

(510) 889-8961



Tuesday, Dec 10

Security on the Internet

1:30 p.m.

Workshop to learn how the internet works and how to enjoy it safely

Union City Branch Library

34007 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City

(510) 745-1464



Tuesday, Dec 10

Weekday Bird Walk

7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Enjoy bird life on a tranquil walk

Alameda Creek Regional Trail

Niles Staging Area Old Canyon Rd. in Niles District, Fremont

(510) 544-3220



Tuesday, Dec 10

Presentation by Better Business Bureau

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Scams and consumer protection

Fremont Main Library

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 745-1421



Wednesday, Dec 11

Small Business Financing R

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

A look at types of financing, including loans

Hayward City Hall, Rm 2A

777 B St., Hayward

(510) 208-0410



Thursday, Dec 12

Small Business Financing R

10 a.m. – 12 noon

A look at types of financing, including loans

Fremont Main Library

2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont

(510) 745-1421



Friday, Dec 13

Black Tie Fundraiser $

5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Gala to support Milpitas Community Educational Endowment

Ta’s Restaurant

90 S Abel St., Milpitas



Saturday, Dec 14

Praying in Advent $R

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Vigil to prepare for the holiday season

Dominican Center

43326 Mission CIR (off Mission Tierra), Fremont

(510) 933-6360


Register by Dec 10


Saturday, Dec 14 – Sunday, Dec 15

Nutcracker Ballet $R

Sat: 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun: 2 p.m.

Smith Center at Ohlone College

43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 659-6031




Holiday concert featuring Newark Symphonic Winds

Submitted by Shirley Sisk


On Sunday, December 8, the Newark Symphonic Winds will perform a holiday pops concert under the direction of Richard Wong. The 47-piece wind ensemble is composed of professional, semi-professional and amateur musicians. It has been performing at LOV’s holiday concerts since 2008. The concert will feature many of your favorite holiday pieces and there will also be an opportunity to sing-a-long some favorite carols led by vocalist Carl Medford.


Admission for this concert is a new unwrapped toy for LOV’s Holiday Toy Drive program, which delivered 4,489 toys to Tri-City agencies last year.


LOV’s concerts are held at the Thornton Junior High Multi-Purpose Auditorium. Doors open at 1 p.m. and the concert will begin at 2 p.m. Complimentary refreshments are served during intermission. For information, call (510) 793-5683 or check the website www.lov.org.


Newark Symphonic Winds Holiday Concert

Sunday, Dec 8

2 p.m.

Thornton Junior High Multi-Purpose Auditorium

4356 Thornton Ave., Fremont

(510) 793-5683




Mayor Dutra-Vernaci Statement on Double-Homicide


I am both outraged and saddened by the senseless shooting death of two young boys in our [Union City] community this past weekend (Saturday, November 23). My deepest sympathy lies with the family of the victims of this horrible crime. Since Saturday morning, there has been an outpouring of emotions that have been shared with us from our residents and the City has taken every opportunity it can to listen, provide answers and talk next steps. Important to this process has been myself and the City Council, City Commissioners and City employees (many of whom live in Union City) who have made themselves available around the clock to provide support to the community during this challenging time.


It is vitally important that the community is provided the space and time to heal from this tragedy, as the Union City Police Department works to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. We do not want to accept any crime of this gravity in our community, but it is particularly appalling that it took place at one of our schools – Searles Elementary School. Schools, just like churches, are sacred places and our kids deserve these spaces to be free of crime and violence.


The City Council and I are committed to reinforcing the safety of our community by ensuring that Police and Youth and Family Services have the resources they need to maintain public safety, carry out an investigation, continue to serve those who are in need of grieving support and provide help to at-risk youth in our community. We are also working in concert with the New Haven Unified School District to make sure that our students have a safe place to attend school. We thank Superintendent Thompson for being proactive about addressing this situation with parents of the School District.


I would like to recognize the swift actions and hard work of the Union City Police Department to respond to this incident and begin a comprehensive investigation that will attempt to understand why this terrible crime occurred and identify the party or parties that are responsible for it. The Union City Police Department has also increased neighborhood patrols in the area of the shooting, particularly, during recently planned vigils, to ensure the safety of the community during this time of grieving. A vigil has been set-up by members of the community near the site of the crime as a place for people to pay respect for the two young boys. We encourage the community to do this safely and without loitering in the area after-hours.


I also would like to thank the dedicated team of counselors and street outreach workers from Youth and Family Services. They have provided grief counseling and support services to community members impacted by this tragedy. In addition to the crisis response provided by Youth and Family Services, we recognize the critical work they do daily to prevent youth violence and provide intervention services to at-risk youth so that more crimes, like this, do not occur in our community. You can contact Youth and Family services at 510.675.5817 to connect yourself, loved ones or people you know to their services.


Youth and Family Services is partnering with the New Haven Unified School District's Union City Family Center to open a “healing space” for community members grieving this tragedy. This “healing space” will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Union City Family Center located at 725 Whipple Road.  Light refreshments will be available, and attendees can participate in a variety of conversations and activities that will support the community healing process. Please call the Union City Family Center at 510.476.2770 to learn more.


Centro de Servicios is conducting a fundraiser at its corner store located on 6th and H Streets. The public may provide monetary donations by stopping by the store or calling Centro de Servicios directly at 510.489.4100. It is my understanding that the family of the victims prefer that monetary donations to help support the funeral expenses of the two young boys are given to Centro de Servicios, rather than any of the Go Fund Me accounts that has been set up.


