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Labor crisis shocks California restaurants
By Michael R. Blood
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP), June 22 — Sherry Villanueva's family of Santa Barbara restaurants employed 350 people before the pandemic took hold and darkened dining rooms across California. Now, with the state's economy officially reopened, about 250 workers are back on the job. Villanueva would hire 100 more if she could — but she can't find people to take the openings.

“We are in the midst of a very severe labor shortage,” said Villanueva, owner and managing partner of Acme Hospitality, which operates eight eateries in the popular seaside destination, though two remain closed. With staffs stretched paper-napkin thin, the employees “are doing the job of two people.”

California fully reopened its economy on June 15 and did away with limits on capacity at restaurants, retail stores and other businesses. People are eager to return to sporting events and amusement parks and enjoy a meal out. But instead of full dining rooms, many restaurants are being forced to cut operating hours or leave tables open. Villanueva's company is offering cash bonuses to workers who recruit new employees.

The California Restaurant Association earlier estimated as many as one-third of the state's restaurants would not make it through the pandemic. For those that survived, the employment gap is a “full-blown crisis,” said Jot Condie, who heads the organization.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is fond of saying that California's economy is roaring back. Indeed, employment figures released June 18 showed the state added more than 100,000 jobs in May, the fourth consecutive month of gains after 2.7 million jobs vanished during the early months of the pandemic.

But in the state's battered restaurant industry, the return toward normalcy is being slowed by the struggle to find an adequate number of cooks, bartenders, food servers and kitchen staff. Since May 2020, restaurants and hotels have added 420,400 jobs — the most of any sector — but the industry remains about 450,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic level.

In Los Angeles, Caroline Styne, owner and wine director at The Lucques Group, has turned away dozens of customers because she didn't have the staff to serve them, leaving seats empty. “If you can't fill your seats … multiple times per evening, the financial structure of the restaurant doesn't work,” Styne said. “Hiring is a nightmare,” she added. “I've never been in a situation like this.”

The sector is notoriously volatile and restaurant employees can be a transient lot — students who drop in-and-out of shifts as time allows, aspiring actors and musicians looking to supplement their income, kitchen staffers who move on for bigger paydays elsewhere. The hours can be long, benefits scarce and the pay low, sometimes reliant on tips.

Styne, Villanueva and other industry experts see a web of factors conspiring to create the scarcity of job applicants. Among them: California's population dropped by 182,000 last year as the pandemic ravaged the economy, scattering workers around the country as many businesses closed. Some workers are hesitant to come back, either over lingering fear of the virus or because of frayed nerves after struggling through on-and-off lockdowns, home isolation and shifting health regulations.

Extended federal unemployment benefits have provided a cushion to stay home — about 2 million people are still receiving checks. In other cases, there's a child care problem with schools closed or in recess for summer. And after a long break from work to ponder the future, others took on a new career path.

For some workers who haven't returned “the trauma and uncertainty of the last year and a half was just too much,” Villanueva said. Matthew Meyer, chef-owner at Served Global Dining restaurant in Henderson, Nevada, faults the extended government benefits for the lack of job applicants. “As long as they keep giving away free money, that's where people are at,” he lamented.

Restaurants and hotels have been “ground zero” for the labor shortage, but other sectors have been struggling to fill jobs, including non-union construction and home health care, said Michael Bernick, a former director of the California Employment Development Department and an attorney with the Duane Morris law firm.

For ailing restaurants, a turning point may not come until late summer, when enhanced federal benefits end and schools reopen. Even then, “There still may be a shortage and then either wages will rise sufficiently to attract workers or hospitality venues will find that they need to change their delivery models,” Bernick said in an email.

On June 19, Alec Nedelman was enjoying an early Father's Day celebration with his family at one of Styne's A.O.C. restaurants in Los Angeles. The attorney said he has just started to return to restaurants since dining rooms began to reopen, and also was looking forward to having them available for business meetings.

“It's still a mixed feeling. You are still a little cautious and concerned,” Nedelman said. But “I'm looking forward to being able to be social again.”

California oil regulators deny new fracking permits
AP Wire Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California denied 21 oil drilling permits this week in the latest move toward ending fracking in a state that makes millions from the petroleum industry but is seeing widespread drought and more dangerous fire seasons linked to climate change.

State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk sent letters Thursday to Aera Energy denying permits to drill using hydraulic fracturing in two Kern County oil fields to “protect “public health and safety and environmental quality, including (the) reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.“

Aera Energy, a joint venture Shell and ExxonMobil, called the permit denials “disappointing though not surprising.“

“This is the latest decision attacking the oil and gas industry that is based solely on politics rather than sound data or science,” Aera spokeswoman Cindy Pollard said Friday, adding that the company was evaluating its legal options.

“Banning hydraulic fracturing will only put hard-working people of California out of work and threaten our energy supplies by making the state more dependent on foreign oil,“ she said.

Fracking involves injecting high-pressure water deep underground to extract oil or gas from rock. Critics say it can pollute groundwater and contributes to climate change.

“In the face of the effects of the climate emergency, the risks to everyday Californians are too high to approve these permits,” Ntuk said Friday in emails to the Bakersfield Californian and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gov. Gavin Newsom applauded the move, his office said. In April, Newsom directed the state's Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, to develop a plan to stop issuing new fracking permits by 2024 after a measure to ban fracking died in the Legislature.

Newsom also has ordered the California Air Resources Board to figure out how the state can end all oil production by 2045. Those decisions would make California the largest state to ban fracking and likely the first in the world to set a deadline for ending oil production.

Still Newsom, who is facing a recall election in September, is treading a risky path. California is the seventh-largest oil-producing state, with more than 60,000 active wells. CalGEM has approved 100 new oil well-drilling permits and a dozen new fracking permits this year, according to state records cited by the Chronicle.

The industry directly employed about 152,000 people and was responsible for $152.3 billion in economic output, according to a 2019 study commissioned by the Western States Petroleum Association.

Even though oil production fell last year to its lowest level in state history, the industry retains plenty of political pull.

Lawmakers representing Kern County, an oil-rich area of the Central Valley, condemned the permit denials.

State Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, issued a news release Friday critical of Thursday's permit denials.

“The attack on oil must end,” Grove said. “A California without oil is an implausible dream being pushed by progressive politicians. The governor should protect quality careers and vital tax funding while ensuring Californians have access to affordable and reliable energy.”

Conservation groups also weren't entirely satisfied.

Newsom should “instruct his agency to deny all new oil and gas permits immediately,” said a statement from Alexandra Nagy, California director for the nonprofit group Food and Water Watch.

“Incremental steps are not enough to protect Californian communities and our climate, or save our scarce water resources from drilling operations that usurp them,” Nagy said in a statement.

California reports first 2021 death from West Nile virus
AP Wire Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California on Friday reported the state's first death from the West Nile virus this year.

A resident of San Luis Obispo County died from complications of the mosquito-borne virus, the California Department of Public Health said in a news release. It didn't say when the person died or provide other details.

“Hot temperatures this month are contributing to increasing numbers of mosquitoes and the increased risk of virus transmission to humans,“ the department said.

There have been more than 300 deaths from West Nile virus in California since 2003, the department said.

It appeared that the person was infected while traveling outside the county to an area where virus-infected mosquitoes are endemic, the county's Public Health Department said.

Most people infected with West Nile don't have any symptoms, while about 1 in 5 have flu-like symptoms and fewer than 1% of people develop serious neurological problems such as encephalitis or meningitis, health officials said.

People age 50 or older and those with diabetes or hypertension are at higher risk of getting sick and developing complications, authorities said.

