Honoring students virtually
By Jui Sadekar
With the academic year winding down, high schools and colleges are developing plans for commencement ceremonies to the honor Class of 2020 during the shelter-in-place order. Ceremonies will not look like a traditional graduation; some schools are conducting virtual ceremonies while others have postponed the event.
Cal State East Bay and Northwestern Polytechnic University have postponed their graduation ceremonies until further notice. Fremont and Newark unified school districts are in the planning process to conduct virtual ceremonies, while Milpitas Unified School District is considering an in-person ceremony in August or December.
The following is a list of college and high school virtual graduation ceremonies currently scheduled in the greater Tri-City area:
The ceremony will include congratulatory messages by Chancellor, Chabot College president, and Senate Leadership; and a graduating student slideshow with name, picture, and certificate/degree. The ceremony will be shown simultaneously on Comcast 27 (in Hayward, San Leandro, Union City, and San Lorenzo areas) and on Channel 99 for AT&T U-Verse. After the premiere showing on May 23, the ceremony video will be available for viewing online by anyone and at any time.
Saturday, May 23: 9 a.m.
Ohlone Community College
Graduates will have a custom slide that provides their name, degree, major, and a notation of honors or highest honors if earned. Each graduate who registered for the ceremony will receive a special grad pack that includes a commemorative cap and tassel, their diploma cover, and an alumni t-shirt provided by the Ohlone College Foundation.
The ceremony will be pre-recorded and feature speeches from Ohlone College President Dr. Gari Browning, a faculty speaker, the Associated Students of Ohlone College president, and the valedictorian. Graduates who cannot participate on May 22 can pick a date that fits their schedule. Ohlone will make the commencement video and graduates’ individual slides available after May 22.
Friday, May 22: 7 p.m.
www.ustream.tv/ohlonecollegetv or ONTV (cable channel 28)
Ohlone College Facebook page
San Leandro Unified School District
Virtual graduation ceremonies, which will be live cast on respective schools’ websites, will feature speakers, graduate video clips, and other types of personalized content for each of the graduates.
Lincoln Alternative Education Center
Tuesday, June 2: 5:30 p.m.
San Leandro High School
Thursday, June 4: 5:30 p.m.
Hayward Unified School District
The graduation video will include a personalized slide with a quote and photo from each student, and the superintendent’s message.
Hayward High School
Tuesday, June 9
Mt. Eden High School
Thursday, June 11
Tennyson High School
Wednesday, June 10
New Haven Unified School District
To make the virtual ceremony as meaningful and personal for students and families, high schools are making a graduation video that will be launched on Facebook and the schools’ websites. Students are asked to share a graduation photo to be displayed during the virtual ceremony and to record a short dedication video (under 30 seconds) that can be included in the graduation video.
James Logan High School
Saturday, June 6
Conley-Caraballo High School
Monday, June 1: 6 p.m.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office
Submitted by Tya M. Modeste
Wednesday, May 13
- At 8:00 a.m. a man identified by deputies as Rico Thomas, arrived at the Sheriff’s Eden Township Substation on Foothill Boulevard in San Leandro to inquire about a backpack that deputies collected the previous evening during a domestic violence investigation. Thomas had left the scene before deputies arrived; a record check showed that he is on probation for an assault with a deadly weapon. When deputies tried to detain Thomas, he resisted prompting deputies to use force. A search of his Mercedes at the substation uncovered an expandable baton, loaded assault rifle, loaded high capacity magazines and additional ammunition. Thomas was arrested and booked into Santa Rita Jail on numerous felony weapons charges along with domestic violence and child endangerment charges.
BART Police Log
Submitted by Les Mensinger and BART PD
Sunday, May 10
- A man identified by police as Marquin Bonifacio, 41, of Oakland was arrested at Warm Springs/South Fremont station on suspicion of theft and making criminal threats of death on another person. He was issued a prohibition order and booked at Santa Rita Jail.
Bicycle safety now – more than ever
Submitted by Fran Clader, CHP
Throughout May, National Bicycle Safety Month, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are joining forces to remind everyone to share the road safely and courteously.
Since the “stay-at-home” directive brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in California have taken to their bicycles for exercise and a change of scenery. “In this uncertain time, more people are out on the streets biking for exercise, recreation, mental health, and affordable transportation,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists must stay alert to keep everyone safe.”
The events traditionally held throughout California by the CHP for Bicycle Safety Month may be somewhat curtailed in 2020. However, many CHP Area offices will continue to give helmets to children who do not have them. Their parents or guardians are urged to call their closest CHP office for information on how to obtain one. According to the National Safety Council, cyclists who wear a helmet reduce their risk of head injury by an estimated 60%. California law requires cyclists younger than 18 to wear a helmet, but it is a good idea for all who ride.
“If you are out riding a bicycle during the current pandemic, the same safety rules and habits still apply,” said OTS Directory Barbara Rooney. “To maximize safety, we encourage you to both be aware of your surroundings and practice physical distancing for the sake of you, your family, and others.”
Statistics from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System show that, during the past five years, 792 bicyclists were killed and more than 56,000 were injured in traffic crashes. The data also shows that riding on the wrong side of the roadway and right-of-way violations are the major causes of bicycle-involved crashes.
Motor vehicle drivers are reminded to give bicyclists extra room when passing — at least three feet is required by law. When turning right, drivers should look over their right shoulder to scan for bicyclists, especially when crossing into a designated bike lane. Before opening a car door, drivers should always look for passing bicyclists, especially when next to a bike lane.
Takes from Silicon Valley East
City app streamlines reporting local issues
By Sanford “Sandy” Taylor, Director of Information Technology, City of Fremont
With a prime location in Silicon Valley, the City of Fremont has become both a hub and testbed for innovation. Our city has already initiated a several forward-thinking pilot programs that spotlight technology, such as the Tesla patrol vehicle, which was adapted for use by the Fremont Police Department; and the Pony.ai autonomous ride-sharing program for city employees.
On May 1, the city launched Fremont App (www.fremontapp.com), a new CRM application that allows residents to report local issues, such as potholes, trees hazards, and malfunctioning street lights, directly to city officials. The best part? The application streamlines the entire reporting process for its users from the comfort of their mobile device or home computer.
By accessing the app at www.fremont.gov/DocumentCenter/View/44577/Fremont-App-Flyer), users can upload a picture of the issue within city limits, write a brief description of the issue, and then hit the submit button. No time is spent researching whom to contact or waiting to speak with a contact to report the issue. Additionally, the issue’s exact location is automatically provided for residents using their mobile device’s built-in geo-location technology.
The app automatically routes submitted reports to the correct city department for resolution. Users can then view their ticket at any time to see where the issue is in the resolution process. The application also gives residents access to additional city services and resources in the hopes that a wide-range of local government systems will be made more accessible for community members. The ITS Department has already begun collecting data on how Fremont App is being used by both residents and city staff.
We will continue to improve both the usability of the app and the response time by tweaking the system to serve the needs of the community as well as our city departments. Please note that due to COVID-19 and the current shelter-in-place order, response time may be delayed on issues reported through the app. Additionally, some request categories may be unavailable at this time.
This is a tool launched to benefit Fremont and all those who call it home. We would love for you to try the app, so we can ultimately provide timely solutions for our community. Help us identify local issues by downloading the app in Apple App Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/fremont-app/id1501619925) or Android Google Play Store the (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.citysourced.fremontca).
By Madhvika Singh
Photo courtesy Julie Bos
Social distancing, shelter-in-place and quarantine used to be things we rarely heard of, and only in extreme emergencies, but now they seem to have become the norm. They have affected our social fabric and our livelihoods and have severely impacted the financial wellbeing of our local businesses and their employees. We at Tri-City Voice have featured many local businesses over time, and we reached out to some of them to share their perspective on how they have been affected and how they are coping with the new reality of COVID-19.
This is part of an ongoing series with a new business or businesses featured each week, including both those that have appeared in the paper before and those who are appearing for the first time.
Although COVID-19 has left us panicked and paralyzed, necessities like laundry do not know it. With the current hygiene and sanitizing protocols, the need for laundry service is greater now than ever. In business for over 30 years, BosWash Laundromat has been providing superior service to its customers and is as resilient as ever. TCV reached out to owner Julie Bos to check on how COVID-19 has impacted her business.
BosWash is a family run business, started in 1980 by Julie Bos’ father. With a headquarters in Fremont, it has three more locations in Newark, Union City and Pleasanton. BosWash offers coin operated laundry machines, wash-and-fold services, and commercial laundry services. “Our commitment to excellence has earned us a reputation as the best laundromat in the area,” says Bos. They offer high quality dryers and front-load and top-load washers. Their facilities also offer other conveniences such free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, vending machines, video games, and laundry soap. They accept credit and debit cards.
While BosWash is currently open and operating at normal business hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week, one service that has reduced hours to protect the employees is their wash and fold service, which is now being offered only on an appointment basis. Also, employees who are over 60 are staying at home as a safety precaution and will return to work as soon as the situation resolves.
The team checks in several times a week for upkeep and to tend to any operational needs like repairs, to refill supplies and to collect from the machines. With 100 washers and 100 dryers just in the Fremont location, it is quite a bit of work, Bos says.
BosWash has been keeping up with the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines as well. In addition to regular cleaning by a janitorial service, they have been sanitizing surfaces and wiping down the machines frequently. “Guidelines have also been put up at the entrance on social distancing for the clients, and for the most part, people have been good about following them,” says Bos, who is taking hygiene seriously for herself as well. “I sing the happy birthday song as a timer whenever I wash my hands,” she says, referring to the guidelines to wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
Bos shared that business is currently down around 30% due to the shelter in place guidelines. In a normal year, they plan for somewhat lower sales during the summer as people are travelling and children are out of school. “With the reduction in business now, it feels like the summer started a bit early,” says Bos. With children at home, families have a bit less laundry, and people are putting off any errand not an absolute must.
Due to the nature of the business, there really aren’t any other options to compensate for the drop-in business. Options like work from home, selling online or delivery are not applicable. “All these years I have never encountered anything like this,” shared Bos. Her parents, who remember learning about the 1918 pandemic growing up, give her a ray of hope. “This too will go away, and all will work out, don’t worry,” they told her. “One day at a time” is the maxim that keeps Bos going during tough times.
We wish BosWash the very best, and hope their business will bounce back soon!
Walnut Plaza Laundromat HQ
Mon – Sun: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
3185 Walnut Ave., Fremont
Through the business pulse series our intent at TCV is to lend a platform to local businesses share their stories. In these trying times let’s hope we can develop a shared bond and come out at the other end stronger as a community to deal with challenges that future might have in store for us.
Business Pulse Check –The UPS Store
By Madhvika Singh
Social distancing, shelter-in-place and quarantine used to be things we rarely heard of, and only in extreme emergencies, but now they seem to have become the norm. They have affected our social fabric and our livelihoods and have severely impacted the financial wellbeing of our local businesses and their employees. We at Tri-City Voice have featured many local businesses over time, and we reached out to some of them to share their perspective on how they have been affected and how they are coping with the new reality of COVID-19.
This is part of an ongoing series with a new business or businesses featured each week, including both those that have appeared in the paper before and those who are appearing for the first time.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) Store retail locations are designated as essential businesses and remain open during COVID-19 to provide critical services such as shipping, mailing & package receiving, and printing to name a few. The UPS Store retail locations are independently owned and operated by franchisees of The UPS Store Inc. We reached out to the owner of the Union City location on Decoto Road, Bharat Patel, to see how the COVID-19 has impacted their business.
As an organization, all UPS Store locations are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). The health and safety of customers and employees is a top priority, says Patel. They were already following federal, state and local health and safety guidelines, and are now practicing social distancing and limiting the number of customers in the store at any given time. The store is regularly disinfected and sanitized, especially around frequently-touched surfaces like doors, handles and counter-tops. For everyone’s safety the staff wears masks and gloves. They have also sneeze guards in the front counter area to add another layer of safety.