Lastly, I want to thank all of the members of this community that have stepped up to help unify the community around this issue. While we do not know why this crime occurred, please understand that the City Council and I will continue to monitor the situation and will report back to the community once we know more.



Trojans win championship in overtime thriller

Submitted by Mike Heightchew


The Milpitas Trojans won the Division IV Central Coast Section Championship over the Branhan Bruins 27-26 on November 29th in a close contest on hellacious night of wind and rain that saw only 11 passes by both teams. Scoring in the first quarter left the game tied at 6-6 at halftime. Weather conditions eased in the third quarter resulting in scoring by both teams without breaking the tie. Regulation play ended with a 20-20 tie that led to overtime and a dramatic win for the Trojans. Although both teams scored, only the Trojans were able to convert for the extra point and the 27-26 win.


This is the Trojans’ first section football title since 2013 and fourth in school history. The star of the night was Josue Torres, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior who ran for 325 yards on 39 carries, starting with a touchdown of 70 yards for the first score of the game. He also tied the game at 26 in overtime with a 1-yard run. Nate Miskella won the game for the Trojans with extra point conversion in overtime. Another star for the Trojans was Curtis Price who made an important a play to keep hope alive for the Trojans as he picked up a Branham fumble and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown; Nate Miskella tied the score at 20 with 1:09 left in the third quarter.



Mission San Jose Tree Lighting

Submitted by Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce


On Saturday, December 7, Mission San Jose will hold their annual “Tree Lighting” at the Old School Business Center on Mission Boulevard from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served, including hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, and Christmas cookies. The night’s activities include live music, face painting, and balloon making. Santa Claus will be ditching his sleigh and arriving on the Fremont Station Four fire truck.


This event is Sponsored by Robson Homes and the Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce.


Mission San Jose Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 7

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Old School Business Center

Near 43571 Mission Blvd., Fremont (next to Subway Sandwiches)




The Orion Nebula: Window into Stellar Nursery

By David Prosper


Winter begins in December for observers in the Northern Hemisphere, bringing cold nights and the return of one of the most famous constellations to our early evening skies: Orion the Hunter.


Orion is a striking pattern of stars and is one of the few constellations whose pattern is repeated almost unchanged in the star stories of cultures around the world. Below the three bright stars of Orion’s Belt lies his sword, where you can find the famous Orion Nebula, also known as M42. The nebula is visible to our unaided eyes in even moderately light-polluted skies as a fuzzy “star” in the middle of Orion’s Sword. M42 is about 20 light years across, which helps with its visibility since it’s roughly 1,344 light years away. Baby stars, including the famous “Trapezium” cluster, are found inside the nebula’s whirling gas clouds. These gas clouds also hide “protostars” from view: objects in the process of becoming stars, but that have not yet achieved fusion at their core.


The Orion Nebula is a small window into a vastly larger area of star formation centered around the constellation of Orion itself. NASA’s Great Observatories, space telescopes like Hubble, Spitzer, Compton, and Chandra, studied this area in wavelengths we can’t see with our earthbound eyes, revealing the entire constellation alight with star birth, not just the comparatively tiny area of the nebula.


Why then can we only see the nebula? M42 contains hot young stars whose stellar winds blew away their cocoons of gas after their “birth,” the moment when they begin to fuse hydrogen into helium. Those gas clouds, which block visible light, were cleared away just enough to give us a peek inside at these young stars. The rest of the complex remains hidden to human eyes, but not to advanced space-based telescopes.


We put telescopes in orbit to get above the interference of our atmosphere, which absorbs many wavelengths of light. Infrared space telescopes, such as Spitzer and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, detect longer wavelengths of light that allow them to see through the dust clouds in Orion, revealing hidden stars and cloud structures. It’s like the infrared goggles firefighters wear to see through smoke from burning buildings and wildfires.


Learn more about how astronomers combine observations made at different wavelengths with the Night Sky Network activity, “The Universe in a Different Light,” downloadable from bit.ly/different-light-nsn. You can find more stunning science and images from NASA’s Great Observatories at www.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.



20th annual Newark Artists Open Studios and Holiday Boutique

Submitted by Adriane Dedic


Celebrate our 20th year with us! Many art pieces will be specially priced at 20% off. Tour three studio sites and meet twelve talented and award-wining professional artists. Unique holiday gifts, original art, and wearable art! Artist-designed jewelry, scarves, pillows, knitted shawls, hats, and mittens. Home décor, bowls trays, vases, glass ceramics, pottery and macramé. Garden sculpture, tile murals, oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings. Landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, still lifes, abstract, and figurative. Paintings on silk, mixed media, textile collage, computer art and more…


Enjoy holiday cookies, wine and cheese. Chat with artists in their studios and get tips on techniques to inspire your own creativity.


Studio locations:

Simone Archer, Lynn Kozma, Sue Morford

36541 Cherry St.


Adriane Dedic, Emelie Rogers, Mary & Gene Bobik

35811 Ruschin Dr.


Imaginook Studio: Tetiana Taganska, Olga Tymoshchuk, Susan Helmer, Natalia Birktairova, Parul Parekh

39675 Cedar Blvd., Suite 135


Newark Open Studios

Friday, Dec 6 – Sunday, Dec 8

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Various Locations

(510) 794-3436





Olive Hyde’s “Holiday for the Arts” Show 2019

Submitted by Seema Gupta


Olive Hyde Art Guild is excited to invite you to its 37th annual “Holiday for the Arts” Gala, Show and Sale that will take place during the first weekend of December. It’s a perfect opportunity to view and purchase one-of-a-kind artworks created by local artisans. This signature community event is the only fundraiser that supports the Guild’s activities throughout the year. Over $25,000 of handcrafted goods and fine art are sold each year, with proceeds benefitting the Olive Hyde Art Gallery as well as supporting visual arts programs in Fremont schools and community.