More than 300 deaths from West Nile have been reported in California since 2003, according to state figures.

California moves to phase out its state-run youth prisons
AP Wire Service
By Don Thompson
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Jun 29 – California is phasing out its state-run youth prisons and shifting the responsibility to counties, 162 years after lawmakers created the first alternative to housing children as young as 12 alongside adults in San Quentin and Folsom state prisons.

Advocates said the move reflects their belief that children who commit crimes can be reformed and are better served when held closer to their homes.

But supporters and skeptics said there is plenty of uncertainty ahead as the three remaining state-run lockups stop admissions Thursday and close in 2023. Oversight of juvenile offenders will shift from the state corrections department to the California Health and Human Services Agency.

That change in mindset “has a lot of potential to be far more effective,” said Jessica Heldman, a juvenile justice expert at the University of San Diego School of Law, “as well as of course make communities safer“ by having the needs of the youthful offenders identified and met so they can be reformed.

The state-run system has a troubled history marked by inmate suicides and brawls. The shift to local control is the final step in a lengthy reform effort driven in part by a class-action lawsuit and incentives for counties to keep youths out of the state system.

The first facility for troubled youths – the San Francisco Industrial School – was created by the Legislature in 1859. Two years later, the State Reform School in Marysville opened for boys 8 to 18. At one point, the state system included 11 lockups holding about 10,000 youths.

That youth offender population has dwindled to about 750. About 16% are serving time for homicide, 37% for assault, one-third for robbery, 9% for rape or other sex offenses. A disproportionate 59% are Hispanic and 29% are Black.

Until now, youths as young as 12 could be sent to the facilities and remain in some cases until age 25, though many are transferred to an adult prison when they turn 18. New admissions will now be overseen by 58 county probation departments.

Teens 14 and older who once could have gone to a state facility can instead be housed in county “secure youth treatment facilities” at the direction of juvenile court judges.

That's a troubling replication of state lockups at the local level, said Meredith Desautels, a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco.

“My major concern is that what we're actually going to see is youth who never would have gone to (state facilities) spending more time in secure confinement than they would have prior to the closure,” she said.

Counties are determined to make the law work, said California District Attorneys Association legislative director Larry Morse, yet “frankly the details are still a little opaque and we have not really been able to sort through exactly how this will unfold.”

Prosecutors want to know where youths who commit “the most egregious and horrifying crimes” will be held and how they will be helped, he said.

County officials fear smaller counties could have difficulty providing specialized programs for youths who commit sex crimes, for instance, or have serious mental health needs.

The state will ramp up to sending counties $212 million annually to help pay for their new responsibilities – about $225,000 per youth.

But the California State Association of Counties said the funding formula punishes counties that relied most on the state-run system and therefore need the greatest help developing local alternatives.

County probation officers, meanwhile, will be trying to find a balance between reform advocates' focus on rehabilitation and juvenile judges who, at prosecutors' request, could still send 16- and 17-year-olds to adult prisons for the most serious crimes.

California counties already handle about 35,000 juvenile offenders, more than 3,600 of them held in juvenile halls, camps and ranches. But when juvenile court judges in the past were faced with the most recalcitrant or troubled youths, they had the option of sending them to the state Division of Juvenile Justice.

“And then you'd have a big $200 million system available to that one youth to develop whatever case plan was necessary. So that gave confidence to the court that they didn't need to go to the adult system,” said Chief Probation Officers of California executive director Karen Pank.

With that option gone, officials and advocates alike are looking for guidance from the nascent state Office of Youth and Community Restoration.

A consortium of 40 youth advocacy groups recently asked lawmakers to budget $30 million for the office – four times what Gov. Gavin Newsom most recently proposed – to provide better oversight of the entire juvenile justice system and not just those youths who previously went into state custody.

“It's been mass confusion at the county level with very little guidance at the state level,” said attorney Frankie Guzman, director of the California Youth Justice Initiative at the National Center for Youth Law.

That has often left probation departments leading by default while law enforcement agencies are suspect in the eyes of many advocates, said Guzman, who spent six years in California's youth prisons for armed robbery.

Heldman cautioned that the state can't simply absolve itself of responsibility for the youths it is now pushing back to the counties.

“It's what I call the Pontius Pilate: the state washes its hands of these wards,” Republican state Sen. Jim Nielsen, a former state parole chief, said during a legislative debate over the shift this spring.

But Democratic Sen. Maria Elena Durazo promised her budget subcommittee will oversee a proper transition, “so that all young people remain in our communities instead of being held in youth prisons far away from the resources and support they need to heal trauma and change the course of their lives.“

“This was a moment of hope,” Durazo said of lawmakers' vote for the shift. “It was also a recognition that we had to get it right, and it would not be easy.”


Officials mull eco-friendly blimps for travel
By Renee Jiang

Dear EarthTalk: Is blimp travel really making a comeback? Is it eco-friendly?
– J. Roe, Islip. New York

The blimp, forever besmirched due to the Hindenburg explosion in 1937 — when one of the first commercial blimps caught on fire — never really fulfilled its potential as a commuting vehicle.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and companies like Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) are taking steps to reintroduce airships safely. HAV’s Airlander 10, for example, uses inert helium for buoyancy instead of flammable hydrogen (which the industry began doing right after the Hindenburg disaster), thus eliminating the threat of disasters like the Hindenburg. Today’s blimp can be an efficient cargo carrier, and can also seat 100 passengers and travel 200-300 miles quickly on hybrid (diesel/electric) power — making blimp travel one of the greenest ways to travel medium-length distances.

Traditional commercial jets are not only much more costly to make but also accelerate global warming and impact local air quality. Commercial aircrafts use large amounts of fossil fuels and emit harmful greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfate or soot particulates.

As a hybrid vehicle with a helium-filled balloon for buoyancy — the Airlander 10 drastically reduces the amount of fuel necessary to keep it airborne. HAV reports that the Airlander will emit 90% less carbon dioxide per passenger than a commercial jet. However, the company plans to replace all hybrid versions with 500 kW electric motors — two forward motors by 2025 and two rear motors by 2030 – to make the aircraft fully electric and producing zero emissions.

HAV adds that while blimps created in the past could not withstand rough weather conditions, the Airlander “will be able to withstand lightning and icing and operate in most weathers.” With the ability to cover 4,000 miles, reach the altitude of 20,000 feet, and travel approximately 80 miles per hour, the Airlander maximizes energy efficiency and is designed to remain airborne for up to five days at a stretch. “This isn’t a luxury product, it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis,” HAV Chief Executive Tom Grundy tells The Guardian.

In addition to commercial passenger and cargo transportation, the Airlander may just be the newest eco-tourism vehicle. With large windows that provide a clear view of the landscapes below and little predicted turbulence due to reduced engine usage, the Airlander is perfect for luxury eco-travel. In fact, Swedish travel firm OceanSky has already purchased an Airlander that will include a customized luxury cabin, where passengers can enjoy stunning, unparalleled views while flying over places like the North Pole.

Although an Airlander prototype crashed during a 2019 test flight, another test flight performed in 2021 proved successful. As with all commercial aircraft, the Airlander requires certification from regulators before operation. Though the Airlander does not yet have approval, HAV looks forward to building 12 Airlanders yearly with hopes of producing upwards of 250 over the next few decades.

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

Park It
By Ned MacKay

As pandemic fears recede and the East Bay Regional Park District resumes more normal operations, one of the unique attractions reopening is the Golden State Model Railroad Museum at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline in Richmond.

Located at 900-A Dornan Drive just past the tunnel from Point Richmond, the museum features 10,000 square feet of operating model trains with 200 feet of public walkway on which to watch the action.