Patel says, “These are unsettling times, but local communities need our services and best efforts more than ever. We are part of an infrastructure that is helping save lives and livelihoods.” While mailbox customers may be expecting important health-related shipments, some other customers may need help printing financial and other important documents. With schools shut down for the academic year, and education continuing via remote learning platforms, parents and teachers may need to print lessons and assignments. The store is part of a critical infrastructure – one that provides a vital lifeline to the communities we serve, says Patel. The only services that are currently on hold are ink finger printing and live scans to avoid any customer contact. These should be up and running as soon as it’s safe to offer them.
The store continues to serve its customers with some reduction in hours. They have been very fortunate that they did not have to let go any of their staff due to COVID-19 restriction, even though their business volume has been impacted due to downturn in economic activity as a whole.
With no relief in sight, Patel says he is striving to do his best. “The harder you work for something, the greater you feel when you achieve it,” is a thought that continues to inspire Patel.
The UPS Store
1684 Decoto Rd., Union City
Mon – Fri: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 2p.m.
Through the business pulse series our intent at TCV is to lend a platform to local businesses share their stories. In these trying times let's hope we can develop a shared bond and come out at the other end stronger as a community to deal with challenges that future might have in store for us.
Sheltering at home brings breath of fresh air to Californians
By Stephanie Gertsch
Our cities and scenic places will still be there for us when it is safe to wander freely. In fact, some vistas will be clearer than ever as the downturn in smog pollution from cars is leaving skies bluer than they’ve been in years. In early April, images of “LA without Smog” popped up on social media and on publications like Business Insider, showing breathtaking views of a sparkling clean city skyline. Bill Magavern, Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air (CCA) agrees that California is seeing significantly better air quality. But the lockdowns aren’t the only reason, and whether the trend continues is up to us.
“[There are] a couple reasons,” says Magavern. “One is we have had a fair amount of rain. And that washes the pollution out of the air. The other is the stay at home orders caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The great majority of air pollution in CA comes from transportation, so with fewer vehicles on the roads, pollution goes down.” It’s impossible to say how much improved air quality can be attributed to human habits versus natural weather changes, and dry summer months will mean an inevitable buildup in pollution. However, with fewer people commuting to work, retails stores shuttering, and most social gatherings banned, it’s clear that the Bay Area’s roads are remarkably free from traffic—and the skies from smog.
Better air quality benefits more than just Instagrammers looking for the perfect shot. This side effect of the lockdowns could help fight the virus. Magavern says, “Scientists have found that exposure to air pollution does increase the likelihood of dying from COVID-19. So, it’s especially important at this time to clean up the air.” Because the virus attacks the lungs, any boost to overall respiratory health is crucial. In addition, clean air comes with benefits to our hearts and with other improved health outcomes.
You can learn more about the connection between air quality and COVID-19 on the website for the Harvard School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/news/coronavirus-climate-change-and-the-environment/.
And humans aren’t the only ones suffering under smog; air pollution also harms plant and animal life, as well as the planet as a whole. “The emissions that are harmful to our health are also changing the climate,” says Magavern. “The burning of fossil fuels, whether in cars or trucks or power plants, releases chemicals that are harmful for us to breathe and also traps heat through the greenhouse effect and cause global warming.”
Unfortunately, California has seen increased air pollution over the past several years. “There are a few reasons for that,” explains Magavern. “One is the catastrophic wildfires we’ve had. And then also the rising temperatures caused by climate change.” Not all causes stem from the natural world. Magavern continues, “We’re also facing threats from the federal government because the Trump administration is weakening some of our important air quality standards. So, California needs to redouble our commitment to cleaning up the air and also demand changes at the national level.”
Hopefully, some future change can come from how workplaces have adapted to videoconferencing technology. Yes, it will nice to have the option of meeting face to face again, but being more flexible about remote work and working from home will save many unnecessary car and plane trips.
On the other hand, shelter in place has seen the rise of some environmentally-damaging behaviors, such as ordering items online that then must be delivered. A more eco-conscious lifestyle means not only less commuting to the office but a closer look at our buying habits. “We have choices,” says Magavern. “Do we have deliveries done by dirty diesel trucks, or by clean electric trucks? People can reduce the number of trips by grouping their deliveries, and not always choosing to get the package right away. For example, air travel is the most polluting method of package delivery. So, order in advance and don’t choose the air option if you don’t have to.”
Shelter in place is saving lives: slowing the spread of COVID-19 means fewer people sick at once, and reducing the strain on hospitals and healthcare workers. But the orders are saving lives in more long-term ways by forcing us to ask what life would be like if we gave up environmentally damaging habits. Can we give up our grinding daily commutes (and re-think our consumption) without the threat of a deadly virus hanging over our heads?
If we don’t act, the clean air benefits we’re currently seeing will fade away once non-essential businesses open their doors again, and workers fall back in into their old routines to make up for lost wages during the pandemic. Magavern says, “I hope people will remember what it’s like to have really clean fresh air and will put pressure on our elected officials to give us this kind of air quality all the time. Because we can have the growing economy and a healthy atmosphere if we make the right policy choices.”
The correct link to sleep survey results included in the article “Stay at home and boost your sleep,” originally printed May 12, is https://sleepopolis.com/sleep-cities/california/.
Thank you for your cooperation
By Supervisor Dave Cortese
As we continue to follow shelter-in-place order guidelines, I want to thank all of you for getting us to a point where we can move into the second phase. Despite hardships and disruption of your daily lives, your cooperation in stopping the spread of COVID-19 – by staying at home, keeping social distancing, and wearing a face covering when necessary – brought us to a place where Dr. Sara Cody, county health officer, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, could loosen restrictions a bit.
Starting May 4, construction projects resumed, outdoor businesses such as plant nurseries reopened, childcare for essential workers became available and we started to enjoy some recreation activities, including golf and tennis. For details, please visit www.sccphd.org.
However, public health officials have said that we still need to keep following initial guidelines and the new safety precautions that are required as a condition to some of the activities now allowed. Until we have a vaccine, our vigilance is the most effective tool we have in fighting this deadly virus.
There are five indicators that Dr. Cody looks at before deciding if some of the restrictions can be loosened. She says that the county is doing well on the first two:
- Total number of cases in the community is flat or decreasing, and the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing.
- We have sufficient hospital capacity to meet the needs of residents.
However, Dr. Cody wants to see more progress on these indicators:
- Sufficient COVID-19 viral detection tests are being conducted daily.
- We have sufficient case investigation, contact tracing and the capacity to take care of those who need to be isolated or quarantined.
- We have at least a 30-day supply of Personal Protective Equipment available for all health-care providers.
The county has ramped up testing for COVID-19 with community-based sites along with those already established, but many testing sites are not being used to capacity. Currently, the county has the capacity to investigate 25 new cases a day, each of whom may have only a few contacts because of the shelter-in-place order. Health officials believe we will need the capacity to investigate and contact trace 50 to 75 cases a day, with an anticipated average of 40 contacts per case. To reach this goal, the current team needs to expand to about 1,000 members, including volunteers. If you’re interested, contact ContactTracing@eoc.sccgov.org.
My office sends out a daily email newsletter devoted to COVID-19 information and resources. If you’re not on our mailing list, call my office at (408) 299-5030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find a testing site and to check if you need to get tested, visit www.supervisorcortese.org.
How to Ace A Virtual Interview
By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, most employers have switched to virtual interviews. A virtual interview is one that is done by phone or by a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom or Skype. I have also heard of virtual interviews where you are not interviewed by a real person but are “interviewed” by a bot or a series of pre-recorded prompts. A virtual interview might sound intimidating. Candidates rightly have worries about how to build rapport, whether the technology will hold up during the interview, and what to expect during a virtual interview. This article will give you strategies for how best to prepare for a virtual interview, so you will feel ready to ace it.
Every interview – whether it’s in-person or virtual – requires extensive preparation beforehand in order for you to perform well. Here is a list of things to do days before the big day:
- Check that your internet or phone connection is up to speed and in good working order. For instance, you might want to check which location in your living space has the most bars so you can be assured your call will not be dropped. This step is critical. You need to be confident that you can hear and be heard clearly.
- If the online platform is one that you’ve never used before, be sure to download and practice with it before the interview. Every online platform has different features, so you want to be completely at ease with the one that is being used for your interview. For instance, Zoom has a whiteboard that you might have to use during the interview. Get comfortable with it.
- Remember to practice interview questions beforehand. Get a friend to do a mock interview with you, preferably several times.
- Have a background that is clean, free of clutter, and professional looking. Put away family photos, stacks of mail, and questionable décor that might send the wrong message to the employer.
- If you are short on space, try sitting in a small section of a room that is uncluttered or use a blank wall as your background.
- Set up your laptop or phone so that the camera has a good shot of your head. Be sure that your camera is placed at the right height so you can sit comfortably, but with good posture. Do not place your laptop on your lap during the interview.
- Check the lighting at the same time of day as the interview. It isn’t easy to get the right lighting, and you might have to try different configurations of lighting options, so you don’t look like an FBI informant in a darkened room.
- Start working on a draft of your thank you email. You will need to send this promptly after your interview, so have a good working draft that is almost ready to go.
During the interview, remember to do the following:
- On the day of the interview you might have to ask your family not to watch movies, Zoom, play games, and browse the web during your interview (unless you are lucky enough to have an extremely reliable, super-fast internet connection).
- Don’t be late for your virtual interview. Be sure to log in early so you have plenty of time to work out technical glitches. It has been my personal experience that computer hiccups will happen if I’m running late or cutting it too close.
- Don’t joke or complain about the virtual interview format. You don’t want to sound negative even if you are nervous about this format. Instead, thank the employer for meeting with you during this difficult time.
- If you are not using the phone for your interview, be sure to turn it off. Even the sound of one incoming text can be distracting and might signal to the employer that you are constantly on your phone.
- Wear professional attire. I know that most of us are loving the pajama look but ditch the bedroom casual for business attire. This will help put you in a professional mindset as well as show to the interviewer that you are serious about the job. Also, don’t go halfsies and wear a professional top paired with pajama bottoms. I know pajama bottoms are wonderfully comfortable, but what if you have to stand up during the interview?
- Make sure your space is quiet and free of any distractions during the interview. I realize this is difficult with all of us under shelter, but pet sounds and children calling for you do not send the right message to the employer.
- If you are doing a panel interview, be sure to refer to each person by name at least once during the interview.
- Watch your posture. Poor posture becomes very evident in a video interview, so sit up straight to convey your attention and dedication.
- Remember to smile. Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, even if it’s a virtual one. Be sure to smile so that your warmth and people skills come through.
After the interview, remember to do the following:
- Follow up with an email no more than 24 hours after the interview. Be sure to thank the person for taking the time to meet with you. Remember to include pieces of information that you learned during the interview, e.g. “I am really excited to hear about your company’s new direction in…and I would love to contribute with my skills….”
As the saying goes, opportunity happens when preparation meets luck. There is a lot you can do to be well prepared for a virtual interview. With a small amount of luck combined with your comprehensive preparation, you will undoubtedly ace the interview and secure the job.
Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Fremont. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers and lives. You can reach her at email@example.com.
© Anne Chan, 2020
Help is available for people affected by substance abuse
Submitted by Aaron Olson
While many people are affected by substance abuse, the spread of COVID-19 has increased stress for them and their families. But help is available through Narconon New Life Retreat which offers drug education and rehabilitation services.
Narconon has been designated as an essential business during the shelter-in-place order and is open and serving clients. For free addiction screenings or referrals, call 1 (800) 431-1754. More information is available at the Narconon website at https://www.narcononnewliferetreat.org. Type “COVID-19 effect” in the search field and follow the prompt.