A ticketed Gala kicks off the event on Friday, December 6th, featuring live music by 40-year veteran musician Rudy Ramos, who is a classical and flamenco guitarist. Rudy has complemented several special events with his music. The attendees will enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres alongside first viewing and sale of art. They will have a chance to win an original piece donated by our featured artist, Seema Gupta, whose work has been displayed at several juried exhibitions in Fremont and Hayward, as well as at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara.


The show remains open to the public, free of charge, on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Peter Denyer, Lucy Lanham, and Vocalist Mark Loy of Classical Guitar & Vocal Ensemble will be performing from 1:30-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, while Joyce Tanaka and Roberta Brokaw of Flute Fantasia will be playing from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.


This year we have over 90 artists with a diverse array of creative items. Many of our longtime favorites are the ceramic bowls by Akio Aochi, intricate vases by Eileen Morrison, fiber art by Adrian Dedic & Susan Helmer, glass sculptures by Gigi Erickson, and artwork by Denise Oyama Miller and Robyn Leimer. Likewise, the jewelry by Kay Hille-Hatten, Linda Abernathy and Aneta Cowgill is much in demand. Liz Ramos’ holiday decor, such as Santa suits and snowmen gift card holders, sell out quickly as well. 


Additionally, there are about new fifteen artists. A software professional, Minoti Kundargi, is a ceramic artist whose pieces combine functionality and elegance. Her work draws inspiration from the traditional pottery of her native India. Henriette Cons Ponte has been working with clay for over twelve years. Born in Romania, raised in Israel, she now lives in the Bay Area, focusing primarily on hand-building techniques. Henriette views nature as her muse, often collecting leaves, rocks, and tree bark, or taking photographs of boulders, trees, and flowers, to later mimic in her pottery.


With an Engineering background, Rosario (Joe) Milelli worked with stained glass as a hobby, but transitioned to fused glass fifteen years ago, inspired by its ability to create 3-dimensional objects. He is self-taught and enjoys experimenting with new materials and techniques, including the use of dichroic glass, gold, mica and enamel paints. Another engineer, originally from China, Ruth Wei Li was born with a complex heart disease that caused her to spend much of her childhood watching children play outdoors and staring at nature through the windows. From there, she conceived new characters to draw and has continued to paint throughout her life.

With a desire to repurpose found objects that may be otherwise discarded, Liz Marshall began creating mosaic art. She uses various substrates with objects such as mirrors, pieces of stained glass, polymer clay tiles, broken dishes, vintage jewelry, and beads. Liz’s work is characterized by neat and clean lines, and structural integrity attained by using the best bases, adhesives, and materials.


Watercolor artist Eileen Ormiston has been painting for almost forty years. A native of Scotland, she now lives in San Anselmo. Her paintings blend flowers with still life and landscapes, drawing inspiration from familiar objects such as pieces of china, fresh fruit, and flowers. Many of her paintings have been reproduced as posters and cards. By contrast, Lina Melkonian recently started her creative journey in the footsteps of her artistic family, experimenting and cultivating her art, with thoughts, ideas, emotions, and a myriad of experiences and sensory perceptions that come to life on her canvasses.


Amanda Fung has enjoyed crafting and DIY projects since she was little. She tries to imbue “tactility” into her work, as she likes people to use multiple senses while experiencing her creations. To that end, she has designed a colorful, fun interactive calendar. Also, she crochets scarves that all start with yarn and a hook, but various techniques and patterns render them completely different. After quitting her corporate job five years ago, Shamita Tripathy started to paint full-time. She had always been passionate about painting, but school, kids, and work took priority. She has been doing portraits in oil for over seven years, but now she likes to paint on bottles, coasters, Christmas ornaments, magnets, and ceramic vases with alcohol ink and acrylics.


With such talented participants, we look forward to a wonderful event, and hope you will be able to attend. Explore a wealth of exquisite, handmade selections that would make a memorable gift for those on your holiday shopping list or a personal treasure at a reasonable price!


Tickets for the Opening Gala are $15 for members, $20 for non-members, and may be purchased at the door.


Opening Night Gala

Friday, Dec 6

5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Show and Sale

Saturday, Dec 7 & Sunday, Dec 8

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Olive Hyde Art Gallery

123 Washington Blvd. Fremont




Celebrating Christmas, the Filipino Way

By Hugo Vera


According to the Pew Research Center, the Bay Area has become home to a sizable portion of the Filipino American community, with San Francisco and San Jose making the list of 10 U.S. cities with the highest Filipino populations.


There is arguably no better evidence of this cultural boom in the East Bay than the annual Paskuhang Pinoy (Filipino Christmas) festival, taking place in Milpitas this December. First organized in 2010 by J.S. Camins of J.S. Camins Productions, this event has consistently grown to be one of the yearly hallmarks of Filipino American life in the Bay Area.


“We started out in Daly City and the event began to include places such as Union City, Milpitas and Fremont,” says Camins. In addition to Pashkuhang Pinoy, J.S. Camins Productions has orchestrated countless other events geared toward the Filipino American community, including the Adobo Festival held every summer as well as other festivals showcasing Filipino food, dance and fashion.


However, Paskuhang Pinoy stands out. “Christmas is a really big deal in the Philippines. We start celebrating Christmas as early as September and it goes on until January,” Camins adds. “The country is more than 80% Catholic so celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is very important there.”