Setups are elaborate, depicting in miniature a variety of typical California landscapes. The three main modeling scales are O, HO, and N.

The museum is now open with model trains running on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission costs $5 for adults and children ages 12 and older, $3 for seniors 63 and older and children ages 4–11, and $10 for families. Children under 4 get in free. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible.

Outside the museum, Miller-Knox Shoreline is a great place to spend the day. The park has hiking trails along the shoreline and up the hills with great views of San Francisco Bay and its environs. There are picnic tables, a fishing pier at Ferry Point, and a saltwater lagoon. And you can swim in the bay at Keller Beach. It’s at your own risk; there’s no lifeguard service.

For more information on the model railroad museum and shoreline park, check out gsmrm.org and ebparks.org.

There’s unfortunate news from Diablo Foothills/Castle Rock Regional Parklands in Walnut Creek, where a pair of nesting peregrine falcons hatched four chicks this spring.

All evidence indicates that the four chicks were killed by a predator: a great horned owl that had been seen in the vicinity of the falcon nest. The chicks were too young to fly or defend themselves, and the parent peregrines were not able to protect them either.

For anyone following the peregrines, it’s tough news. But to bird biologists, it’s a common occurrence. Peregrine falcons and great-horned owls are mortal enemies. Neither species tolerates the other nearby, and peregrines prey on other birds, too, just like the owl.

While wildlife volunteers and researchers did their best to prevent park visitors from disturbing the birds during mating season, they couldn’t stop nature from taking its course. Kendall Oei, one of the park’s wildlife volunteers said, “We witnessed another wonder of nature. Just as we watched the peregrines catch woodpeckers, phoebes, bats, and more, so we saw a different predator win the day.”

Peregrines are amazing birds. They can dive at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, which makes them the world’s fastest animal. No longer on the federal endangered species list, peregrines are still fully protected under California’s Fish & Game Code – though not from owls.

The Castle Rock formation is actually in Mt. Diablo State Park, overlooking Pine Canyon and Diablo Foothills Regional Park. The rocks are closed to hikers and climbers every year during the mating season, which runs from February 1 to July 31. If disturbed during this time period, the birds can fail to mate or can abandon their nests.

Staff of the two park agencies and an all-volunteer natural history education team keep watch on the peregrines during the mating season. In 2020 two pairs of nesting peregrines were seen in the rocks, but neither pair ever settled into incubation.

The peregrine situation does bring up a point: If you encounter wildlife while visiting the regional parks or any other open space, please keep your distance. Do not try to approach or otherwise interact with the animals. It’s best for both humans and wild animals if the animals do not lose their wariness of humans or become dependent on us.

Dogs are permissible off-leash in the backcountry as long as they are under their owner’s control, which generally means they will return when called. If a dog begins chasing wildlife, or if there are cattle nearby, the dog must be placed on leash.

The regional parks are essentially wildlife sanctuaries, and we can all do our part to keep them that way.

History Matters
By John Grimaldi and David Bruce Smith

To the stars and beyond
On July 17, 1975, a coterie of astronauts, and cosmonauts, rendezvoused in the stars. According to some, America and the Soviet Union had a “heavenly embrace” moment, for the first time since Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 anchored in orbit. Their commanders, Aleksei Leonov and Thomas P. Stafford, greeted each other amiably, and dedicated two days of experimenting with in — space rescue missions — for contingency reasons.

“Back on Earth, United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim congratulated the two superpowers for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and praised their unprecedented spirit of cooperation and peace in planning and executing the mission,” according to History.com.

Within sixteen years, however, Russia’s powerful hold over its Eastern Bloc Republics fizzled; the Berlin Wall broke, and the Cold War went up in smoke. For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends the book, “Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization” by Joe Scarborough.

Gold rush tales
If the timing had been different, Jack London could have been a candidate for the Grateful American Book Prize, but he was born too early: San Francisco, 1876.

On July 25, 1897, at the age of 21, he sailed to Canada’s Klondike territories during the apex of their Gold Rush flush, but instead of sweeping for a fabulous fortune, London perused the land, its indigenous people, and pondered the plethora of piggish prospectors who grabbed for gold.

London’s adventures surfaced in the form of a successful debut short story collection called The Son of the Wolf: Tales of the Far North. Three years later, The Call of the Wild — a story about an abducted dog, was released, and became a bestseller, that permanently pivoted the author’s profile of prestige from evanescent to evergreen.

When he died in 1916 at the age of 40, London had already written 50 works of fiction and non-fiction that are still loved. The Grateful American Book Prize recommends “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London.

Justice served
The Department of Justice (DOJ) was founded in 1870, but in its first four decades of operation, it hired rent-a-cop investigators, that were usually borrowed from other government agencies — including the Secret Service. Finally, on July 26,1908, the division assembled a dedicated aggregation of its own.

U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte hired 10 experienced, former Secret Service agents that morphed to 34 — and—eventually – 300. Meanwhile, J. Edgar Hoover joined the Department in 1917; he was promoted to special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in 1919, and by 1924, was the acting director of the Bureau of Investigation. The entity officially became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.

Hoover remained Director until his 1972 death, but his reign was sullied by controversy and corruption; today, the Senate approves prospective Director nominees, and limits service to one, 10-year term. The Grateful American Book Prize recommends “The True Story of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI” by Barry Denenberg.

This feature is courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize, which is an annual award given to authors who have created outstanding works of historical fiction or nonfiction for seventh to ninth graders.

Coping with Post Pandemic Stress
By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT

California passed a major milestone on June 15, 2021, when Governor Newsom lifted sanctions on mask requirements and social distancing. This reopening is what many of us have been looking forward to for over a year. During the shutdown, many of us were missing and yearning for our “old normal” – for family gatherings, going out to restaurants, meeting up with friends, travel, and sport activities. Now that we are practically back to our old normal, one would assume that we would all be in a euphoric high, enjoying our freedom to the fullest.

Yet significant numbers of people are reporting feelings of depression, worry, and anxiety, stemming from a multitude of reasons including mourning dear ones who passed away from Covid, grieving the loss of significant milestones like graduation, coping with loss of jobs or income, worry about the future, uncertainty about socializing outside one’s bubble, anxiety about having to return to in-person work, accumulated stress from being cooped up at home, tension from being in close quarters with loved ones, guilt over being a survivor, discomfort with in-person interactions, burnout from overwork, and disruption in work/life balance.

If any of the above resonate with you, please know that you are not alone. Recently, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gave this somber warning, “After the Second World War, the world has experienced mass trauma, because Second World War affected many, many lives. And now, even with this Covid pandemic, with bigger magnitude, more lives have been affected. . . .and that means mass trauma, which is beyond proportion, even bigger than what the world experienced after the Second World War. . .and when there is mass trauma, it affects communities for many years to come.”

Some mental health experts have coined the term “Post Pandemic Stress Disorder” to describe the effects of this mass trauma. Note that “Post Pandemic Stress Disorder” is not an official medical or psychiatric diagnosis. However, it is a useful way to describe and validate the impact of the pandemic on one’s mental health.

There is no right or wrong way to react to trauma – two people can experience the exact same trauma and be affected in completely different ways. Likewise, each of us will have a different reaction to the pandemic. There is no one particular set of symptoms to capture the full array of the effects of the pandemic. However, here are some warning signs that an individual might be experiencing post pandemic stress: new or increased use of drugs or alcohol, depressed mood that persists, thoughts of suicide, heightened anxiety, and debilitating fear or worry.