Teen task force makes face shields for frontline workers
By Miranda Jetter
The design of the shield is startlingly simple—a thick sheet of plastic curves down over the face and neck, held to the head with an elastic strap. The whole thing comes together in under four minutes in an instructional YouTube video made by Josie Huang. Huang, 17, along with her classmate Heidi Wang, 15, both students at Mission San Jose High School, assembled a team of volunteers over the past two months to make face shields for local frontline healthcare workers.
A quick Google search for “face shields” yields several YouTube demos similar to Huang’s. It also shows dozens of people from individual designers and artists to large companies like Nike and Ford who are developing and manufacturing face shields to contribute to the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Several studies and articles, including one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Moving Personal Protective Equipment into the Community: Face Shields and Containment of COVID-19,” discuss the efficacy of face shields. The article notes that they are easier to reuse and disinfect repeatedly than face masks. They also may be better at protecting the wearer against infection. In a simulated study, face shields reduced chances of exposure to coughs from 18 inches away by 96%.
When Mission San Jose High School closed its doors to students in mid-March Huang and Wang realized how serious the pandemic was, they said. While at home they saw reports on social media and the news about how frontline workers were running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) and they took it upon themselves to do something. Using YouTube videos and online tutorials as guides they developed several prototypes.
Wang was in charge of reaching out to hospitals in need, either through their parents’ connections or through donation phone lines posted on hospital websites. One of their prototypes was sent to Sue Kwong, a nurse at Washington Hospital in Fremont. Kwong said that when she connected with them, she immediately contacted her supervisor to ask if the homemade face shields would be okay to use in the hospital. Their supply of shields had run out within the first week after they were delivered, she said, and staff working on the COVID-19 unit had only masks and goggles to wear while treating patients. The shields add an extra measure of security especially when performing respiratory therapies on COVID-19 positive patients; infected saliva can spew into the air.
Her supervisor replied quickly within a few days in the affirmative, and Kwong was one of the first to test out the shield in a hospital setting. The feedback was positive and the hospital used some of their mask funding to help Huang and Wang purchase supplies for the shields. They told the students they needed 1,000.
Meanwhile Huang and Wang had assembled a group of nearly 50 volunteers and Fremont’s Boy Scout Troop 495 to make the shields independently in their respective homes. They brought together their team largely through reaching out to their peers on social media. Huang said, “There was a pretty big response because everyone wanted to help out.” Also, because their online schooling was less time-consuming than a normal school schedule would be, she said, they had more time to work on the project. Still, she and Wang were surprised by how the project grew. “I wouldn’t have thought it would become this big and that hospitals would be requesting masks from us,” Huang said.
Many of the volunteers corralled by the young women were their classmates and fellow Fremont students. Huang and Wang’s parents purchased supplies in bulk with the funds from Washington Hospital along with other contributions from non-profits they had connected with through hospitals. Cindy Wang, Huang’s mother, said that the girls assembled the supplies into kits to be left in their driveway for other volunteers to pick up.
In total Huang and Wang’s team made a little over 2,300 face shields which they distributed to 16 hospitals and healthcare facilities in the area including Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and Fremont Tri-City Health Center. They have received lots of thanks and positive feedback from donation recipients and Facebook messages and pictures sent from workers wearing their shields on the front lines.
The project, excepting the boy scouts who plan to make 1,000 more shields, has wound down as Huang and Wang have become busier with AP exams and finals. Still, Huang said that they are “always willing to do more,” and when the summer comes, she’d be happy to continue the project if the need was still there.
Wang already has another project underway. She and several others are sewing cloth masks and nurse’s caps. She says it’s a slower process than the shields, working with cloth and thread. Still, it’s fun to do and she is happy to be helping out.
To learn more about how to make your own face shield visit https://youtu.be/SM0P7vrNjqE
Website helps users find nearby COVID-19 test sites
Submitted by California Department of Public Health
State officials have launched an interactive website to help Californians find COVID-19 community testing sites near them. The new site allows Californians to quickly search for testing sites by current location, address, city or zip code and schedule an appointment. It also features an interactive map of testing sites across the state.
The locator website features community testing locations, including sites operated by Verily and OptumServe, which are open to Californians who meet current guidelines. Testing is free for all individuals, including those who are uninsured or undocumented. Individual testing results are confidential.
“As testing continues to ramp up at a rapid pace across the state, we want to make sure Californians know how to schedule an appointment, which can easily be done online for many locations,” said Dr. Charity Dean, Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health and co-chair of the California COVID-19 Testing Task Force. “With the launch of new community testing sites and significantly expanded testing criteria, more Californians will be tested — and in locations much closer to their homes.”
One goal of the Testing Task Force is to ensure that more than 90% of Californians are within 60 minutes driving distance of COVID-19 testing sites.
“We are taking another crucial step toward helping to solve this unprecedented public health crisis — ensuring Californians have access to testing and knowing where the nearest testing sites are located in their community,” said Paul Markovich, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California and co-chair of the Testing Task Force. “Our public-private collaboration in tackling the pandemic continues to make a difference in delivering the results California deserves.”
To date, Verily has launched eight testing locations statewide, and a total of 80 OptumServe sites will be launched soon in 36 counties. The California COVID-19 Testing Task Force worked with county leaders statewide to identify appropriate testing sites with a focus on underserved communities in both rural and urban areas.
The testing locator application was designed for California by Esri, a mapping and location analytics company, in collaboration with GIS Corps, which is mapping community test sites.
“Using a map to help Californians locate and access testing sites near their current location is critical to ensuring those who need testing will receive it as quickly as possible,” said Amy Leung, Technical Consultant with Esri. “Esri is proud to provide mapping and location intelligence for the State of California’s ongoing response to the pandemic and for the COVID-19 Testing Task Force.”
For more information about testing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, visit www.covid19.ca.gov.
By Ned MacKay
Because long-range forecasts predict dry weather, East Bay Regional Park District’s fire department is gearing up for a potentially dangerous fire season. Fire Chief Aileen Theile cited two factors. Weather forecasters are predicting more frequent, dry offshore breezes. And although this was a relatively dry winter, some late spring rains stimulated more growth by already tall grasses. Firefighters used to think in terms of a “fire season.” However, with climate change, the fire season is now virtually year-round.
To combat fires, Theile leads 16 full-time firefighters and some 34 on-call staff – district employees with other primary occupations, but who are also fully trained firefighters available when needed.
A new component of the fire department is an eight-member fuel reduction crew. This crew works throughout the year to enhance fire safety by clearing brush away from trails, trimming trees to remove ladder fuels, and piling the resulting vegetation for disposal by burning “strategically and where appropriate,” as Theile said. They fight wildfires too when needed.
The fuel reduction crew also works on the district’s fuel break in the East Bay hills. This is a zone of thinned vegetation between regional parklands and adjacent residential neighborhoods that extends from Richmond south to Castro Valley.
It serves two purposes:
- Slowing the spread of fire between open space and adjacent neighborhoods
- Providing firefighters with a place to make a stand
Fire headquarters are at Station 1 in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley. Seven other stations throughout the district are staffed as circumstances demand. All have engines and other equipment in place.
A dispatch center operates 24 hours a day in support of the district’s firefighters and police. During a fire, the district’s two police helicopters serve as observation platforms to determine fire location and speed, and best access for ground crews. The helicopters are equipped with Bambi buckets to fight fire from above with 250-gallon water drops.
Besides its own personnel and equipment, the park district has mutual aid agreements with CAL FIRE, California Office of Emergency Services, and every fire department within Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. These agreements enable rapid response to emergencies both within and outside the parklands.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the news in recent times. In that regard, Theile noted that it was easier for the firefighters to observe the new protocols, because they are accustomed to wearing protective gear anyway.
Their additional safety measures include assigning separate crews to each engine, allowing only assigned personnel in the stations, and designating one firefighter to approach and assess a victim in an emergency before committing the entire crew. Post-incident decontamination is accomplished as appropriate.
The public can help the district in major ways to reduce fire hazards. Please note that smoking, including vaping, is not permitted in the regional parks. During any emergency, park visitors need to cooperate with all instructions from firefighters, police, or park rangers. If you see a fire while in a park, call 911, report the fire’s location, size, and direction of burn if possible, then leave immediately.
Beyond that, Theile said, “We ask people to take a hard look at fire safety in their own backyards. It’s not just one neighbor doing it, but the entire neighborhood.”
“Thirty feet of lean, clean, and green” is the motto. This means reducing the fuel load by mowing. Beyond 30 feet there should also be thinner vegetation. Information on defensible space is available at the CAL FIRE website, www.fire.ca.gov/.
Having an evacuation plan in case of an approaching fire is important. “Don’t wait to be told,” Theile said, “and don’t block the road so that fire engines can’t get in.” To sum it up, “Be informed and be prepared,” she said.
Joseph Heller’s satirical novel, Catch-22, published in 1961 and later adapted as a movie in 1970, addresses the absurdity and black humor that is often present in desperate situations. The book and subsequent movie highlight the dilemma of an American bombardier, Captain John Yossarian, in World War II who experiences the horrors of war and, as he nears the target number of missions required to be sent home, is told the necessary mission count has been increased, making him ineligible to leave.
In a desperate attempt to avoid continued exposure to the insanity of war and other officers around him, Yossarian invents creative ways to avoid combat missions and secure release from the Air Force. He finally declares that he is unable to perform his duties due to insanity but is told there is a “catch” in regulations that states if Yossarian is crazy, he doesn’t have to fly the missions, but if he makes a formal request to be relived of this duty, he is sane. This subject was reprised by Corporal Klinger who often cross-dressed and repeatedly pleaded insanity to appeal for a discharge from the army in the 1970s-80s television series M*A*S*H. In both cases, there was no logical way out of their dilemma.
The term “catch-22” has become a popular shorthand for any situation that involves an absurdity of conditions that defy logical resolution. In other words, you can’t solve a problem because one essential element of the solution is cancelled by another necessary condition. First time job seekers often run into the Catch-22 of employers requiring experience: No experience, no job… No job, no experience.
Such situations can become desperate and some faced with this take extraordinary risks, cheat or bend the rules. The expression, “desperate times call for desperate measures” is thought to have originated with the Greek physician Hippocrates (470 BC – 370 BC) addressing extreme diseases and cures. His observation is appropriate today as well.
A current Catch-22 involves the consequence of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a temporary lifeline for some businesses, especially microbusinesses. But it has become a catch-22 conundrum as well. The loan forgiveness provision is based on retaining or restoring employees with determination by head count and payroll. However, a problem arises since restoring employees is a long-term objective but PPP is a short-term solution. PPP funding is based on two months of pre-COVID-19 payroll and a bit more for rent and utilities, yet unemployment benefits extend for a longer period and currently include a bonus payment that may exceed what microbusiness employers can afford to pay, especially in times of economic stress.
This situation can result in asking a furloughed employee to make an untenable choice between uncertain employment and working conditions or a guaranteed unemployment check. Can micro-business outbid a generous government unemployment payment? This Catch-22 is complicated by confusing cacophony and discord between levels of government and the extraordinary circumstances of a lengthy and complex recovery from a worldwide catastrophic event.
All sides of the employer/employee equation are caught in an economic storm that will subside over time, but today is a critical juncture for both. Remedies for very small, microbusinesses are typically much different in scope and substance than larger enterprises, especially when additional responsibilities such as employees and their families are involved. While large companies can operate on economies of scale to maximize resources, an employer with five employees may not have that advantage. Hopefully long-term support of microbusiness will become a top priority at all levels of government and recognize the catch.
eGift card platform
Submitted by Kathy Kimberlin
A new program is being launched to help local small businesses weather the COVID-19 storm – Gift Fremont – an eGift card platform for Fremont small businesses. This platform will serve as a local online marketplace which will encourage anyone to find and support participating businesses by purchasing gift cards online.
Why Participate in Gift Fremont?