Another defining aspect of Filipino Christmas traditions is lantern-making. In the Philippines, it’s common for people to build lanterns in decorative star shapes called “parol.” The festival will feature a lantern-building competition where judges will award points and prizes depending on the creativity and sustainability of the lanterns presented.


“This year we’re really focusing on being more green which is why lanterns made from reused or recyclable materials will get more points,” states Camins. The largest lantern ever created at Paskuhang Pinoy stood at 10 ft tall and was comprised of a plethora of sustainable materials such as bamboo and recycled wood/canvas.


The festival will also entail a bazaar where local vendors will be selling Filipino-style food, Christmas ornaments and possibly some traditional Filipino garments. Though it’s impossible to obtain a definite headcount given the volume of attendees, Camins Productions estimates that last year’s festival attracted more than 6,000 guests going in and out of a 500-person capacity event hall. The event contains a musical showcase as well, featuring live performances from local artists including Beyond Daydream, Zeyonce, CJ Storm and The CNM Divas.


“Of our biggest mission is encouraging youth involvement. We work with the Youth Ministry of St. John the Baptist Church and we’ve made a donation of $1,000 to them to continue their efforts,” adds Camins. Admission to the event is free, but attendees are encouraged to make a purchase at the bazaar.


“We’re so glad to be having this event because generations of people will get to celebrate Christmas and sing all-Christmas songs,” concludes Camins. “The feeling of it makes you so happy and that’s what’s most important.”



Pashkuhang Pinoy (Filipino Christmas)

Sunday, Dec 8

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

St. John the Baptist Church (Pavalkis Hall)

279 S. Main St. Milpitas

(650) 290-0542




Christmas at the Patterson House

Submitted by Rena Kiehn


Celebrate a Victorian-style Christmas at a beautifully restored Queen Anne Revival style mansion.


Holiday Open House


Put yourself in the holiday spirit by visiting our “Christmas Open House” on Friday, December 6 with your chance to see the Patterson House fully decorated for the holidays. Enjoy live music, refreshments, Victorian inspired decorations and more! This is an “after hours” City of Fremont event at the park. Register at Fremont.gov/HolidayOH. Adult tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Children 12 and under enter free.


Christmas Tours


Begin your holiday season by seeing the historic Patterson House dressed up for the holidays starting on December 5. The docent-led Christmas tour will highlight Victorian inspired decorations and holiday traditions from the late 1800’s. House tours are $2 – $3 (plus winter rate park admission fee at Arden Station).


For booking a large group or inquiries about weekday tour schedule, please call (510) 791-4196.


Christmas at the Patterson House


Open House

Friday, Dec 6

5:30 – 8:30



Thursday, Dec 5 – Sunday, Dec 22

Thurs/Fri: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m.

Sat/Sun: 12 noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.


Patterson House

34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont

(510) 791-4196




Divided US House committee backs pot decriminalization

By Michael R. Blood

Associated Press


LOS ANGELES (AP), Nov 20 – A divided House committee approved a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, a vote that was alternately described as a watershed turning point in national cannabis policy or a hollow political gesture.


The House Judiciary Committee approved the proposal 24-10 after more than two hours of debate.


It would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to set their own marijuana policy.


The vote “marks a turning point for federal cannabis policy and is truly a sign that prohibition's days are numbered,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement.


If the measure comes up for a vote in the full House, it has better chances in the Democratic-controlled chamber than in the GOP-held Senate, where it's future is uncertain.


Republicans on the panel complained that the bill had never had a hearing and lacked the bipartisan support to become law.


“It's going nowhere,” said Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican.

Praying in Advent: My heart keeps vigil

Submitted by Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose


In the midst of the busyness of preparations for Christmas, you are invited to come:

  • To a place of quiet and stillness
  • To explore the Advent themes of waiting and expectation, desire and watchfulness
  • To prepare your heart for the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us


On Saturday, December 14 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. the Dominican Center will host a vigil to prepare for the holiday season, facilitated by S. Ingrid Clemmensen, O.P. This day of reflection will also include presentations, rituals, sharing, music, art and suggestions for Advent and Christmas prayer at home.


$40 covers registration and lunch. Please register by December 10 at http://bit.ly/2019PrayAdvent.


Praying in Advent

Saturday, Dec 14

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Dominican Center

43326 Mission CIR (off Mission Tierra), Fremont

(510) 933-6360


Registration: $40

Register by Dec 10



“No Party Preference” voters to receive info

Submitted by ROV Media


The nearly 300,000 Santa Clara County voters registered as having “No Party Preference” will soon receive a postcard in the mail outlining what steps they need to take if they want to cast a ballot for a presidential candidate in the March 3, 2020 election.


No Party Preference (NPP) ballots do not include candidates for U.S. President. However, some political parties allow one-time crossover voting for their candidates without a change in registration, while other parties require voters to be registered in that party to participate.


Voters who registered as NPP may vote in the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election for the American Independent, Democratic or Libertarian parties. Voters who return the postage-paid postcard to the Registrar of Voters by January 2 will receive a crossover ballot of their indicated choice when the Vote by Mail ballots are mailed on February 3.


NPP voters who miss the January 2 cutoff will be mailed a nonpartisan Vote by Mail ballot on February 3. Voters can still return the postcard after January 2 to receive a replacement crossover ballot, which they can cast instead of their original nonpartisan ballot. The postcard must be received a week before the election in order to receive a new crossover ballot by mail.


Alternatively, NPP voters may also obtain an American Independent, Democratic, or Libertarian crossover party ballot at the Registrar of Voters’ Office or at any Vote Center in Santa Clara County. Early voting at the Registrar of Voters’ Office will begin on February 3; Vote Centers will open beginning February 22.