If you are concerned about your mental health, please seek help. You can get a therapist recommendation from your insurance company, employee assistance programs, or community health clinics like the City of Fremont Youth and Family Services (510) 574-2100. It is normal to struggle after a trauma, but you do not have to struggle on your own. After all, no one would question if an individual reported difficulty adjusting after going through World War II. The good news is that trauma is treatable and people can get back on their feet, even after having gone through a lifechanging, severe trauma like the one all of us have experienced.

Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Union City. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers and lives. You can reach her at annechantcv@gmail.com. © Anne Chan, 2021

Social Security Matters
By Russell Gloor, National Social Security Advisor, AMAC Foundation

Ask Rusty –Should I Claim Social Security at 62, or Wait Longer?

Dear Rusty: I turn 62 next year, and I am getting different answers to my questions so I hope you can help me. The amount I would collect is different at 67 and 72. If I start to collect Social Security at 62, when I turn 67 will it go up to that amount? And go up again when I turn 72? One person I spoke to said yes it does. The next person I spoke to said no – you get the amount for the age that you start to collect and that’s all you get for the rest of your life. Please help me to understand if I should start to collect at 62 or wait. Signed: Confused About When to Claim

Dear Confused: First of all, your Social Security benefit stops growing when you turn 70, so waiting beyond that to claim will only cause you to lose benefits you are entitled to. Essentially you have an eight-year window to claim your Social Security benefits, and the amount you get will be based on the age you claim, relative to your full retirement age (FRA). Your personal FRA is 67, and if you claim at age 62, you’ll get 70% of what you would get at your FRA. That reduction is permanent except for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) which may occur annually. Whenever you claim, that is the amount you’ll get for the rest of your life – it doesn’t go up at age 67, or any other later age. But the question of whether you should claim at age 62 or wait longer is more complicated.

If you are still working, you should be aware that claiming at any time before age 67 will mean Social Security’s “earning test” will apply. The earnings test sets a limit for how much you can earn from working before SS takes away some of your benefits. For 2021, the earnings limit is $18,960 (it changes annually) and if that is exceeded SS will take away benefits equal to $1 for every $2 you are over the limit. (We don’t yet know what the 2022 limit will be, but it will be slightly more than the 2021 limit.) The earnings limit applies until you reach your full retirement age, after which there is no longer a limit to how much you can earn. If you exceed the earnings limit by a substantial amount, you could even be disqualified from receiving any benefits.

Other factors to consider when deciding when to claim are your health and your life expectancy, the urgency of your need for the money, and your marital status. The longer you wait to claim, up to age 70, the more your benefit will be. In fact, if you wait until age 70 to claim, your benefit will be 24% more than it would be at your FRA. But whether you should wait beyond your FRA to claim depends on your life expectancy. If, for example, you wait until age 70 to maximize your benefit, you will need to live until at least 83 to break even (average longevity for someone your current age is about 84).

If you are married and have higher lifetime earnings than your spouse, you should be aware that your spouse’s benefit as your survivor, should you die first, will be affected by your age when you claim. If you wait and claim at a later age, your spouse’s survivor benefit will be more (assuming your spouse’s own benefit is smaller). If you claim at an earlier age, your spouse’s survivor benefit will be less.

So, as you can see, there’s no one simple answer for when you should claim your Social Security benefits. Everyone’s personal circumstances are different and deciding when to claim benefits should take into account your entire situation, as described above.

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 ssadvisor@amacfoundation.org.


FedEx tests autonomous delivery vehicles
By Steve Crowe, June 15 2021

FedEx and Nuro are teaming up to test autonomous delivery vehicles. The companies signed a multi-year, multi-phase agreement to pilot Nuro’s autonomous delivery vehicles in the Houston area. The pilot, which started in April, marks Nuro’s expansion into parcel logistics and allows FedEx to explore various use cases for on-road autonomous vehicle logistics, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries.

Tackling the challenges of last-mile delivery has been a priority for FedEx and other logistics companies for years. These challenges have only grown with the rapid growth of e-commerce combined with the ongoing labor shortages across the logistics sector. This pilot is the latest addition to FedEx’s growing autonomous vehicle portfolio, including Roxo, the FedEx SameDay Bot. Roxo is an all-electric, autonomous delivery robot designed to provide same-day, point-to-point, local on-demand delivery services.

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, vice president, advanced technology and innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”

Nuro has been developing and testing its self-driving technology for nearly five years, including on-road deployment in multiple cities and industry-first regulatory approvals. The company has established partnerships with leaders in grocery, restaurant, and pharmacy verticals. In April 2021, Nuro partnered with Domino’s for autonomous pizza delivery in Houston. Nuro and Domino’s first announced a partnership in Houston in 2019, so it has been mapping the area for some time now. That same year, Nuro also announced deals with Kroger in Houston and Phoenix.

“Working with FedEx — the global leader in logistics — is an incredible opportunity to rethink every aspect of local delivery. This multi-year commitment will allow us to truly collaborate and bring Nuro’s powerful technology to more people in new ways, and eventually reach large-scale deployment,” said Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships. “Our collaboration will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener.”

FedEx uses a variety of robots for its logistics operations. In 2020, for example, it partnered with PlusOne Robotics to deploy four pick-and-place robots in the small-package sorting area of FedEx’s Memphis Hub. The robots work two four-hour shifts — a day sort and a night sort. Each robot sorts anywhere from 1000-1400 packages per hour depending on package mix. In 2021, FedEx plans to expand the number of robots not only in Memphis, but other operations in its network.

Steve Crowe is Editorial Director, Robotics, WTWH Media, and co-chair of the Robotics Summit & Expo. He can be reached at scrowe@wtwhmedia.com.

Salon owner sells business for $1 to employee
Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP), July 11 — Salon owner Pio Imperati took a chance and hired hairstylist Kathy Moura right out of technical high school 15 years ago. It has worked out so well that Imperati sold her his venerable New Haven, Connecticut, business for $1.

“She's a good hairdresser, a good barber, she's very nice,” Imperati told the New Haven Register about the sale of Pio of Italy Hair Studio. “I sold it to her for $1 so we would remain friends.” While Moura will pay rent to Imperati, she avoids a charge that can run into the tens of thousands of dollars to purchase a salon for the equipment, supplies and clientele.

Imperati, 79, is now working there as an independent contractor. “Eventually, it was a dream of mine come true to be able to turn the salon over to someone worthy,” he said. Imperati has been in business for about 56 years in various locations and forms, beginning with a barbershop in 1965, according to the newspaper.

Moura, 32, recalled that when she finished school, “no one would hire me because I didn't have any experience.” She called a teacher for help and was given Imperati's phone number. He and his wife gave her a tryout and eventually hired her.

“We grew like a family…That's how he treats everyone who walks into the salon,” Moura said of Imperati. “Any person who works here, he wants you to flourish and become something of yourself.”

Manhattan sinkhole collapses under 2 parked cars

NEW YORK (AP), July 11 — A sinkhole on a Manhattan street collapsed under two parked cars July 11, prompting renewed criticism of the city's infrastructure several days after heavy rains caused severe subway flooding.

There were no injuries reported after the sinkhole on the Upper West Side left an SUV with its back end stuck and the car behind it tilting forward.

“But this yet another reminder: NYC simply must invest more in upgrading our outdated infrastructure,” New York City Council member Mark Levine said on Twitter.

Levine posted pictures of the vehicles on Riverside Drive days after widely circulated videos showed water pouring into subway stations following heavy rain July 8. The vehicles had been removed by the afternoon of July 11.