- To encourage more people to purchase gift cards and support your business, the City of Fremont is offering a bonus on gift card purchases of $20 or more($5 bonus on $20 – $39, and $15 bonus on $40 or more).
- Once signed up, you will receive funds up front, each week for the gift cards purchased for your business plus the bonus through the Yiftee platform.
- Signing up is easy and takes a few minutes.
- Any business can participate, even if you don't have a business website.
- Redeeming eGift Cards is easy. No PoS integration, just an online portal.
- Yiftee is waving the monthly subscription fee through September 2020. The City will cover eDelivery fees while matching funds last.
- Robust marketing and promotion from the City of Fremont and partners
Find gift cards and sign up for the program here: https://app.yiftee.com/gift?start_with=gift&aff=87#/merchant
Fall sports suspended
Submitted by Eric Harding
In accordance with health and safety guidance provided on May 12 by the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), Cal State East Bay intercollegiate athletics are suspended for fall 2020. Pioneer student-athletes, along with 11 other California State University (CSU) campuses and one University of California campus, comprise the Division II intercollegiate athletic conference. Cal State East Bay Athletics department will work alongside campus and CSU system leadership to evaluate options to optimize student-athletes’ individual situations.
“Based on Chancellor Timothy White’s announcement that the vast majority of CSU’s courses will be virtual for the fall semester of the 2020-21 academic year, and with utmost consideration for the health and welfare of our students, coaches, staff, faculty, and communities, CCAA member institutions have determined that National Collegiate Athletic Association sport competition will not occur during the fall of 2020,” said a statement released by the CCAA.
Fremont Fire Department Log
Submitted by Fremont Fire Department
Monday, May 11
- At 12:56 p.m. firefighters responded to a call about a fire in the wall between an apartment and a community laundry room in an apartment complex on the 36000 block of Fremont Blvd. The blaze was extinguished within 15 minutes and was contained to the immediate area. The cause of the fire was an electrical issue. Fire damage was sustained to the laundry room wall with smoke damage in an adjacent apartment unit. There were no injuries, but one person was displaced from the apartment.
- At 1:07 p.m. firefighters responded to a call about a residential kitchen fire in the 200 block of Quinault Way. The blaze was contained to the kitchen and quickly extinguished. There were no injuries.
Wednesday, May 13
- At 8:23 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a vehicle fire in a ground floor carport at the three- story Pathfinder Village Apartments at 39800 Fremont Blvd. On arrival, firefighters found two vehicles fully involved with the fire which was extending to the residential units on the second floor. Crews quickly knocked down the fire in the carport which sustained structural wall damage while the second-floor apartments above sustained smoke damage. There were no injuries but 17 people from four units were displaced. Property management secured temporary shelter for them. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fremont Police Log
Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD
Saturday, May 9
- Patrol units responded to a call from Washington Township Hospital about a man who arrived in the emergency room at 12:20 p.m. and told staff he had been shot. An X-ray showed the 46-year-old man had a single gunshot wound to his back and the bullet was lodged close to his aorta. Officers were able to talk to the man and learn details about the incident before he was taken to a trauma center for treatment.
Investigators found evidence of a crime scene in the parking lot of a business on the 37300 block of Blacow Road. Video surveillance and witness statements led to a potential suspect in the shooting, later identified by police as Alexander Eullo, 40, of Union City. At about 11:55 p.m. a police SWAT team located Eullo in the parking lot of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in San Jose. He initially ran from officers but was quickly apprehended. Investigators believe the shooting was not random; Eullo and the victim knew each other and the shooting was over money. Investigators believe Eullo tossed the firearm from a car window somewhere on Blacow Road between Central Avenue and Eggers Drive as he fled the area. He was taken to Santa Rita Jail on a no-bail hold and faces various charges including attempted murder. The victim is expected to survive the gunshot injuries.
Meanwhile, police are asking the public to be on the lookout for the discarded firearm and to call 911 if it is found and not to touch it. Anyone with information is asked to call Senior Detective Michael Gebhardt at (510) 790-6954 or send an anonymous tip by texting TIP FREMONTPD followed by a message to 888-777, or online at https://local.nixle.com/tip/alert/6216337.
Monday, May 11
- At 1:09 p.m. employees at the Safeway store on Washington Boulevard in the Irvington district reported a man punched an employee in the face and fled on a bicycle. While responding to the scene, officers learned two more people reported being struck in the face by the same man for no apparent reason. All three victims required medical attention for their injuries. Officers searched the area and soon found the suspect nearby in the area of Fremont Boulevard and Chapel Way. The suspect was uncooperative and tried to flee, prompting officers to use a K9 officer to stop him. The suspect, identified by police as Marcell Washington, 27, a transient from San Jose, was arrested on suspicion of felony battery, misdemeanor battery and resisting arrest. He was booked into Santa Rita Jail.
Fremont School District Board Meeting Highlights
Submitted by Brian Killgore
The May 6 meeting of Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board of Education:
- Approved Administrative Appointment – The board unanimously approved the appointment of Beth Perez as assistant principal of Horner Junior High School. Perez has been a longtime FUSD employee with over 20 years of experience in Fremont. She started her career as a history/ELD teacher at Hopkins Junior High and is currently working as a program manager in secondary education, overseeing middle school conversions. Perez will assume her new role on July 1.
- Received an Update on Preparedness during School Closures – Alameda County along with other Bay Area counties have extended the shelter-in-place through the end of May. Staff will provide an update on FUSD’s preparedness during COVID-19 school closures.
- Received Revised Demographic Study on Enrollment – The updated demographic study has been completed and shows that the district will continue to experience decreased enrollment for the next seven years. The projected enrollment for 2020-21 is 34,989 students. The projected enrollment in 2026-27 (7 years) is 32,847 students, a decrease of 2,147 from 2019-20.
- Received Community Update, Superintendent Position Description – As a result of the feedback received from throughout over 30 community input sessions and 2,058 online survey results, the superintendent position description has been updated to reflect input. The board of trustees and leadership associates advisors will meet, review, and discuss input received, and the board will be asked to approve the superintendent position description.
Fremont City Council
May 12, 2020
- City Manager Mark Danaj noted that the City is actively engaged in discussions with Tesla and Alameda County to plan for reopening.
- Acknowledge Fremont Fire Department's Performance Report of Annual Fire Inspections.
- Public Hearing: Approve FY 2020/21 through 2024/25 Community Development Block Grant Consolidated Plan.
- Approve kinetic wind sculpture “Lanterns” for New Age Well Center.
- Informational item regarding approval of an Emergency Zoning Administrator Permit for storage of medical supplies and materials for treatment of COVID-19 at 39390 Civic Center Drive (Kaiser).
- Comments opposing premature opening of Tesla factory and poor record of employee treatment by Elon Musk.
- Presentation of FY 2020/21 proposed Operating Budget. Economic impact of Coronavirus pandemic is unknown. Reserves supporting city services. Recovery over three-month period following lifting of shelter-in-place with lower revenue. COVID-19 is costing the city two years of revenue growth. First public hearing scheduled for June 2.
Mayor Lily Mei Aye
Vice Mayor Rick Jones Aye
Vinnie Bacon Aye
Raj Salwan Aye
Teresa Keng (District 2) Aye
Jenny Kassan (District 3) Aye
Yang Shao (District 4) Aye
New partnerships to sustain COVID-19 testing site operations
Submitted City of Hayward
The City of Hayward has announced new partnerships with Eden Health District, nonprofit organization La Familia, and Cal State University East Bay to sustain operation of the COVID-19 testing center until May 31. Under these partnerships, Eden Health District will fund ongoing testing at the center. La Familia will employ specifically trained health workers to begin collecting test samples at the center and will be supported by recent graduates of the Cal State nursing program.
The Hayward Fire Department will maintain administrative command and control of the center, and Hayward firefighter-paramedics will continue to provide testing offsite through mobile testing teams in cooperation with the Alameda County Department of Public Health. Currently, the center is testing approximately 200 to 300 people a day. Testing at the center is free and available to anyone regardless of where they live or immigration status. To be tested, individuals generally must have a fever over 100 degrees or other COVID-19 symptoms.
Hayward COVID-19 Testing Center
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until number of tests per day are exhausted
Cal State East Bay, 25800, Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward
Relief grant lottery helps otherwise ineligible residents
Submitted by City of Hayward
The Hayward Community Relief Fund will provide by lottery $500 grants to residents who have lost income due to COVID-19 and who are ineligible for state unemployment insurance and federal relief programs.
The Hayward Family Support Grants program is being administered by La Familia of Hayward, a nonprofit mental health and community services organization. Starting Tuesday, May 19, La Familia is accepting online applications for the grants. The program has enough funding to provide up to 650 grants of $500 apiece to eligible families and individuals. The grants will be distributed through a lottery system with funds provided by check or a prepaid card.
The application period is scheduled to close Tuesday, June 2 or once a total of 1,200 applications have been received. All information shared on applications will be kept confidential. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, and Vietnamese at www.lafamiliacounseling.org. To get additional support for people unable to access the application, call (510) 459-1277.
Hayward Lottery Relief Fund
Deadline: Tuesday, Jun 2, or until 1,200 applications received
Rent relief grants for residents
Submitted by City of Hayward
The City of Hayward is accepting applications for rent relief assistance grants for residents facing economic hardship due to COVID-19. The grants will be paid to landlords on behalf of qualifying low-income tenants to reduce financial burden on tenants and ensure landlords receive revenue needed to maintain rental housing services. The program will provide one-time payments of up to $2,500 per household to bridge the gap between what tenants can afford and their actual rent.
To qualify, tenants must be Hayward residents at risk of displacement with income adjusted by household size below 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) or up to 80 percent of AMI with rent equal to or greater than 30 percent of their income. Tenants also must have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19 in the form of loss or reduction in employment or wages, increased medical or childcare costs, or loss of childcare.
To learn more and to apply, visit https://housing.bayareacs.org/ and complete the Keep Everyone Housed Application for the City of Hayward or call BACS at (510) 850-6492.
Hayward Rent Relief Program
Local school district’s music program receives recognition
Submitted by Dionicia Ramos Ledesma
The NAMM Foundation honored Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) with the Best Communities for Music Education designation for the district’s commitment to music education. This award recognizes that HUSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.
Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the designation, HUSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
Simpson University, Redding
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Esther Gnadadoss of Fremont
Marietta College, Ohio
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Manicia Doss of Castro Valley
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science
2020 Dean’s List
- Lambert Diep of Fremont
McKendree University, Illinois
Spring 2020 graduate
- Eli Denmead of Fremont
Boise State University, Idaho
Spring 2020 graduates
- Nick Cutaia of Fremont
- Dara White of Hayward
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
- Kelson Griffiths of Castro Valley; Saint Mary’s College of California
- Kellye Pineda of Fremont; San Jose State University
- Aditi Cuddalore of Fremont; Saint Mary’s College of California
- Victoria Kao of Fremont; San Jose State University
- Mae-Breanna Salinas of Milpitas; Saint Mary’s College of California
Western Governors University, Utah
Spring 2020 graduates
- Renee Bettencourt-Hernandez of Fremont
- Shue Xiong of Fremont
- Mahesh Jhala of Fremont
- Rushi Patil of Fremont
- Sabrina Alvarez of Newark
- Vanessa Nevarez of Newark
Stanislaus State University, Turlock
Spring 2020 graduates
- David Arredondo of Hayward
- Marissa King of Hayward
- Georgina Salgado of Hayward
- Sonali Khatri of Hayward
- Rhomel Clarke of Hayward
- Numair Ali of Fremont
- Tajee Carey-Robinson of Hayward
- Jose Miranda of Hayward
Unity, Solidarity & Hope: Bringing communities together
A Virtual Live Summit
Saturday, May 23
6 pm – 7 pm
Interactive Zoom Session – preregistration required
Indo-American Community Federation Founder Jeevan Zutshi
City of Fremont Councilmember Raj Salwan
Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis
Congressmember Ro Khanna
Congressmember Anna Eshoo
State Senator Bob Wieckowski
Assemblymember Kansen Chiu
IACF President Ramesh Konda
Yogi Chugh, Community Leader
Musical composition – East Meets West
Manesh Judge and Amitesh Mishra, MD
Dance performances – Fusion promoting diversity
A solo song by Dr. Deepak Sachdev
County OKs universal basic income pilot for foster youth
Submitted by Janice Rombeck
On April 21, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a pilot program to provide the foster youth population with universal basic income. Under this pilot program, which is spearheaded by Supervisor Dave Cortese young people transitioning out of the foster care system in Santa Clara County, those 21 years old and up to 24 years old, would receive unconditional cash payments of $1,000 a month from the period of June 2020 through May 2021.