The Green, Peace & Freedom, and Republican parties do not allow NPP voters to vote their party ballot. Voters who registered as NPP who want to vote for the presidential candidate in these parties must re-register to vote with that party preference. Regular registration ends February 18, 2020. After that, voters may change party preference at the Registrar of Voters’ Office or any Vote Center and cast a Provisional Ballot, however, the process is streamlined if registration occurs before the February 18 deadline.


Completing the postcard or voting a crossover ballot does not change a voter’s registered party affiliation. Voters who complete this postcard will continue to be registered as No Party Preference and will have an opportunity to request a crossover ballot in each future presidential primary election.


Registration can be done online at www.sccvote.org. Voters wishing to check their registration status may do so online at Check Your Registration Status. Voters should complete a new registration form if they have moved, changed a name(s), or would like to change political party preference. To register to vote in Santa Clara County, a voter must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on or before Election Day, a Santa Clara County resident and not imprisoned or on parole for a felony.


For more information, contact the Registrar of Voters’ Office at (408) 299-VOTE (8683) or toll-free at (866) 430-VOTE (8683), or visit sccvote.org.



Public Safety Funding Renewal Measure on March 2020 Ballot

Submitted by Lauren Sugayan


Citing the need to renew expiring local funding that helps keep police officers on patrol in Union City neighborhoods, helps maintain response times to 911 calls and other emergencies, and supports youth violence prevention and gang intervention programs, the City Council voted on November 26 to place a public safety parcel tax renewal measure on the March 3, 2020 ballot.


Sixteen years ago, local voters approved a dedicated source of local funding for public safety in Union City. Over this period, Union City has experienced a 30% reduction in youth violence, similar reductions in property crime and local high school graduation rates are on the rise as students stay on a path to higher education and good jobs.


Over $4 million in annual funding dedicated to public safety services and youth violence prevention in Union City is set to automatically expire in June 2021 unless renewed by voters.


“The community values public safety in Union City. We are committed to protecting those we serve with effective neighborhood patrols, timely response to emergency and non-emergency calls for service, and preventing youth violence in our community,” Police Chief Jared Rinetti said. “The $4 million that Union City receives each year from the public safety parcel tax helps support the core functions of police, fire, and youth and family service programs.”


The funding lost due to the expiration of the public safety parcel tax would be on top of recent cuts to public safety services resulting from the City’s ongoing structural deficit. For example, millions have already been cut from the Union City Police Department budget. As a result, at times, just four on-duty police officers patrol our city of approximately 75,000 residents. Expiration of dedicated public safety funding that Union City has relied upon for nearly two decades would likely result in reductions to the number of on-duty firefighters and paramedics.


“The funds from this measure can only be used to support public safety services in our community and cannot be taken away by the State,” said City Manager Joan Malloy. “Independent financial audits and reports to the community ensure funds are spent properly.”


If approved by two-thirds of local voters, the public safety parcel tax renewal measure would cost the typical residential property owner $168 per year. Businesses and owners of larger properties would pay more. Low income residents would continue to be eligible for an exemption.


For more information, please visit: http://www.unioncity.org/publicsafety



Remove it or Lose it.

Submitted by Fremont P.D.


 Let’s reduce crime together this holiday season. Remove it or Lose it.


The holidays are upon us and many of us will be out shopping over the next several weeks. Unfortunately, thieves will be on the lookout for crimes of opportunity and we want you to reduce your risk of becoming a victim by taking a few simple steps. Watch our auto burglary prevention video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rshiBqJcJQc)

or read our safety tips below.


Don’t leave valuables of any kind in your vehicle:

  • Backpacks, gym bags, tablets, iPads, briefcases, day-planners, cash/coins, checkbooks, credit cards, wallets, purses, laptops, cell phones (and chargers), GPS devices, stereo/CD players (and faceplates), speakers, jewelry, keys and tools.
  • Lock ALL doors and roll up windows even if you’re going only going to be away for a short amount of time. It only takes seconds for thieves to steal your stuff.
  • If you must leave valuables in your car, stash them out of sight (in the trunk or under the seat) BEFORE you reach your destination.


Someone may be watching you stash your valuables when you park your car. Plan your shopping/errands so that you don't load your trunk until you are ready to drive to another destination; never open a trunk, fill it full of valuables, close it, and then just walk away.


Once home, unload your valuables immediately. Do not store valuables in your car any longer than necessary and certainly never overnight.


If your trunk can be opened from inside your car without a key, lock this feature when you are not in your car or have it disabled, if possible.


Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables hidden in your vehicle. Remember to also secure docking stations, connector cables, phone chargers, Fastraks and loose coins.


Park in busy, well-lighted areas and remember to set any alarm or anti-theft device.


Always call the Fremont Police Department to report suspicious activity. Dial 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress and use the non-emergency number. 790-6800 option 3, to report non-emergency information.



Reflections on Water

Joy of working at Alameda County Water District

By Kurt Arends


You never know what to expect when you join a new organization. Even after being a part of several different water agencies in the past and experiencing a variety of organizational cultures and environments, it is still a refreshing experience coming to the Alameda County Water District (ACWD). I have been with organizations that were both larger and smaller in size than ACWD, and worked with many dedicated and hardworking individuals, and have learned that every organization has its own personality and its own way of doing things.


The first thing that struck me when I walked in the door just a few months ago was the number of people who voiced their joy and gratitude for working at ACWD and their commitment to providing a service to the community. As a new manager coming into the organization, I am impressed every day with the hard work and enthusiasm the staff brings to their jobs. Working in Operations is a 24/7 activity to operate water treatment facilities and distribute water to customers’ homes and businesses. It requires the knowledge and expertise of a large, dedicated team. Having joined this team and seen first-hand the commitment to the community is a rewarding and fulfilling opportunity. Providing this essential service to the community motivates the staff at ACWD and other water agencies.