Broncho Billy & Friends Silent Film Festival
Submitted by Niles Essanay

Tens of thousands of films have been shot around the planet, movie stars have been celebrated, and careers have risen and fallen over the past 130+ years, the equivalence of empires’ entire fortunes have been made and lost all in order to tell a story, entertain people and, of course, make the almighty buck. This weekend we wanted to pay respect to the movie-going experience – from the basic form to the fantastic. So, sit back in your armchair and enjoy our second “Broncho Billy & Friends Silent Film Festival” online. We expect to be “back in the saddle” screening films in person at our own nickelodeon theater in Niles come Fall 2021, so stay tuned to your eNewsreels for updates. In the meantime, visit our museum and store at 37417 Niles Blvd, Fremont on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon – 4 p.m. (We just reopened!)

Links will be available at 12:01 a.m. on the day. Zoom sessions will start at the time posted.

Friday, July 23: Nickelodeons

Live Zoom: San Francisco in the Nickelodeon Age
5:00 p.m.
From the start, San Francisco had its own way of selling movies, finding its audiences, and promoting its live acts. Russell Merritt shows how the city’s nickelodeon scene arose Phoenix-like from the 1906 earthquake. Piano wizard and film historian Frederick Hodges joins in conversation about how the San Francisco nickelodeon grew into a golden age of movie palaces and classic neighborhood theaters.


A Movie Star (1916, Keystone Film Company)
A movie star (Mack Swain) comes to a nickel theater and watches himself on the screen while the audience eagerly watches his every move.

When The Movies Came From Niles
KPIX documentary film from 1964 about the early film career of Gilbert M. “Bronco Billy” Anderson. Includes extensive scenes of silent films produced at the studio, recollections of life on the studio lot in Niles, reflections on Anderson's contribution to the western movie genre and views of him accepting an honorary Oscar for his work in 1958.

Post Presentation:
New information has surfaced since the film was made in 1964. Niles Essanay board member Michael Bonham catches you up.

Saturday, July 24: Drive-Ins to Palaces

Live Zooms:

Nuts and Bolts of Running a Theater
10:00 a.m.
Representatives from various landmarks in San Francisco and Oakland will weigh in on what it took to get the concept of the theater experience going back in the day, the pivot needed for the past year of pandemic, and what it will take to keep going as we are embarking on the next chapter of this more-than-century-old concept.

Live Q&A with April Wright
5:00 p.m.
Watch two Going Attractions films on the various aspects of the cinematic experience, then join filmmaker April Wright for some Q & A.


Broncho Billy’s Adventure (1911)
Anderson includes his usual mix of comedy and drama as his character gets caught in the middle of a family dispute between hotel owner Arthur Mackley and his daughter Edna Fisher when she welcomes her boyfriend Fred Church, a cowboy her father dislikes.

The Temptress (1911)
Lottie Briscoe sees her boyfriend taken away by a scheming woman who defies her father's wishes, and pushes back with an attempt to poison him. A detective, Curtis Cooksey, is called in to investigate.

Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie, and The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace

Sunday, July 25: Artistry and Showmanship

Live Zooms:

Q & A with Gary Parks
5:00 p.m.
Join Gary Parks and Rena Kiehn as they talk decor. Gary will be available to answer questions.

Follow-Up Q & A with Matias Bombal
6:30 p.m.
The man who knows all about pageantry and showmanship will share some insights and be available for questions.


Billy McGrath on Broadway (1913)
Billy wants to be a Broadway producer but finds it isn’t so easy.

Alkali Ike Bests Broncho Billy (1912)
When rancher Arthur Mackley welcomes his daughter (Florence Perkes) for a visit, all of the cowboys compete for her affections.

Alhambra: Sacramento’s Palace of Fantasy
Opened in 1927, the Alhambra Theatre was the preeminent movie house in town. It was demolished in 1973 to make way for a Safeway, but its memory lives on. Directed and researched by Matías Bombal and co-produced and edited by Chad E. Williams, “Alhambra: Sacramento’s Palace of Fantasy” pieces together the historical puzzle of Sacramento's pride and later, shame.

The American Movie Palace: A look at its decorative evolution – Gary Parks
A look at the aesthetic evolution of the facades and public spaces in movie theatres, showing their decorative evolution out of the nickelodeon era, into the movie palaces of cities. When spotlighting theatres of the movie palace era’s later years, we will include several in, or close to, the Bay Area.

Broncho Billy & Friends Silent Film Festival
Friday, Jul 23 – Sunday, Jul 25
Various times
Sign up for E-newsreels at info@nilesfilmmuseum.org – Include “Please add me to the E-newsreel list” in the subject line.

Good things come in small packages
By William Marshak

Although much of Fremont’s agricultural and pastoral scene has vanished under an avalanche of residential, commercial and industrial development, here and there, patches of what was once the heart of the Bay Area breadbasket remains. On a small “farm,” once part of the historic Shinn property, built and occupied by Millicent Shinn, two mini residents have captivated the hearts of the neighborhood. The property, purchased in 1964 from the Shinn family, has been in the Chittle family for over three generations and today, retains much of its original agricultural character.

Resident mini-goats Nadia and Buttercup stand only a few feet high, but have a towering presence on the Adler Court cul-de-sac. As an indispensable part of the Hadley-Chittle family, their human companions have welcomed the duo as a vital part of their lives and, in return, Nadia and Buttercup have provided a now-rare glimpse into the rural heritage of the land. Neighbors – adults and children – treasure this touch of nature and animal husbandry in their midst. On the practical side, Nadia, a 1-year-old Mini Nubian (aka Mini Milker) will be capable of producing up to three gallons of milk per day in the future and Buttercup, a 2-year-old Pygora, when shorn, provides fibers for weaving.

Elka, age 11, who lives on the “farm” with mom, Shashana, dad, Spencer and brother, 7-year-old Nouri, describes herself as “owner, best friend and caretaker of Nadia and Buttercup.” As part of 4-H membership and education, her two diminutive “friends” provide a loving and practical guide to a responsible and sustainable future.

Nadia and Buttercup were the subject of debate at the July 6, 2021 Fremont City Council meeting. While Fremont and its previous incarnation as part of Washington Township hosted a myriad of agriculture, farms, ranches and livestock, population pressures have reduced open space and these land uses. As a result, in 2018, animal ownership restrictions were put in place. Fremont Municipal Code, Title 6, limited animal ownership on residential properties and as a consequence, Nadia and Buttercup were put at risk, facing eviction.

As their human family, friends, neighbors and interested residents learned of the possible deportation, many signed petitions and spoke at the council meeting to ask for consideration of an exception and reexamination of the policy. In fact, a “Fancier’s Permit” had just been issued due to the educational value of Nadia and Buttercup, so the duo was spared from imminent danger. Even so, the Council recommended a review of the code provisions to address possible future issues connected with animal husbandry within the city.

Congratulations to Nadia and Buttercup. You may be small in stature, but you have had a mighty impact on your human friends and companions. It’s true that “good things come in small packages!”

Fremont’s Got Talent: Part I
By David R. Newman

Fremont stand-up comedian Kabir Singh is making a name for himself, and he’s doing it in a big way. His recent audition on an episode of America’s Got Talent (AGT), which aired June 15, brought the audience and judges to their feet and garnered four yes votes, paving the way for his next appearance at the AGT Live Shows on August 10. The YouTube clip of his performance has reached nearly two million views, catapulting the Indian comic onto the international stage virtually overnight.

“It was tremendous,” says Singh of his AGT experience. “A career highlight, to be sure!” He’s hoping to be the first comedian to win AGT, and with it, the one million dollars in prize money and his very own show in Las Vegas.