The board explored creating a program that would be responsive to the current needs of foster youth during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency, with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation being discussed as a potential fiscal and strategical partner to help connect youth with appropriate service providers.
“Foster youth in our county face unique obstacles and challenges, with a disproportionate amount experiencing homelessness, poverty, and multiple chronic health conditions. These discrepancies have only been exacerbated by our current health pandemic,” said Supervisor David Cortese who brought the pilot program to the board of supervisors last August. “This program will give foster youth the tools they need to be successful to help them achieve parity in education, employment and income.”
For questions, call Office of Supervisor Dave Cortese at (408) 299 5030.
Virtual summit to focus on community involvement
Submitted by Jeevan Zutshi
Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis will be among keynote speakers at an online summit sponsored by the Fremont-based Indo-American Community Federation (IACF). The one-hour summit, “Unity, Solidarity & Hope, Bringing Communities Together,” will be an interactive Zoom session starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 23, and is open to the public. The focus will be on building better communities and improving communication.
Other keynote speakers include:
- Congresswoman Anna Essho
- Congressman Ro Khanna
- Fremont City Councilman Raj Salwan
- IACF Founder Jeevan Zutshi
- IACF President Dr. Ramesh Konda
Participants from the public will have a chance to share their thoughts and ask questions during the event which will be moderated by Yogi Chugh. There is no fee to join, but online pre-registrations are required and can be made at https://unity-solidarity-hope-23may2020.eventbrite.com.
Saturday, May 23
6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Online discussion on community involvement
Free; pre-registrations required
Let’s root for the home team!
Submitted by Hayward Police Department
Signups are underway for the first virtual season of Junior Giants at Home baseball camp for youngsters ages 5 to 18.
During the four week summer season that starts June 8, Junior Giants will learn the fundamentals of baseball and will be introduced to important lessons in health, education, and character development. The live, age-specific practices include indoor-friendly exercises, Word of the Week talks, and training videos from the @SFGiants coaching staff.
For fee information, program schedules and sign-up details, visit the Hayward Digital Dugout at https://jrgiantsathome.org/hayward.
Keeping the magic alive despite COVID-19
The current Coronavirus crisis has been hard on everyone. I can tell you, personally, that it has been very hard on magicians. Typically, we are not considered essential employees, but can you imagine a world without magic?
Before the crisis, I was one of the hardest-working magicians in Silicon Valley. I was always making magic and my clients loved it. But COVID put the brakes on everything. I watched with dismay as my friends and mentors announced online they would be taking their final bows and “exiting stage left.”
Many of the magicians I know are single, but I have a wife and two young kids who depend upon me. I knew I had to change my mindset. But it was difficult just to stay focused and positive. I needed a new idea.
I realized that we were doing what every small business owner must do in times like this. We were brainstorming, innovating, thinking our way out of a problem. It’s core to what entrepreneurs do and what we all must do in times of crisis.
I got back to work. First, I tried a few free online shows. One of the co-founders and inventors of Siri found out about the show on Facebook. Somehow, we even attracted someone from Australia who joined us. Encouraged by this success, I contacted previous clients and asked if they were hosting virtual events to see if they were interested in running a show with a broader audience. One of my first shows was for the Magical Bridge Playground Foundation and the response was incredibly positive, with 2.4K views and 814 engagements, and this event led to further paid events.
Still, the first few shows were rough. I was uncomfortable in the new medium and felt awkward at first. Everything about my art seemed new again. The fear I had felt during my early days performing on the streets, long forgotten, crept back. At the same time, that old fear excited me. I felt the anticipation one feels as they approach the first big drop on a roller coaster.
One of the first paid shows I took during the crisis was a birthday party. This was the first major test of my new COVID-19 magic protocol. It wasn’t just me who was wondering how this would work. A client also admitted that she was a bit concerned that the show might not translate very well through the digital medium. I didn’t mention that I also had concerns.
Instead, I suggested that this party could be the perfect opportunity to invite family and friends from overseas to join with family members they hadn’t seen in ages. She was intrigued, but needed to discuss the fee with other family members. I told her that was perfect. I presented a brand-new trick over a video conference call using her iPhone and my Instagram account. This new effect sealed the deal and I ended up booking my first virtual birthday party.
Feedback from that first event led to improvements for future shows. I began receiving positive testimonials and Yelp reviews. Before long, my old corporate clients were calling me back for corporate events via video conference, and a university called on me to deliver a show over Twitch. I realized I had become the go-to guy for providing virtual magic shows.
Before the crisis, most of my business was centered in the Bay Area and many of my clients were successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Today, I serve those customers, but also work with agents who book events all over the world. Because we thought our way through a difficult situation, we had grown our family business into a global entertainment company.
Re-envisioning what it means to be a magician in the age of COVID-19 has offered so many advantages. Because we learned how to take our act online, I can amaze audiences without having to fly or drive hours to a gig. The close-up tricks I love to perform can now play to hundreds of people at once and they play just as well as a stage illusion.
I would like to be able to say that I solved all of my Corona-crisis problems and reinvented my business on my own. In truth, our business is a family affair and it took my family to help me get my mindset right and get me thinking about what’s next when what was is no longer. If we can’t get into the right state of mind, we can’t think our way out of a crisis.
Re-envisioning your business won’t work like magic, but it will work if you have the courage to throw yourself into it. During this crisis, that’s what every entrepreneur who wants to succeed will have to do.
Local Lions Club donates $5,000
Submitted by Michael Ritchie
Recognizing the dire situation of the community during COVID-19, Lions Club of Union City has donated $5,000 to Centro de Servicios to help the nonprofit continue providing basic human needs for residents of Union City and neighboring communities.
Centro de Servicios helps low-income families secure their immediate and basic needs and rights. Union City Lions Club encourages other organizations, businesses and individuals that have the means to find organizations, such as Centro, to support. For more information about the club, visit www.lionsclubofunioncity.wildapricot.org.
SB 1175 – Trophy Hunts & Wild Animal Food Markets
Senator Henry Stern (D-L.A.) has introduced Senate Bill 1175, to outlaw the importation of hunting trophies of such iconic African species as elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras, et al.
SB 1175 would also curtail the brutal commerce in wildlife, banning the importation of non-native frogs and turtles for human consumption. California annually imports two million American bullfrogs (most commercially-raised in China and Taiwan), plus an estimated 300,000 freshwater turtles, all taken from the wild in states East of the Rockies, depleting local populations.
None of these animals are native to California, and they cause major harm when released into local waters, a common though illegal practice. All the market frogs and turtles are diseased and/or parasitized, posing major risks to the environment, the public health, and animal welfare.
SB 1175 will be heard on May 26 before the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee, chaired by Senator Stern himself. Other committee members are Brian Jones, Benjamin Allen, Andreas Borgeas, Anna Caballero, Robert Hertzberg, Ben Hueso, Hannah-Beth Jackson and Bill Monning.
All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Eric Mills, coordinator
ACTION FOR ANIMALS
Letter to the Editor
National high school sports analytics conference
The Sports Analytics Team of Mission San Jose High School (MSJHS) is organizing a first-ever National High School Conference on May 23rd. This was originally scheduled to be sponsored and hosted by PayPal in August. Due to COVID-19, the team decided to move it to an online Zoom conference instead of canceling the event.
The first round of the competition ended in February in which students proposed rule changes for the NBA/NFL and their effect on the league, using statistics. Finalists will be presenting at the conference in May. Judges for the competition and conference are sport analytics professionals from basketball and football teams including Rams, Lakers, Kings, ex-ESPN head of analytics, NFL and others.
We wish to thank our sponsors: Lam Research, PayPal, NFL, the San Francisco 49ers, the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Oakland A’s, RStudio, and the San Jose Earthquakes.
The MSJHS Datathon finals will be broadcast from 10:00 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. Closing remarks and awards 2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Visit: https://forms.gle/AeYRuXvwEzNohnzT7 to attend.
Memorial Day is an intrinsic part of American’s yearly cycle of events. The last Monday in May kicks off the start of summer with a three-day weekend of travel, family picnics and barbecues, and parades. This year, ongoing shelter-in-place orders make those plans seem like a pleasant but improbable dream. However, in 2020 we may feel closer to the original meaning of Memorial Day than we ever have before.
Each year Memorial Day remembers American men and women who have died in service to their country as members of the armed forces. Previously known as “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day was a time to commemorate soldiers who died in the Civil War. Over the years, the remembrance was extended to encompass everyone who died in service to their country, with a universal day established for all states to honor their dead. Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868. While May 30 was the traditional day of celebration for numerous years, it was changed to the last Monday in May due an act passed by Congress in 1968 to create a three-day holiday weekend. Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer season.
As the holiday grew increasingly commercial, many believed that the true spirit of Memorial Day had been diminished by the larger focus on vacation time and fun activities. In response to this concern, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in December 2000 and calls for all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. for moment of silence to honor and respect those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
This year, Memorial Day takes place on May 25. To comply with State and County shelter-in-place orders, events have been canceled, and travel and social gatherings are discouraged. Some cities, such as Milpitas, are planning virtual ceremonies to honor veterans. The Presidio in San Francisco is also planning a virtual event to replace their live one.
With the ongoing pandemic, Americans are looking to healthcare and essential workers as those “fighting on the front line” in addition to men and women in the armed forces. So, no matter where you are or what you might be doing this Memorial Day, remember to stop and recognize the true meaning of the holiday and give respect where it is due.
Shelter in Place and Stay at Home impacts
Submitted by Ava Square
In 2004 California voters approved Prop 63 and placed a 1 percent tax on personal incomes over $1 million. The state distributes funds to the counties. Services under MHSA are consumer and family-driven, recovery-oriented, accessible, culturally competent and they offer integrated service experiences for consumers and their families.
Gathering community input, a state of California requirement, is central to Alameda County submitting its three-year Mental Health Services Act Program and Expenditure Plan. However, Alameda County cancelled five community input meetings that were to be held in April and May in support of public safety and flattening the COVID-19
Alameda County’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Division is requesting that the community provide input and ideas to improve the mental health system through an on-line survey. The community feedback will guide MHSA services and funding priorities for the next three years.
Dr. Karen Tribble, Director of Alameda County's Behavioral Health says, “It’s important for us to hear from children, youth and adults with mental health challenges, their family members, and community service providers. We value their input in preparing a plan that meets their needs.”
Community members may learn more about the Mental Health Services Act and also complete the 23-question survey (available in seven languages) at https://acmhsa.org
Survey responses must be submitted by May 30, 2020.
Milpitas Meeting COVID-19 Challenges, Considers a Balanced Budget
By Johnna M. Laird
Around the East Bay Area, local leaders are stepping up to take care of their city’s ongoing needs during the evolving pandemic. We’ve reached out to our mayors from Hayward, San Leandro, Union City, Newark, Fremont, and Milpitas to get updates on the state of their city and how the daily experience of performing their duties looks different under the normal.
This week we’re checking in with Rich Tran, Mayor of Milpitas.
Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran gave his stamp of approval to a proposed city budget for 2020-21 fiscal year, starting July 1. Interim City Manager Steve McHarris released the proposed budget last week during a special meeting with the city council.