It takes the effort of diverse people in different professions to make this happen, day and night, 365 days a year. For staff that works out in the community, the ones you may often see driving down your street, working in your neighborhood or responding to service calls, they work tirelessly to provide service to our customers. Whether it is a single home or an entire neighborhood, the staff is always up for the challenge and does everything in their power to get the water back on as soon as possible. They take enormous pride in knowing they are restoring a service that can affect people’s lives. Whether they are answering a customer’s call or responding to a leak, I am proud of the professionalism and willingness to do everything in their power to provide the best customer service possible.


I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with a group of water treatment plant operators and utility workers that are available 24/7, and engineers, mechanics and technicians who keep facilities maintained and operating. Although ACWD is an agency of only about 230 employees, I’m still meeting people. And when I do, it’s obvious there’s passion and interest in the work they do.


You often hear that a job is made by the people you work with. That is definitely the case working at ACWD. I feel fortunate and honored to work with such a professional group of people providing such a valuable service to the community.



5 suspects arrested for robbery

Submitted by Geneva Bosques


Five suspects were arrested late Thursday night after leading officers on a short pursuit after committing a robbery where shots were fired in front of the Target Store at the Fremont Hub.


Thursday night at 11:38 p.m. the Fremont Police Dispatch Center began receiving multiple calls of shots fired/heard at the Target Store located at the Fremont Hub. Patrol Officers immediately responded.


Additional information was learned that multiple suspects had gotten into an altercation with security guards in front of the store after being confronted about stealing items, including video games. Their associates drove up in a getaway car and one of the suspects fired multiple rounds into the air. The suspects got into the car and it fled.


A witness provided the direction of flight and a patrol officer located the suspect car near Mowry Ave and Glenview Dr. The driver failed to yield and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit lasted approximately three minutes and ended in the area of Central Ave and Cedar Blvd. in Newark. One suspect fled the car on foot. Officers quickly took that individual into custody, along with four additional occupants in the vehicle. A loaded firearm and the loss from the store were recovered in the car.


There were no reported injuries.


Officers collected several shell casings from the parking lot area, interviewed witnesses and victims before clearing the scene. This remains a very active investigation and the information is very preliminary. Some of the suspects are still in the process of being interviewed. At least one suspect is a juvenile (17) and the others are adults in their late teens (18-19). Further information will be made available as the investigation progresses.




Grocery-carrying robots are coming. Do we need them?

By Matt O'brien

AP Technology Writer


BOSTON (AP), Nov 25 – The first cargo-carrying robot marketed directly to consumers is on sale this holiday season. But how many people are ready to ditch their second car to buy a two-wheeled rover that can follow them around like a dog?


Corporate giants like Amazon, FedEx and Ford have already been experimenting with sending delivery robots to doorsteps. Now Piaggio, the Italian company that makes the Vespa scooter, is offering a stylish alternative to those blandly utilitarian machines – albeit one that weighs 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and costs $3,250.


It's named the Gita (JEE'-tah) after the Italian word for a short, pleasurable excursion – the kind you might take to pick up some lacinato kale and gourmet cheese at the farmers market. Its creators have such trips in mind for the “hands-free carrier” that can hold produce and other objects as it follows its owner down a sidewalk.


“We're trying to get you out into the world and connected to that neighborhood you decided to move to because it was so walkable,” said Greg Lynn, CEO of Piaggio's tech-focused subsidiary, Piaggio Fast Forward.


Tech industry analysts are already declaring the Gita as doomed to fail unless it finds a more practical application, such as lugging tools around warehouses, hospitals or factory floors.


“That's a lot of money for what is in effect just a cargo-carrying robot that's going to carry your groceries,” said Forrester technology analyst J.P. Gownder.


On a recent November morning, Lynn was hunched over in a Boston waterfront park, pushing a button that triggered a Gita to “see” him with its cameras and sensors. Then came a musical whirring sound as the device – a squarish, bright red bucket with two oversized wheels – rose up and signaled it was ready for a neighborhood stroll.


A young boy in a stroller pointed excitedly. Another pedestrian asked to try it, and playfully shouted “ah!” as it swerved around, keeping in pursuit as she switched directions.


The Gita doesn't require a phone or intrusive people-tracking technology such as facial recognition or GPS.


“It basically just locks onto you and tracks you,” said Piaggio Fast Forward's other co-founder, Jeffrey Schnapp.


Other startups like Starship Technologies have a more conventional business plan for their own delivery robots. The company charges a delivery fee starting at $1.99 if you order its rovers to bring you a Starbucks coffee or a lunch from Panda Express.


So far, the best habitat to find Starship's six-wheelers are relatively confined spaces such as college campuses; the University of Houston and the University of Wisconsin-Madison rolled them out this fall. The robots, which look like oversized ice chests on wheels, can carry up to 20 pounds (9 kilograms).


“I love them. I think they're so cute!” University of Houston freshman Sadie Garcia said as one of the machines rolled up with a bagel sandwich she'd ordered. She said she was so cold she didn't want to leave her dorm.


Starship co-founder Ahti Heinla said his San Francisco startup once looked at selling the machines directly to consumers but dropped the idea after realizing it would have to price them at more than $3,000.