Singh has been a professional stand-up comedian for the past eight years. In that time, he has performed at over 200 comedy clubs across the country, including every major club in California and the Bay Area. He has won several comedy competitions, including The Big Sky Comedy Festival in Montana in 2019, which was instrumental to his appearance on AGT. “AGT had a talent scout there, Naela K. Durrani,” says Singh. “She loved me. So, she sent my tape in and the next thing you know, Terry Cruz is talking me up, they put me on, and have a good day!”

Singh knows other comedians who have done well on AGT, including Preacher Lawson and Samuel J. Comroe. “Their careers really took off after that, “says Singh. “I figured I could probably run with the pack.” But he admits it was a nerve wracking experience. “I’m very rarely nervous, but they only give you two minutes. It’s not like they give you ten minutes and they edit out your best set. I did two jokes and those are the ones that aired, that’s it!”

With over an hour of material to choose from, Singh admits he really didn’t know what he was going to do until three minutes before going onstage. He decided to open with a joke on serial killers. Recalls Singh, “A lot of people were saying, ‘You might not want to open with that, friend.’ I was like, ‘Listen, we’re either going down in flames or we’re getting a standing ovation! Luckily, the latter happened!”

The AGT judges initially seemed unsure of how to respond to Singh’s edgy humor, but the 36-year-old soon had them laughing up a storm. “When you’re on stage, the crowds are there, but all you see are four people staring at you. Howie carried me through the set. He was laughing the whole time, and that got the other judges into it.”

Singh was happy to be given the chance to plug Fremont in his pre-performance video. “It’s an insane process,” says Singh. “You get there, they do a bunch of interviews and take bunch of photos. They only have a day to put up a whole package, and they do this with every single person! They asked me, ‘Where are you from?’ I replied, ‘Fremont, California’. They were like, ‘Where’s that? Bay Area?’ I said, ‘No, it’s Fremont, California. We’re not doing ‘Bay Area’ or ‘East Bay.’ We’re doing Fremont, California, Buddy.”

Singh is proud to represent Fremont, the city he’s called home for the past 20+ years, and does so at every opportunity. “It’s my favorite thing to do!” he beams. He attended Horner Middle School, Mission San Jose High School, and spent some time at Ohlone College. While he also has a place in Echo Park that has enabled him to be closer to the LA comedy scene, his mother still lives in Fremont and he spends as much time with her as possible. After all, she’s his biggest fan.

Sadly, Singh’s father passed away in 2010, just as his career in comedy began to take off. Says Singh, “He was very supportive, and I’m glad he got to see me doing what I love. He used to drive me to a lot of my shows early on. I remember him passing out my business cards to all of the nurses at the hospital. How cool is that?”

Singh’s older sisters, Malini and Sonya, have also been very supportive of his antics. Malini heads the Department of Emergency Medicine at Zuckerberg Hospital in San Francisco, and Sonya is a public defender in Orange County. “They’re doing alright, I guess,” jokes Singh. “But I’m going to bury both of them with my stand-up career!”

In Fremont’s Got Talent: Part II, we’ll look at Singh’s childhood and explore what made him want to become a stand-up comedian. We’ll look at the lucky breaks in his career, his mentors, and his early experiences at local comedy clubs. And he’ll talk about how he survived the pandemic and what his goals are for the future.

Kabir Singh

Upcoming Shows:

Friday, Aug 13, – Saturday, Aug 14
Alameda Comedy Club
2431 Central Ave, Alameda
(510) 318-1538

Thursday, Aug 19
Kirby’s Sports Bar
42312 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 657-9060

Friday, Aug 20
Orinda Theater
4 Orinda Theatre Square, Orinda
(925) 254-9060

Sunday, Aug 29
San Jose Improv
62 South 2nd St., San Jose
(408) 280-7475

Fremont City Council
July 13, 2021

• Presentation and discussion of Southern Alameda County Regional Rail Transit Integration Study to explore the potential for connecting ACE to BART in the Fremont area.

Consent Calendar:
• Execute a cooperative purchase agreement with H-GACBuy and authorize purchase of fire apparatus
• Approve Washington Boulevard/Osgood Road Intersection Safety Improvements Project; Award Contract to Golden Bay Construction, Inc. in the amount of $848,907 (plus 10% Contingency).
• Update on the completion of the Age Well Center located at 47111 Mission Falls Court in Warm Springs/South Fremont.

Public Communications:
• Alternative energy considerations.
• Discussion of de jure form of government. Conversation will start August 30. For more information, visit: www.dejure4sure.com

Items Removed from Consent Calendar:
• Award contract to Chrisp Company in the amount of $498,770.75 (plus 10% Contingency) for the Year 3 Bikeway Improvements Project. Concern expressed about narrowing Paseo Padre Parkway to two-lanes between Washington Boulevard and Driscoll Road. This is one project of 12 and can be separated from contract. Need more community input and exploration of other mitigation measures and consequences. Motion to approve contract except for project between Washington and Driscoll. PASSED 6-1 (Nay, Kassen)

Scheduled Items:
• Confirm the diagrams and assessments for Fremont Landscaping Assessment District 88. 5-0-2 (Recuse: Mei, Salwan)
• Update certain recreation services facility use and service fees and amend Recreation Facility Use Policy.

Other Business:
• Information and presentation overview of upcoming City of Fremont Redistricting Process reflecting 2020 Census data. Adoption deadline April 17, 2022 for November 8, 2022 election. Website: redistrictfremont.org/

Mayor Lily Mei Aye, 1 recuse
Vice Mayor Yang Shao, District 4 Aye
Teresa Keng, District 1 Aye
Rick Jones, District 2 Aye
Jenny Kassan, District 3 Aye, 1 nay
Raj Salwan, District 5 Aye, 1 recuse
Teresa Cox, District 6 Aye

Swalwell bills address pandemics as national security threats
Submitted by Josh Richman

WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) has introduced two bills to better prepare the federal government to treat pandemics like COVID-19 as national security threats.

The National Security Council Modernization Act of 2021 would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services a seat on the National Security Council (NSC), while also strengthening the council against the possibility of presidential politicization. The Biosecurity Information Optimization for Defense (BIO Defense) Act of 2021 would strengthen the National Biodefense Strategy (NBS) so we can better prepare and respond as well as combat health misinformation. Both bills were introduced July 16.

“COVID-19 must be seen as a wake-up call for the national security threats posed by major pandemics,” Swalwell said. “Infectious disease outbreaks bring not only human suffering but also massive economic losses, and political instability — especially if outbreaks are serious enough to overwhelm our health care system, drain the workforce, and interrupt supply chains, which clearly puts our national security at risk.”

The measure would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services, whose department oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other disease surveillance agencies, a seat on the NSC. This would ensure that emerging public health threats are evaluated as potential national security threats, and would provide a readily-available forum for the Secretary to share information on such diseases with national security-oriented departments such as the Department of Defense.

The bill also strengthens the NSC by permanently seating the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence, and by allowing only Senate-confirmed officers of the United States to serve as full members — thus limiting the president’s ability to politicize the NSC.

The BIO Defense Act would improve the NBS, a bipartisan plan enacted in 2016 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, by formalizing a National Biodefense Directorate including the Vice President and department secretaries. This entity would be required to meet regularly, hire staff, and establish uniform data collection methods so it can continually update the NBS to address the national security risks posed by pandemics.

Importantly, the bill would require the Directorate to develop a National Strategy Combating Biodefense Misinformation to make sure the federal government is prepared to get the best-available public health information to the American people quickly and effectively in times of crisis. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on July 15 declared pandemic misinformation “an urgent threat to public health.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that public health misinformation — particularly on social media — can jeopardize America’s response to biological threats, unnecessarily putting people in harm’s way,” Swalwell said. “Knowledge is power during a pandemic, and government must actively promote fact-based information — while actively debunking and preventing the spread of lies, be they deliberate or panic-induced — to save lives.”