Set for a June 2 public hearing and adoption, the proposed general fund budget, projected to be balanced, anticipates revenues of $112.5 million and relies upon $4.5 million in reserves to meet expenditures of $117 million.
Milpitas’s overall budget that includes capital improvement projects and water and sewer funds along with the general fund, tallies $220.4 million.
Tran said he believes the budget “makes smart financial sense,” resulting from “prudent fiscal planning” over previous years that positions the city to deal with a downturn while still providing services that residents and businesses “need and deserve.”
In presenting the budget to the city council, McHarris says he does not envision any reduction in services or employees at this time.
When McHarris submitted the approved 2019-2020 overall budget of $247.9 million that included a general fund budget of $115.6 million more than a year ago, McHarris warned of an economic decline although he had no way of knowing the significant slowdown his city would experience resulting from a global pandemic that shut down the Bay Area as people were ordered to shelter in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Despite the city’s healthy fiscal situation resulting from a strong economy, McHarris cautioned a year ago “it is prudent to plan for a potential slowdown in the next five years.” Tran describes the pandemic as “a worst-case nightmare scenario” for a mayor, presenting challenges at every level from city government to community to personal. However, “There’s no better time to lead than during the most extraordinary times,” he says. Tran considers mayors as the most direct and nearest government leader for any American.
“Mayors have the greatest impact on residents on a daily basis,” says Tran. “You can pick up the phone and call your mayor or even run into them at Starbucks.”
During COVID-19 sheltering in place, Tran is working with his National Guard unit to provide the person power needed to produce food boxes for community members facing food insecurity.
“I have been serving in the National Guard for a number of years,” he says, clarifying, “I still am able to handle mayoral duties.”
Tran says Milpitas city staff has worked to keep up with coronavirus developments hour by hour. “Not a day passes where we aren’t going to lengths to provide the best public service to our community. We are all in this together.”
To assist residents, Milpitas created an extensive coronavirus webpage that includes information on everything from where to go for free meals and groceries, to news about an upcoming mobile testing program with fire department EMTs administering nasal swab tests in partnership with IGeneX, a local private lab. The target date to begin operations is May 18. The webpage can be viewed at http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/novel-coronavirus-information-alerts-and-updates/.
The city’s coronavirus website also informs residents that all summer concerts and movies in the park have been cancelled for this year. City Staff is working to create a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony to honor those who died serving in the United States military. Information about former Milpitas service members to be honored should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. with the name, rank, branch, birth date, death date and photo by May 21.
As of May 5, the city council directed city staff to create an Independence Day virtual event to show community spirit and patriotism as an alternate to the city’s Fourth of July Fireworks Display.
For businesses, the city has assembled a list of loan sources.
Tran, like most mayors in The Tri-City Voice coverage area, believes his residents have responded admirably to this unprecedented crisis as has his county: “Milpitas families are doing relatively well. Residents are looking after their neighbors. Folks are doing a lot of Zoom parties, I mean meetings.
“I’ve been leaning on the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health for the most current information on the pandemic. They’ve been pretty steady and making good decisions. I’m proud of my County.”
This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with local mayors. Other interviews have run in previous issues.
Local school district partners with Coursera
Submitted by Scott Forstner
As COVID-19 impacts the community with uncertainty and unemployment, Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) has partnered with Coursera, an online learning platform, to provide free courses for residents who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. One doesn’t have to be a Milpitas resident to enroll for a course.
Coursera’s Workforce Recovery Initiative offers 3,800 courses and 400 specializations at no cost. Enrollment in the courses is open through September 30 for individuals who are unemployed or underemployed. Newly enrolled learners will have through December 31 to complete their courses. For more information, www.musd.org/coursera.html.
Milpitas Police Log
Submitted by Milpitas PD
Saturday, May 9
- Evening patrol officers spotted a 1996 Chevrolet Silverado that had been reported stolen to Concord Police in the parking lot at the Big Lots store on Serra Way. A suspect associated with the vehicle, later identified by police as David Clark, 33, of Sunnyvale, fled on foot and soon assaulted the owner of another vehicle nearby, stole it and began driving away with officers in pursuit. Eventually, Clark struck the gate at Piercey Toyota and a police car. Officers used a device to deflate the vehicle’s tires, prompting Clark to exit the car and run away on foot. With the assistance of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the CHP, Clark was caught and taken into custody. There were no injuries. Clark was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on various charges including assault with a deadly weapon, evading officers, resisting arrest and possession of a stolen vehicle.
PG&E reminds customers to update contact information
Submitted by Tamar Sarkissian
If you’re a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customer who lives or works in a high fire-threat area from the Sierra Nevada to the coast, PG&E will contact you multiple times before initiating a public safety power shutoff due to hot temperatures, high winds, and dry vegetation that foretell elevated wildfire conditions.
Hence, it is important that PG&E has updated customer contact information. If you have a new cellphone number, new preferred email address or just haven’t checked with PG&E to make sure we have the correct and current information, contact PG&E now. Customers are encouraged to list multiple methods for contact including home phone numbers, mobile phone numbers, and email addresses.
For details, www.pge.com/mywildfirealerts or call PG&E contact center at 1-866-743-6589. If your home or business is served by PG&E but you are not the account holder, you can still get alerts for your zip code; sign up at www.pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.
California Association of Food Banks receive funds
Submitted by Tamar Sarkissian
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is assisting the California Association of Food Banks to establish the California Food Bank Rapid Response Fund with a $150,000 charitable contribution.
Through the rapid response fund, the association will provide critical funding for food banks to increase their capacity to purchase food and supplies and to supplement their staffing needs through the COVID-19 pandemic and future emergencies. Funding will be provided to 40 food banks serving all 58 California counties, with 34 located in PG&E’s service area.
This donation is part of $1 million in charitable contributions that PG&E and the PG&E Corporation Foundation have committed to providing to nonprofits focused on supporting individuals and families coping with the impacts of the current health crisis. The $1 million funding will seek to address general relief and food insecurity, as well as assist small businesses with the economic impacts of the public health emergency. These donations come from shareholder funds, not customers.
The fund will distribute 85 percent of the donations to support local food banks as they scale up their operations to meet the increased demand for food and resources, and 15 percent will support the California Association of Food Banks’ critical role in response efforts.
Customers in need of assistance can find a food bank close to them by searching their zip code at http://www.cafoodbanks.org/find-food-assistance or by calling their local 211 number or the statewide hotline at (833) 544-2374.
‘Project Gratitude’ delivers meals and much needed hope
By Hugo Vera
There is a popular saying in the field of economics, “There is no free lunch.” This was not the case for one local healthcare facility amidst a time when we could all use a free meal.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on nurses, doctors and all other healthcare professionals, one organization mobilized to deliver 65 meals to Fremont’s Windsor Country Drive Health Center on a Friday afternoon. Based in Millbrae, “Project Gratitude” is the brainchild of local healthcare practitioners Linda Conners and Calista Jackson of Beacon Home Care.
“This is our first time operating on this side of the peninsula,” says Conners. “We chose Windsor Country Drive Health Center to be our first beneficiary in Alameda County after we heard they lost one of their caretakers.”
Last month, the Windsor Center lost social worker and caretaker Edgar Davila after he passed away from a heart attack at just age 31. His associates described Davila as an energetic and passionate individual. He added, “Edgar had worked for Windsor County Drive for over eight years in the social work department. Edgar was a hard worker, kind, funny and very committed to his friends and family. Needless to say, his co-workers, family and friends are devastated.”
In addition to assisting fundraising efforts to cover the cost of Davila’s memorial arrangements, multiple facilities, local businesses and politicians united to make Friday’s lunch drive possible. This team includes Beacon Home Care (owned by Conners and Jackson), Katrina Baligaya of Bridge Hospice, Glen Rocha of Amedysis Home Health, Affinity Placement Services owned by Erica Kolmeister and Fremont City Councilman Rick Jones.
Catering for Friday’s lunch was provided by Filipino-Chinese restaurant chain Chowking USA, which provided a 20% discount for Project Gratitude to make the event possible.
“We believe that a simple gesture like providing a meal, and probably other essential items later on, to front liners would mean a lot. Not only to the health workers, but also to the entire community,” said Beacon Home Care.
The Beacon Home Care volunteers took special precautions when delivering the lunches to ensure the safety of those living and working at Windsor Country Drive. Volunteers wore masks, gloves and maintained a safe distance of six feet apart from each other per CDC guidelines. The Windsor Drive center has thus far been successful in preventing any of its members or staff from contracting COVID-19, and Friday’s volunteers did everything in their power to keep it that way.
“Our donation to this project aims to create the opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to all of our COVID-19 front liners and to honor them for the sacrifices and risks they face every day. Project Gratitude says ‘thank you’ to Windsor Country Drive,” concludes Conners. The success of Friday’s event will spur additional projects to assist medical professionals and essential workers combating the effects of the coronavirus in Alameda County.
Contributions to the Edgar Davila memorial fund can be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/our-loving-friend-edgar-davila
Rabid bat found in Fremont
Submitted by Fremont PD
A Mexican free-tailed bat recently found in a residential area of Fremont has tested positive for rabies according to officials from the Fremont Police Department (FPD).
The bat was found Thursday, May 7 when Alameda County Vector Control (ACVC) workers responded to a call from a resident in the area of Guardino Drive and Walnut Avenue in Central Fremont. The workers retrieved the live bat from a balcony and took it to a lab for testing. Police said that they don’t believe the bat had contact with any other animal or human. The last rabid bat case in Fremont was reported in the Northgate neighborhood in October 2019.
As the primary investigating agency, ACVC conducted door-to-door notifications in the immediate area of where the bat was located. No injuries or illnesses were reported. Meanwhile, police are reminding the public to avoid contact with bats and other wild animals that may carry rabies such as skunks, foxes, coyotes, and raccoons.
Police said that dogs and cats not vaccinated for rabies are also considered to be at medium to high risk for carrying the virus. If an ill or dead animal is found, do not touch it. In addition, if an animal which is normally nocturnal is seen acting in a strange manner (a skunk roaming or staggering in the daylight, a bat hanging on a window screen or sill or a fox acting aggressive in the daytime, etc.), it should be reported to Animal Services in Fremont or the Alameda County Public Health Department.
A report issued by Alameda County describes rabies as a fatal disease caused by a virus that affects the brain and nervous system. It can be prevented if the exposed person or animal receives a series of rabies vaccine shots as soon as possible after the exposures. Here are a few preventative measures people can take to reduce the risk of contracting rabies from an animal:
- Have dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies.
- Confine dogs to property, especially puppies less than three months old.
- Report any animal bites of humans.
- Report any close contact between dogs and cats with wild animals to Animal Services.
- Do not feed wild animals by hand. Do not come in close contact or attempt to care for a sick or injured animal.
- Do not attract skunks with food. Pet food left outside is a strong invitation to skunks and other animals.
- Eliminate piles of trash, rocks, wood, hollow logs, and heavy growth of vegetation where wild animals could hide.
- Do not provide shelter for bats. Close, seal and screen all openings so there is none greater than ¼-inch size, especially at roof level. Install ¼-inch screen on attic vents and maintain in good repair.
Anyone that finds a sick or dead bat in their home or yard should not touch it. To report dead or sick wildlife, call Fremont Animal Services at (510) 790-6630 or Alameda County Vector Control at (510) 567-6800. For any human exposure or public health concerns, call the Alameda County Public Health Care Agency at (510) 267-3250.
Poet to speak at local writers’ meeting
Submitted by Nancy Guarnera
Poet Rafael de Jesus Gonzalez will speak at the Fremont Area Writers’ first-ever online meeting at 2 p.m., Saturday May 23.
The original Poet Laureate of Berkeley, California, Gonzales has taught at the University of Oregon, Western State College of Colorado, Central Washington State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and at Laney College in Oakland, where he founded the department of Mexican and Latin American Studies, and is now Professor Emeritus.