Amazon is experimenting with a similar-looking machine that delivers retail goods in a handful of U.S. neighborhoods. FedEx is testing its own delivery rover in partnership with Pizza Hut, Walmart, Target and Walgreens. Ford has showed off a gangly two-legged robot to carry items to homes. So far, none are as far along as Starship, which has hundreds of its machines already in service.


While Forrester's Gownder isn't impressed with the Gita, he's bullish about delivery robots of the Starship variety because their autonomy will help save labor costs. Gownder said it's more of a question of whether ground-based rovers or aerial delivery drones will prove more successful.


The wheeled cargo robots that have already made it out into the wild have significant limitations.


Starship's machines still require plenty of manual supervision to load them with food orders. They rely on remote pilots to troubleshoot navigation problems. Customers also have to check a phone app to tell the vehicle where to go and to unlock the bin once it arrives.


The Gita, meanwhile, might still be impractical for many people. It favors paved environments that are dense enough to have stores in walking distance, but not so dense that the machines get lost in the crowd.


And anyone who is simply looking to pull home groceries without heavy lifting can find durable wagons online for less than $100.




Associated Press video journalists John L. Mone in Houston and Rodrique Ngowi in Cambridge, Massachusetts, contributed to this report.



Ordinance for safe storage of firearms in homes

Submitted by Janice Rombeck


At the initiative of Supervisor Dave Cortese, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, on November 19, unanimously approved an ordinance to require safe storage of firearms in homes in unincorporated Santa Clara County.


The ordinance, which emerged from Supervisor Cortese’s 2018 Community Summit on Firearms Safety, is intended to reduce accidents, suicides, acts of violence using firearms and preventing thefts and illicit resale of stolen firearms or their use in crimes.


Final approval will come at the December 10 board meeting, with implementation 90 days after that. The board also approved an outreach plan to inform the public about the new requirement and receive further input.


“The main intention of this ordinance is to save lives,” said Cortese. “Studies have found that guns used by youth in suicides, accidents or school shootings come from their homes. Safe storage of an unloaded firearm can significantly decrease the risks of those tragedies occurring.”


The proposed ordinance generally requires a person in possession of a firearm in a residence in the unincorporated area of the county to either safely store the firearm—by placing the firearm in a locked container, or by disabling the firearm with a trigger lock—or to have the firearm in their close possession and control.


The proposed ordinance would apply only to firearms while they are inside of residences in the unincorporated areas of the county and would not apply whenever firearms are carried outside of residences. The proposed ordinance also exempts licensed hunters while using a seasonal hunting lodge located in rural parts of the county.


Cortese emphasized that the ordinance has been tailored to account for a large County that is both urban and rural. “Traditions and practices of safe firearms use can differ from urban to rural,” he said. “Folks coming in and out of sporting facilities, shooting ranges or training facilities, need to have a more relaxed posture than a lock down.”


To read the entire report on the November 19 Board of Supervisors agenda, visit http://sccgov.iqm2.com/Citizens/calendar.aspx. For more information, call the Office of Supervisor Dave Cortese at (408) 299-5030.



Sutter Health to pay $30M to settle secret kickback lawsuit

AP Wire Service


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Nov 15 – Sutter Health has agreed to pay more than $30 million to the federal government to settle a lawsuit that accused it of paying doctors in exchange for patient referrals.


The Sacramento Bee reports the agreement settles a 2014 secret lawsuit and was filed by the federal government and Laurie Hanvey, a whistleblower who once worked for Sutter as its compliance officer. The suit remained sealed until Thursday.


Hanvey's attorney, Michael Hirst, says the government will pay $5.795 million to Hanvey and her attorneys from the settlement as a result of her bringing her claims to government officials' attention.


Sutter officials said in a statement the settlement resolves overpayments that Sutter had received from the federal government. They said the company has not conceded any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.




Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com



Trees of Angels 2019

Submitted by Shobha Madegowda


Washington Hospital is continuing the tradition of hosting tree lighting ceremonies in early December. This year the lightings kicked off at Silliman Center in Newark on December 2, but there are two more lightings to catch! One is at Union City City Hall on December 4 and at Washington West in Fremont on December 12. Each event includes entertainment, refreshments, and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.


For 24 years, the Trees of Angels tree lightings have supported hospice care in the Tri-City area. Donations given at one of the events will go toward ensuring our community has access to hospice and palliative care.


All tree lightings are free to attend. For more information or to make a donation, go to https://www.whhs.com/Giving-Volunteering/Our-Foundation.aspx or email foundation@whhs.com.


Trees of Angels


Wednesday, Dec 4

6 p.m.

Entertainment, appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus

Union City City Hall

34009 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City



Thursday, Dec 12

5:30 p.m.

Entertainment, appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus

Washington West

2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont




Trojans advance to Division IV title game


The Milpitas Trojans, representing Division 4 of the Central Coast Conference, edged the Hillsdale Knights in overtime on November 22nd. The semi-final match was not an easy victory for the Trojans who scored first. The Knights tied the game and the score was deadlocked, 7-7 at halftime. The score remained throughout the remainder of the regular second half, so overtime ensued. Scoring on their first possession, the Trojans put another seven points on the board, but Knights hopes were high as they scored as well. With a possible tie score on the line, an errant Knights point after touchdown sealed their fate. Final score: Trojans 14, Knights 13.


The Trojans will face the Branham Bruins (San Jose) Saturday November 30th. The winner will advance to the Nor Cal Title game.



Twitter details political ad ban, admits it's imperfect

Nov 15

By Barbara Ortutay

AP Technology Writer


Twitter's new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign contributions and any political content. But the company quickly acknowledged Friday that it expects to make mistakes as individuals and groups look for loopholes.