Union City City Council
July 13, 2021

Proclamations and presentations:
• Presentation from State Senator Bob Wieckowski on 2021 Legislation.

Oral Communication:
• Report from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee of the Human Relations Commission.
• Issues with illegal fireworks in the community.
• Traffic safety concerns in the area of Colgate and Sherman drives.

Consent Calendar
• Approve the minutes of the regular City Council meeting held on June 22, 2021.
• Adopt a resolution to open the process for accepting applications for commercial cannabis permits and approving the procedures to govern the manner in which the City Council will determine the most qualified applicant(s) to receive permit(s).
• Adopt a resolution authorizing the fourth amendment to the consulting services agreement between the City of Union City and HdL Companies for a total amount not to exceed $93,500.
• Adopt a resolution authorizing contract amendment No. 1 with Bay Area Tree Specialists for the Tree Pruning and Removal Project, increasing the contract price by $360,000.
• Adopt a resolution establishing signatory authorizations for cash or deposit with Fremont Bank and authorization to transfer funds using online banking.
• Adopt a resolution authorizing the investments of monies in the State of California Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF).
• Adopt a resolution for awarding a five-year contract with Axon not to exceed $1,332,280.
• Adopt a resolution authorizing an amendment to the authorized position list of the Biennial Operating Budget to authorize one additional Associate Planner position.
• Adopt (1) a resolution to the City Council approving the annual report for the Union Landing Property and Business Improvement District (PBID) for the Fiscal Year 2021/2022, and (2) adopt a resolution to order the levy and collection of assessments for the Union Landing Property and Improvement District (PBID) for the Fiscal Year 2021/2022.
• Second reading and adoption of ordinance of the City Council amending Chapter 18.39, Union Landing Commercial (CUL) District, of the Municipal Code, to update and expand the list of permitted and conditionally permitted uses, related updates to development type descriptions, and additional miscellaneous updates.

Public Hearing
• Presentation and public comment introducing an ordinance to adopt a development agreement for the Seven Hills Estates Subdivision project. Motion unanimously adopted.

City Manager Report:
• Update on California Transportation Commission action conveying Caltrans Gateway Property to Union City and the next steps to secure a housing developer.

Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci Aye
Vice Mayor Pat Gacoscos Aye
Emily Duncan Aye
Jaime Patiño Aye
Gary Singh Aye

Garden-Fresh Vegetables Help Fight Cancer
By Melinda Myers
Photos Courtesy of MelindaMyers.com

Cancer prevention starts on your dinner plate; actually, it starts in the garden. Growing your own nutrient-rich cancer fighting vegetables allows you to grow pesticide-free vegetables, harvest them at their peak, and use them right away, ensuring the highest nutrient value and best flavor.

Be sure to include some broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnip greens. These cruciferous vegetables release cancer fighting substances that help fend off lung, breast, liver, colon, and prostate cancer. Three weekly servings of these vegetables can greatly reduce your cancer risk. Include these vegetables in your stir fries, as a side dish, as an appetizer or eat them fresh as a snack.

If your space is limited, these plants can easily blend into your current garden space. The bold texture and form of red cabbage makes an eye-catching focal point. Turnips can easily be mixed with flowers or planted between longer season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Mix some kale in with your flowers; the color and upright growth habit creates a nice vertical accent in the garden or containers.

Another popular vegetable that is a cancer-fighter, tomato, can easily be grown on any size balcony or landscape. And nothing beats the flavor of fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. Whether eaten fresh, juiced, sauced, or added to your favorite dish, this lycopene vegetable (a powerful antioxidant) will help in the fight against cancer.

To grow tomatoes, all you need is a container of potting mix or a sunny spot in your landscape. Save space and reduce pest problems by growing these vines on a stake, in a tomato cage or supported by any decorative structure. Compact varieties like Patio Choice Yellow Cherry, Early Girl Bush, Window Box Roma, and Red Robin are just a few you may want to try. Always select a tomato variety suited to your growing conditions. Check the plant tag to make sure you have enough warm frost-free days for the plant to grow and produce in your area.

Include fiber rich beans in your garden and meals. Regular consumption of this natural source of antioxidants and phytochemicals can help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Go vertical, growing pole beans on a support if space is limited and for making harvesting much easier.

Save a bit of room for red onions. Research at the University of Guelph found red onions had high levels of quercetin and anthocyanins that help fight cancer. Start onions from sets or plants and harvest when the bulbs are full-size, and the tops begin to yellow and topple.

Not only will you improve your health by growing your own nutrient-rich vegetables but also your well-being. Tending a garden can help improve your mood and reduce stress.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website is www.melindamyers.com.

It’s A Date


Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Parenting During COVID R
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Virtual support group to help families cope with challenges encountered during COVID
To register: www.fremont.gov/3060/Caregiver-Support
(510) 574-2100

Free Virtual Sing-Along
7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Zoom choir meeting hosted by Mission Peak Chamber Singers
Contact: info@chambersingers.org

Practice Your Spoken English
4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Talk with native English speakers about everyday topics in a friendly, welcoming setting
Via Zoom

Niles Street Eats
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Food trucks
Niles Town Plaza
37592 Niles Blvd., Fremont

First Presbyterian Church of Newark Virtual Youth Group
7 p.m.
Youth and young adults, students welcome
Contact: brian@newarkpress.org for Zoom Meeting ID#

San Lorenzo Street Eats
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Food trucks
500 Via Mercado, San Lorenzo

Castro Valley Street Eats
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Food trucks and live music – support The Chabot Theater
Parking lot behind Trader Joe’s
2490 Grove Way, Castro Valley

Virtual Telescope Viewing R
9:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Free on Facebook Live
Join resident astronomers live from Chabot’s observation deck

Online Comedy Shows R$
8 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Made Up Theatre’s interactive comedy has gone to YouTube!

Online Comedy Shows

Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church Family Service
10 a.m.
For link, call (510) 471-2581

First Presbyterian Church of Newark Worship Services
9:30 a.m.; Worship Service In-Person or Online
35450 Newark Blvd., Newark

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church Service
10 a.m.
In person or via Zoom
2791 Driscoll Road, Fremont

Third Thursday each month
Chronic Pain Support Group
12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m.
Request link: njordan@fremont.gov

Thursday, March 18 – Monday September 6
Immersive Van Gogh
9 a.m. – 11 p.m. (times vary)
Walk-in exhibit with digital projections and music
SVN West San Francisco
10 South Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
Tickets: $24.99 – $39.99

Sundays, May 30 – July 25
“Travel Without Leaving Town” Film Series
3 p.m.
July 25 : Frida: Viva la Vida
$15 regular/$10 students to age 21
Bankhead Theater
2400 First St., Livermore
(925) 373-6800

Sundays, June 27 – August 15
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
12 noon – 1:30 p.m.
Afternoon discussion – change frustrating conversations into better ones!
In person or via Zoom
2791 Driscoll Rd., Fremont
(510) 490-0553


Tuesday, July 6 – Saturday, July 31
Silent No More: A history of anti-Asian discrimination
Mixed media art exhibit by Chinese-American artist Cathy Quon
Castro Valley Library
3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley
(510) 667-7900