His poetry and academic articles appear in numerous journals and anthologies in the United States, Mexico and abroad. He is also a respected and controversial artist and performer. Gonzalez’ main theme is social justice and the pervasive political and social assault on the working poor. He often performs a shamanic invocation to kick off his talks, including lighting a candle to call out spirits of peace to bless the gathering.
The meeting will be via Zoom, but you don’t need a Zoom account to join. Just email email@example.com by Thursday, May 21. Put FAW Invitation in the subject line and he’ll send you the link. Since the web can be slow, we suggest you sign into the meeting by 1:45 on May 23.
If you need instructions for a setting up Zoom on your computer, try this YouTube tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9isp3qPeQ0E.
Fremont Area Writers is a local chapter of the California Writers Club. Our slogan is “Writers helping writers.” Anyone who either wants to improve their skills or just loves writing is welcome, regardless of their present achievement level. There is no fee or required donation for this online event.
Poet Rafael de Jesus Gonzalez (Zoom meeting)
Saturday, May 23
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, May 21
Relief Package for Renters and Small Businesses
Submitted by Cheryl Golden
The Fremont City Council unanimously approved a COVID-19 aid package targeting Fremont renters and small businesses whose incomes have been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic response. The aid package, approved at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on May 12, 2020, consists of two programs:
- Fremont Cares Rent Relief Program will provide $400,000 in rental assistance. Households that qualify may receive up to three months of rental assistance beginning March 17, 2020, the date of the first Shelter-in-Place Order issued by the Alameda County Health Officer.
- 2) Fremont Small Business Relief Grant Program will provide up to $400,000 to small businesses in $5,000 or $10,000 grants.
The Fremont Cares Rent Relief program will provide rental assistance to eligible households who are unable to pay their rent due to a COVID 19-related job loss or loss of income. The rent assistance payment will be made directly to the landlord.
The Small Business Relief Grant Program targets Fremont businesses who have suffered financial impact from COVID-19 pandemic responses. Grants awarded to selected businesses will be valued at $5,000 for businesses with 10 or fewer employees on payroll at the time of the initial Shelter-in-Place Order and $10,000 for businesses with 11 to 50 employees, respectively.
The application period is now open for both programs. Applications, with required documentation, will close for Round 1 on May 29, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., while applications for Round 2 will open on June 1 and close on June 12, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. The application period for the Small Business Relief Grant Program will start on May 18 and end on May 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Applications for both programs will be scored and ranked based on documentable need rather than a first-come, first-served basis.
To apply for assistance, please visit the City’s website at www.Fremont.gov/RentRelief for the Fremont Cares Rent Assistance Program and www.Fremont.gov/BusinessGrants for the Fremont Small Business Relief Program. For language assistance services for the Fremont Cares Rent Relief Program, please call the Fremont Family Resource Center at 510-574-2000. For questions on the Small Business Relief Grant Program application, including language assistance, please call 510-284-4020 or email email@example.com.
Funding for this relief package comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, as part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
California Nursery: Roeding Family House
By Charlene Dizon
Photos courtesy of Dr. Joyce Blueford
Over 100 years after the Roedings first moved in as newlyweds, the Roeding Family House remains on the California Nursery property in Niles of Fremont. In the past, the house acted as both shelter for the Roedings and a place for California Nursery meetings. As the Roeding family and California Nursery expanded, the home became a significant symbol for the personal and professional growth that the Roedings experienced.
George Roeding Jr. and Frances Baldwin wed in 1927 in Hawaii, where Frances’ family shared large holdings in the Sugar Cane Industry. During this time, George Jr.’s father, George Roeding Sr., managed California Nursery Company. Unfortunately, George Sr.’s health began to weaken and California Nursery management was turned over to George Jr. The newly-wedded couple traveled to the California Nursery Company property and moved into a building initially inhabited by the Lehmann family, who had once worked on the property. This would become the Roeding’s lifelong home.
In 1928, the Roedings’ first child Bruce was born, followed by George III and Gerald. Because their family was swiftly growing, the house required renovations. Two bedrooms were added and the living room was expanded. A two-car garage was included on the west side of the home to store the family’s two Buicks. Diana, their fourth and final child, was born in 1938. With the renovations complete, George Jr. and Frances delved into their pursuits.
As an artist who loved to landscape and create floral displays, Frances placed flowers around the house and in the backyard. She won many awards for her stunning floral arrangements. She also became involved in civic causes, specifically those that dealt with children. George Jr. participated in Niles politics and lobbied for the establishment of Fremont in the 1950s. He later became a member of the East Bay Regional Park Commission and became involved in Fremont’s recreational projects. However, Frances and George Jr.’s most remarkable work was done within the retail expansion of the California Nursery Company.
To increase the company’s retail sales, George Jr. began holding bulb and tulip shows on the property for clients. Planning sessions for the events were held at the Roeding Family House. The first bulb show was held in the 1930s and became an annual event, well known throughout the Bay Area. The show took place from mid-March to mid-April, displaying over 100,000 flowering bulbs. As many as 5,000 clients per weekend from different districts attended to learn about and purchase the flowers being showcased. Over 100,000 people would visit each year. Visitors were taken on customized trucks for tours of the flower displays, gardens, large nursery property, and the growing grounds. The bulb and tulip shows were highly successful and the nursery became a destination for horticulturalists and garden lovers. Landscape design services were soon incorporated into the company.
Since the California Nursery Company prided itself on producing high-quality products, George Jr. had his trees and plants assessed by height, quality, and viability. In the 1930s, he successfully lobbied for a Grades and Standards Law for trees in California and applied this methodology to the company. During the 1930s and 1940s, the nursery offered landscape design services that provided and installed plants for businesses and large mansions. The nursery created pre-designed layouts for compact homes to accommodate the growing suburban market. George Jr. also had new display gardens built around the main nursery office and the “Old Adobe” building. The Adobe became such a favored stop for guests that it was turned into a tea house by landscape design father-and-son team Johannes and Frederic Reimers. Throughout these changes, the Roeding Family House witnessed the family’s growth and prosperity.
George Jr. and Frances resided in their home until both passed away in 1995. Their first son, Bruce, currently resides in the home, where he has lived for the past 91 years. When foreclosure of the nursery property (not including the Roeding Family House) grew imminent in 1972, Bruce attempted to save as much of the California Nursery Company’s archives as possible. Two large trailers placed on the Roeding home site were filled with various memorabilia. This material remained in the containers until members of the non-profit organization, Math Science Nucleus, began to work with Bruce in 2010 to organize these artifacts. Math Science Nucleus President Dr. Joyce Blueford states, “These materials tell the story of one of the most prominent businesses in Fremont that defined Niles for decades. We want to have exhibits and fundraising events. Because there are so many documents to sort through, we need help organizing the history.” The Roeding Family House site deserves proper care and with the help of the community, its story can live on.
For those interested in becoming a historical docent or volunteer opportunities, please contact the Math Science Nucleus for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-790-6284.
Social Security Matters
Ask Rusty – Husband confused about spouse benefits
By Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor, Association of Mature American Citizens
Dear Rusty: I am 65 years old and still working and plan to work for some time to come. My birthdate is February 1955. My wife is 64 years and not working. Her birthdate is January 1956. Half of my benefit is more than half of hers. I am confused on the spousal benefit rules. If she were to take her Social Security early before she reaches her full retirement age, what are the rules that affect her? Signed: Confused Husband
Dear Confused: First I must clarify that spousal benefits do not work as you have suggested, that “half of my benefit is more than half of hers.” Spousal benefits are always based upon the amount the individuals are due at their full retirement age, regardless of the age at which they claim. If half of your benefit at your full retirement age (FRA) is more than your wife’s full benefit at her full retirement age, then the difference between those two numbers is a “spousal boost” which is added to your wife’s own payment amount when her spouse benefit starts. If she has reached her FRA when you claim and her spouse benefit starts, your wife will get the entire spousal boost; if she has not, the spousal boost will be reduced. Your wife cannot collect a spousal benefit until you start collecting your Social Security, so if she claims benefits before you claim she will initially get only what she is entitled to on her own work record. Then when you claim, the “spousal boost” will be added to her benefit. If you claim at your FRA, your wife will not yet have reached her full retirement age, so her spousal boost amount will be reduced and added to her own reduced benefit amount, making her total benefit as your spouse less than 50 percent of your FRA benefit amount.
Your full retirement age is 66 years and 2 months, and you won't be entitled to full benefits until you reach that age. For your awareness, you can wait beyond your FRA and earn delayed retirement credits, up to age 70 when your benefit would be about 31% more than it would be at your FRA, but your wife cannot get her spousal boost until you claim. For your awareness, if you claim benefits before you reach your FRA and continue to work, you’ll be subject to Social Security’s earnings limit ($18,240 for 2020) which, if exceeded, will cause SS to take back some of your benefits. The earnings limit goes up by about 2.5 times in the year you reach your FRA and goes away when you reach your full retirement age.
Your wife’s full retirement age is 66 years and 4 months and any benefits she claims on her own record prior to reaching that age will be reduced. At 64 she could claim her own benefit from her own work record (assuming she has at least 40 SS credits), but that benefit would be reduced to about 85 percent of what she would get at her FRA. And claiming at age 64 would also affect the amount of her spousal benefit when that starts. The only way your wife can get 100 percent of the amount she is due as your spouse is to wait until her FRA to claim any benefit. If she claims her own benefit at age 64 or any time before her FRA, not only will her own benefit be reduced, but her eventual benefit as your spouse will be less than 50 percent of your FRA benefit amount, even if you wait to claim until your wife reaches her FRA. That’s because her spousal boost, when it occurs, will be added to the reduced SS retirement amount she is getting because she claimed before her full retirement age.
You are certainly not alone to be confused about spousal benefits as this is one of the most confusing areas of Social Security’s rules. But I hope the above provides what you and your wife need to make an informed claiming decision.
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation's staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website (amacfoundation.org/programs/social-security-advisory) or email us at email@example.com.
Students present tobacco PSAs – virtually
Submitted by Alameda County Office of Education
Normally, students would be coming through the doors of the Alameda County Office of Education in Hayward on a spring evening, ready to honor each other for their work to inform peers about the dangers of tobacco use and vaping.
But now, nothing is normal. So the students in the Alameda County Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) program adapted, and used their skills to create a virtual ceremony for the program’s annual Public Service Announcement Awards Night on April 27, 2020.
“In our current situation, any opportunity to lift up positive youth voice and engage youth is critical, and we felt it was in the best interest of all to hold this event virtually,” wrote Kristy Ross, Youth Development Specialist at ACOE, after the event.
Every year the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) selects PSAs for recognition in audio, poster and video categories. This year 82 individuals and teams submitted entries, with 16 PSAs chosen for recognition. In past years, the students with winning entries came together to view or listen to the PSAs as the winners were announced.
This year, the processes for judging entries and communicating with contestants were redesigned; YAB members and staff worked together to be innovative in getting the PSAs to the public.
“It’s important to keep this topic in front of adults and youth alike, even in this really challenging time, maybe especially in this really challenging time,” said Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe in her pre-recorded address. “We need to continue to understand the importance of telling young people about the dangers of vaping and staying healthy in many ways.”
YAB members are high school students from around Alameda County who speak out against the dangers of tobacco and vaping as peer educators. Working with a team from across Alameda County allows YAB members to see the dangers of smoking and vaping, and other health-related issues, in their own communities and beyond.
During a year-long term, YAB members work with TUPE staff to develop their skills and talents—from public speaking to strategic planning to technology—empowering them to create healthy school and community environments through awareness and advocacy projects.
“This is truly youth in action,” noted Superintendent Monroe in her address. “We know that when young people talk to other young people, they listen. They listen to you. They listen to their peers.”