Twitter is defining political content to include any ad that references a candidate, political party, government official, ballot measure, or legislative or judicial outcome. The ban also applies to all ads – even non-political ones – from candidates, political parties and elected or appointed government officials.


However, Twitter is allowing ads related to social causes such as climate change, gun control and abortion. People and groups running such ads won't be able to target those ads down to a user's ZIP code or use political categories such as “conservative” or “liberal.” Rather, targeting must be kept broad, based on a user's state or province, for instance.


News organizations will be exempt so they can promote stories that cover political issues. While Twitter has issued guidelines for what counts as a news organization – single-issue advocacy outlets don't qualify, for instance – it's unclear if this will be enough prevent partisan websites from promoting political content.


Twitter announced its worldwide ban on political ads Oct. 30, but didn't release details until Friday. The policy, which goes into effect next Friday, is in stark contrast to Facebook's approach of allowing political ads, even if they contain false information. Facebook has said it wants to provide politicians with a “level playing field“ for communication and not intervene when they speak, regardless of what they're saying.


Response to Twitter's ban has been strong and mixed, with critics questioning the company's ability to enforce the new policy given its poor history banning hate speech and abuse from its service. The company acknowledges it will make mistakes but says it's better to start addressing the issue now rather than wait until all the kinks are worked out.


Aside from ongoing concerns about foreign elections interference, the political advertising issue rose to the forefront in recent months as Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, refused to remove a misleading video ad from President Donald Trump's campaign that targeted Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.


In response, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another presidential hopeful, ran her own ad on Facebook taking aim at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The ad claimed – admittedly falsely to make its point – that Zuckerberg endorsed Trump for re-election.


Over the past several weeks, Facebook has been pressed to change its policy. But it was Twitter instead that jumped in with its bombshell ban.


Drew Margolin, a Cornell University communications professor who studies social networks, said Twitter's broad ban is a reflection that “vetting is not realistic and is potentially unfair.”


He said a TV network might be in a position to vet all political ads, but Twitter and Facebook cannot easily do so. While their reliance on automated systems makes online ads easier and cheaper to run, Margolin said it also makes them an “attractive target” for spreading misinformation.


Political advertising makes up a small sliver of Twitter's overall revenue. The company does not break out specific figures each quarter, but said political ad spending for the 2018 midterm election was less than $3 million. It reported $824 million in third-quarter revenue.


Because of this, the ban is unlikely to have a big effect on overall political advertising, where television still accounts for the majority of the money spent. In digital ads, Google and Facebook dominate.


Unlike Facebook, which has weathered most of the criticism, Google has been relatively quiet on its political ads policy. It has taken a similar stance to Facebook and does not review whether political ads tell the truth.


Twitter, Facebook and Google already take steps to prevent political manipulation by verifying the identities of some political advertisers – measures prompted by the furor over Moscow's interference. But the verifying systems, which rely on both humans and automated systems, have not been perfect.



Yoko’s Nutcracker Returns to Fremont

Submitted by David Sloss


Every year since 2005, Yoko’s Academy of Dance & Performing Arts in Fremont has presented Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet in a delightful production at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. This year performances will take place on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15. Over one hundred children of all ages perform, from the youngest beginners to the most advanced and talented young adults. Lavishly staged and costumed, this annual Nutcracker is a much-loved and anticipated community event.


Dancers from Yoko’s Academy win prizes in national competitions year after year, and have performed in Japan, at the Super Bowl, and in London at the Olympics. Celebrity guests from the Fremont area, including Fremont Mayor Lily Mei and members of the Fremont City Council, make cameo appearances in the Nutcracker as party guests. California State Senator Bob Wieckowski returns in 2019 in his signature role as the mysterious magician Drosselmeier.


At all performances, a full symphony orchestra will provide live music. David Sloss, music director of the Fremont Symphony from 1980 to 2012 and Artistic Director of Fremont Opera, will conduct the Fremont Opera Orchestra.


Appearing as the Grand Cavalier will be guest artist Felipe Leon. Now in his fourth season as a principal dancer with Diablo Ballet, Mr. Leon was born in Bogota, Colombia and trained on full scholarship at Ballet Academy East in New York City. He has danced solo and principal roles in works by Maurice Bejart, Wendy Whelan, Matthew Neenan, Margo Sappington, Lisa de Ribere, Claudia Schreire and Alan Hineline.


Yoko Young, who created this Nutcracker production in 2005, was a nationally recognized choreographer and teacher. As a prima ballerina, she danced with the Tokyo Ballet Theatre and the Opéra National de Paris in France. She appeared as a dancer and actress in numerous films and television series, in Japan and the United States. In 1993, she was appointed by the Governor of Saitama Prefecture, Japan, to be Cultural Ambassador to the World, representing 92 cities and over 6.5 million people. In 1995, she established her own studio, Yoko’s Dance & Performing Arts Academy. Since then, her choreography has won numerous awards, and her students have won acclaim in the United States, Japan, and England.


Fremont Opera was founded in 2007 by Artistic Director David Sloss and General Manager Barbara Sloss, establishing for the first time a professional, regional opera company based in Fremont, presenting outstanding young artists from the Bay Area and the nation. Its productions of La Bohème, The Barber of Seville, and La Traviata have drawn rave reviews from critics and patrons alike.


Tickets to this iconic collaboration of artistic talent may be purchased at www.fremontopera.org. Tickets are $25 – 45 for adults, $20 – 35 for students, and $15 – 25 for children.


Nutcracker Ballet

Saturday, Dec 14 – Sunday, Dec 15

Sat: 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun: 2 p.m.

Smith Center at Ohlone College

43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont

(510) 659-6031


Tickets: $25-45