The PSA awards event has been held for more than a decade to wrap up a year of service for YAB members, who lead the annual PSA contest, from choosing the theme (this year’s was “Don’t Believe the Fiction, Vaping's an Addiction”) to creating a contest flyer and promotional video, judging the PSA submissions, and finally planning and hosting the awards ceremony.
This year’s winners include:
High School: Audio
First: Trista Pradhan, Kalie Tong, Alex Wu
Alameda Science and Technology Institute
Second: Nina Moothedath
Amador Valley High School
Third (tied): Fernando Herrera, San Lorenzo High School; Kate Crawford and Olivia Harrison, Alameda Science and Technology Institute
High School: Video
First: Zoe Johnson, Grace Blanchard, Katie Langendorff
Granada High School
Second: Jasmine Chen, Rina Munakata
Alameda Science and Technology Institute
Third: Ethan Haines
Vineyard High School
High School: Poster
First: Andrew Le, Elvis Enguidanos, Christian Olateru, Bella Hernandez
Arroyo High School
Second: Ricky Titswork
Granada High School
Third: Clara Markel
Granada High School
Middle School: Video
First: Vincent James
Hopkins Junior High
Second: Ava Distasi, Erin Abramson Newman, Noe Linvill, Mei Saphir
Willard Middle School
Third: Amelia Paradise, Sara Willey, Elizabeth Kagel, Riley Kersh
Junction Avenue K-8
Middle School: Poster
First: Natalie Huang, Maryam Naseer, Kirthi Gopinath, Sahana Seth
Hopkins Junior High
Second: Bryan Heffel
Hopkins Junior High
Third: Selena Chambers
Walters Middle School
The event closed with YAB members congratulating and thanking contestants, and calling for students currently in grades 8 to 11 to apply for the 2020-21 Board. Interested students can visit www.acoe.org/tupeyab to apply before the July 1, 2020 deadline.
Union City City Council
May 12, 2020
The Union City Council conducted a Virtual Public Hearing at their regular board meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, regarding the fiscal year 2020/2021 Master Fee Schedule.
The Master Fee Schedule lists fees for services charged by each department. Fees are updated annually to reflect the following: actual costs of the described service, rate increases as prescribed in the Municipal Code, share of Federal rates, or increases in the Consumer Price Index. Staff uses the February to February CPI for the San Francisco Bay Area All Urban Consumers Index, which is 2.9% this year.
Finance Director Mark Carlson presented an overview of the fee schedule changes, highlighting new fees, most of them around filming permits and related costs to the city, developed to recoup public costs. Other changes were related to the Economic and Community Development department; changes here were updated to reflect actual time and material basis costs. New fees in the Public Works department were added to cover costs around tree replacement and granting of easements. No public comments were received. The Master Fee Schedule can be viewed on the City’s website at the agenda link: https://www.unioncity.org/199/City-Meetings-Video
- Approved minutes of the regular city council meeting held on April 28, 2020.
- Adopted a resolution confirming the continued existence of emergency due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Authorized the city manager to execute a contract amendment to extend the Union City transit and paratransit operations and maintenance agreement with MV Transportation for six months beyond the current contract termination date of June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020, for an additional $2,036,502.
- Adopted a resolution to approve the third amendment to the consulting services agreement between Union City and Smarking, Inc., to provide data aggregation, analytics, and reporting services for Union City’s paid parking program, for an additional $22,050.
City Manager Reports
- Richard Valle, Tri-CED founder and president, responded to a board request for an informational report. His presentation reviewed the business plan for sustaining the operation of obligations under the exclusive franchise agreement between the city and Tri-CED for recyclable materials collection and processing services.
Background: In July 2019, the Council adopted Resolution No. 5511-19, authorized payment of $437,035.00 in contractor compensation to Tri-CED for increased costs due to the severe decline in the recycling commodities markets triggered by China’s “National Sword Policy” and a determination by the State of California that Tri-CED’s material recovery facility on Western Avenue must comply with the enhanced regulatory requirements of a solid waste facility.
To generate required revenue, the Council approved a one-time Recycling Processing Surcharge to be collected from Union City residential and commercial recycling ratepayers. For the upcoming rate period effective July 1, 2020, Tri-CED requests that the $2 per month/per household recycling surcharge be extended due to on-going impact related to increased processing costs and the downturn in the recycling markets. The Council will consider the proposed extension at a June 9, 2020 Public Hearing on Proposed Solid Waste, Organic Waste and Recycling Services Rates Increase for 2020-21.
- Mark Evanoff, deputy city manager, provided the Council an information-only report regarding 2020 fireworks sales. Due to the COVID-19 public health situation, the City allowed electronic submissions for fireworks permits for 2020; the deadline was extended to May 8. The City’s two fireworks vendors, Phantom Fireworks and TNT, both submitted multiple-site applications. Notifications were sent to the vendors and the associated non-profits regarding new guidelines for sales, including social distancing and face coverings. Vendors will be responsible for training volunteers in the proper protocol as may be required by Alameda County Health Services. It was noted that illegal fireworks continue to be a problem; the police department is creating an operational plan with additional police resources deployed, and other planning for Fourth of July will include community messaging through social media and physical signage to educate our community and discourage illegal activity.
Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci Aye
Vice Mayor Emily Duncan Aye
Pat Gacoscos Aye
Jaime Patiño Aye
Gary Singh Aye
Union Sanitary District
Virtual Board Meeting May 11, 2020
Due to the results of a comprehensive rate study and the necessity for critical capital improvements, the Union Sanitary District Board adopted an ordinance to raise rates for fiscal years 2021 through 2025 at its May 11 meeting. The Board adopted Ordinance No. 31.40, amending Ordinance No. 31.39, after conducting a Virtual Public Hearing which resulted in eleven public comments and the tabulation of 354 protests into the record.
The Board also stipulated that, because of the current public health emergency and related economic uncertainty, the rate increase will not be collected from residential customers until November 2021. (The 2021 fiscal year begins July 1, 2020.) The District will use reserve funds to bridge the costs until customers pay the increased fee starting in the fall of 2021. In addition, USD staff was directed to research options for a discount program to assist seniors and those on fixed incomes. The District operates as a nonprofit and can only charge the amount necessary to cover its costs to provide sewer service.
Current rates for single family residential rates would have increased by $2.77 a month, and multiple family residential rates (condos, town homes and apartments) by $2.94 per month starting in November of 2020 but collection of those increases has been deferred until November 2021. USD fees, even with the rate increase, remain at the lower end among 35 Bay Area wastewater agencies. Detailed information on the new fees can be found on the Districts website at https://www.unionsanitary.com/rates/sewer-service-charges.
Paul R. Eldredge, General Manager/District Engineer, provided the board an overview of the planned rates and capital infrastructure needs. The rates are based on the results of the most recent study of the costs of providing sewer services from July 2021 through June 2025. In addition, USD’s 10-year Capital Improvement Program budget is estimated at $644,350,000. As the provider of an essential service, the District is mandated by state and federal requirements to responsibly maintain its infrastructure to avoid catastrophic failures, minimize service disruptions, and protect the environment.
The capital program will require more than a full decade of construction. “Each year the District’s critical capital projects are delayed, costs increase by approximately $12.5 million per year,” Eldredge said. “Moving forward now will save costs in the long term.”
Over the past several years, USD conducted thorough evaluations of its infrastructure needs with the primary goal of utilizing existing assets to their fullest extent to decrease construction costs and reduce impacts on rates. These evaluations included public workshops. The multi-year evaluation resulted in USD’s Enhanced Treatment and Site Upgrade Program report, the largest and most comprehensive capital improvement program in the District’s history (ETSU). The report is available at unionsanitary.ca.gov/etsu.
The District is responsible for operating, maintaining, and replacing $681 million in facilities and equipment. Much of these assets were built in the late 1970s, with some dating back to the 1960s. Analysis has shown that upgrades and/or replacements are critical, as current equipment will be unable to treat wastewater to meet changing government requirements or does not meet current seismic standards, and components at the 33-acre treatment plant are nearing function obsolescence.
The Union Sanitary District serves the cities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City, managing facilities that include more than 839 miles of sewer lines, seven pump stations, and the buildings and equipment at the Union City Wastewater Treatment Plant. Revenue is raised from two primary sources: (1) sewer service charges paid by residential customers, businesses, and other users of the system; and (2) capacity fees paid by developers and others who connect to USD’s system.
In other business, the board also passed motions:
- Approved minutes of the Union Sanitary District Special Board Meeting of April 20, 2020 and the minutes of the Union Sanitary District Board Meeting of April 27, 2020
Tom Handley, President Aye
Pat Kite, Vice President Aye
Anjali Lathi Aye
Manny Fernandez Aye
Jennifer Toy Aye
Planting your vegetable garden
Article and photos by Daniel O'Donnell
Interest in gardening is exploding as more people want to grow their own food, especially during this crisis. People are carving out space in their yards or on sunny windowsills to plant herbs and vegetables.
Choosing plants to kickstart your vegetable garden should begin with a plan. The blueprint for an area dedicated to growing plants should include how much sunlight the area receives, daytime and nighttime temperatures, and available space for the plants to grow. Doing so will narrow down the plant choices depending on the available space and conditions. Alternatively, a plan can begin with choosing the plants first and then finding places to grow them; in this scenario the plants will be scattered throughout the front yard, backyard, and side yard.
Assess how much produce from a plant is needed. If a person rarely eats parsnips but loves carrots, then it is okay to plant only carrots to avoid wasting uneaten parsnips. Consider the retail cost of the produce. Deciding to grow annual edible plants that die each year will give a chance to change the plantings in that area. A spot where perennial fruits and vegetables are grown will be occupied by the same plant year after year.
The final component for choosing what edibles to grow is to consider the timeline for production. Some plants can provide leafy greens for an entire summer, whereas some plants deliver only a late spring yield or a fall harvest. Below are five plants to consider planting in spring that will soon produce fresh fruits and vegetables and continue doing so well into fall.
One of the fastest maturing crop plants is fava beans. They only take 80 to 100 days to produce large tender lemon-lime colored beans that can be puréed into soup, roasted with other vegetables, used to make hummus and falafels, or eaten raw. The early harvest of the fresh beans will show how sweet growing food at home can be.
Going out on a limb, or in this case a vine, it can be argued that tomatoes are the most popular plant to grow at home. So why wait until summer for the first fruit? Fresh tomatoes can be adorning sandwiches, enhancing pizzas, or garnishing salads long before the first day of summer by planting the hybrid “Early Girl.” What really makes these worth planting is that tomato production can stretch all the way into September.
Lettuces and many other leafy green vegetables can keep producing until late in the year. It is a good idea to plant lettuces in different areas of the garden to ensure this type of production. The ones planted in bright locations will perform best in spring and fall when the daytime heat is less intense than in summer. Lettuce grown in areas that get limited morning or afternoon sunlight will thrive in the height of summer when temperatures soar.
Strawberries have the honorable achievement of being referred to as “the first taste of spring” since they are one of the first fruits to ripen. One of the three categories of strawberry plants is called June-bearing. These plants have a three-week window in which they produce their year’s worth of strawberries. Planting an ever-bearing variety will yield smaller numbers of strawberries in June but will bear fruit all summer and into fall.
It can be difficult to wait up to four months for a spaghetti squash to ripen. A spaghetti squash vine that was planted in early spring produces early and late summer fruits. Consider spaghetti squashes over other squashes because spaghetti squashes have a light texture and delicate flavor that complements summer and fall menus.
May is a great time for buying and planting vegetable starts. To buy organic and locally grown seedlings, visit Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont’s (LEAF) website, www.fremontleaf.org, for their annual May plant sale. Making an informed decision about what plants to grow will make the process easier and more successful. Reminds me of the adage: practice makes perfect.
Daniel O'Donnell is the co-owner and operator of an organic landscape design/build company in Fremont. www.Chrysalis-Gardens.com