Thursday, July 8 – Sunday, October 3
Olive Hyde Art Guild Members Juried Show
Virtual juried show of local artists
Virtual exhibit: https://www.fremont.gov/3871/2021-Exhibition-Calendar
In-person Gallery Dates: July 29 – October 3
Thursday – Sunday, 12 noon – 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 22 – Thursday, August 19
Central Park Summer Concert Series
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Presented by Washington Hospital, Lanner USA, and Fremont Bank
Concert Schedule:
July 22 – Ronstadt Revival (Linda Ronstandt tribute)
July 29 – Carnaval (Santana tribute)
August 5 – Journey Revisited (Journey tribute)
August 12 – David Martin’s House Party (Premier Party Band)
August 19 – East Bay Mudd (R&B hits)
Central Park Performance Pavilion
40204 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont

Friday, July 16 – Sunday, August 8
The Four Poster $R
Fri/Sat: 8 p.m.; Sun: 6 p.m.
Streaming available anytime
Two-person play chronicling a couple’s married life
Castro Valley Community Theatre
3683 Quail Ave., Castro Valley
(510) 733-5483

Chanticleers Theatre

Mondays – Saturdays
Grab & Go Craft Kits
Fremont Main Library, Centerville Library, Union City Library
Check library for hours
Crafts are a fun way to let kids be creative

Tuesdays and Thursdays in July
Music For Minors II Preschool Music Program $
10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Preschool age distance learning and sing-a-longs
Via Zoom

Second Saturdays, July – December
Talkin’ Dirt
8/14, 9/11, 10/9, 11/13, 12/11
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Free webinar on gardening, hosted by LEAF
Via Zoom

Fridays, August 6 and August 20
Music at the Grove
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
August 6: Big Bang Beat
August 20: Cisco Kid
Gates open at 4 p.m. – bring a low-back chair or blanket and enjoy the sounds of summer
Shirley Sisk Grove
Cedar Blvd at Newpark Mall, Newark


Tuesday, July 20
7 o’clock Rocks!
7 p.m.
Join Groovy Judy live as she plays some rockin’ tunes

Wednesday, July 21
Export Business: Getting Paid
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Learn about your options for getting paid when running an export business. Free webinar by the SBDC.

Wednesday, July 21
Biking After Dark
6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Fun online workshop taught by Bike East Bay
Register at https://bit.ly/3hGKb08
(510) 745-1400

Wednesday, July 21
Bay Area Air Quality Management District Public Hearing
8:30 a.m.
Particulate emissions from refinery fluidized catalytic cracking units
Via Zoom

Wednesday, July 21
COVID-19 Pop-up Vaccination Clinic
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Bring ID and wear a mask
Pre-register online at https://myturn.ca.gov/
San Leandro Senior Center
13909 East 14th St., San Leandro
(510) 347-4620

Wednesday, July 21 – Thursday, July 22
iPhone Training
2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Free online training – 2-day class
(510) 790-6602

Thursday, July 22
Small Business, Innovation, and the New Normal
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Understanding your current business scenario. Free webinar by the SBDC.

Thursday, July 22
COVID-19 Vaccinations
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Bay Area Community Health offers free vaccine and testing
Mission San Jose High School
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont

Friday, July 23
Latino Business Roundtable
9 a.m.
La Familia Counseling Service CEO Aaron Ortiz presents
Via Zoom: https://bit.ly/3xn5321
Meeting ID: 827 9395 8686
Passcode: 121713

Friday, July 23
Abominable R$
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Outdoor family movie night—popcorn will be delivered to your space!
Cardoza Park
1525 Kennedy Dr., Milpitas

Friday, Jul 23 – Sunday, Jul 25
Broncho Billy & Friends Silent Film Festival
Various times
Film selections and Zoom meetings on Niles Essanay film studio

Saturday, July 24
Sunset Science $
6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Evening of activities and stargazing
Chabot Observation Deck
10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland
(510) 336-7300

Saturday, July 24
Hayward Neighborhood Cleanup
8 a.m. – 12 noon
Help make the neighborhood beautiful – enter to win a $20 Starbucks or $25 Metro Taquero card. (Please bring your mask.)
Mission Blvd & D St., Hayward
(510) 881-7745

Saturday, July 24
Free COVID-19 Pop-Up Clinic
9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Receive a free COVID-19 vaccine and a one-day family pass to the Oakland Zoo
Oakland Zoo
Pre-register at https://bit.ly/2VHTVyI

Saturday, Jul 24 – Monday, Jul 26
Stage 1 Theatre Virtual Gala
Starts Sat; 7 p.m.
Support Stage 1 and learn about their upcoming season

Purchase Tickets

Tickets: $50-150

Sunday, Jul 25
Walk with Fremont Councilmember Raj Salwan
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Sabercat Historical Park
Quema Dr. & Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont

Sunday, July 25
Opera in the Vineyard $
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Unique performances of opera arias, show tunes and maybe even a little cabaret
Retzlaff Vineyards
1356 South Livermore Ave., Livermore

Sunday, Jul 25
Halal Food Truck Festival
3:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Halal food for purchase from El Halal Amigos, Halal Bites of Chicago, and Golnazar Ice Cream
MCC back parking lot
5724 W. Las Positas Blvd Ste 300, Pleasanton
Facebook: @MCCPleasanton

Sunday, July 25
My Bollywood Jukebox $R
6 p.m.
Lose yourself in the romance of Bollywood songs and dancing
Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University
351 Lasuen St., Palo Alto

Tuesday, July 27
Free drive-through COVID-19 vaccine
12 noon
For Ohlone College students, faculty, staff, and the community
Fremont Campus, Lot H
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
Go to https://bach.health/vaccine/ to register

Tuesday, July 27
Improve Your Credit
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Learn how to improve your credit from financial coaches at SparkPoint Fremont
Register at https://conta.cc/2T0i5ne
(510) 745-1400

Thursday, July 29
Financial Management for Small Businesses
12 noon – 1:30 p.m.
Learn about key concepts in financial management. Free webinar by the SBDC.

Saturday, July 31
Brunch for the Wild Bunch $
9 a.m. – 12 noon
Go behind the scenes and help feed the animals
Oakland Zoo
9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland
(510) 632-9525

Tuesday, August 3
Manage Your Debt and Expenses
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Learn how to manage your debt in this online class, hosted by SparkPoint Fremont
Register at https://conta.cc/3xtWEde
(510) 745-1400

Wednesday, August 4
Minority-Owned Small Business Resources
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Resources, info, and links to assist minorities. Free webinar by the SBDC.

Friday, August 6
Olive Hyde Art Guild Reception
7 p.m.
Mingle, meet local artists, and enjoy artwork in person!
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont

Thursday, August 12
Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences
9 a.m. – 12 noon
Interactive discussion with nationally-recognized experts
Register at Bach.health/ACEs
40910 Fremont Blvd., Fremont

Saturday, August 14
How to become a Self-Published Author
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Online art demo by local writer Luanna K. Leisure
Email artinccv@gmail.com to register

Saturday, August 14
Davis Street Annual Health Fair
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
3081 Teagarden St., San Leandro
(510) 347-4620

Saturday, August 14
8th Annual Larry “O” Car Show
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Classic cars, raffles and prizes, bbq, live music, family activities
Ruggieri Senior Center
33997 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City
(510) 675-5492

Thursday, August 19
Downtown Hayward Street Party
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Classic car show, food, beer, wine, live music, family fun
Downtown Hayward
B Street from Foothill to Watkins
(510) 537-2424

Friday, August 20
Harry Potter Movie Nights R
Half Blood Prince
Gates open 7:30 – Movie starts at dusk
Drive in movie night
Lone Tree Cemetery
24591 Fairview Ave., Hayward
RSVP to: (510) 582-1274

Lone Tree Cemetery Home

Saturday, August 21
Hot August Night on the Rails $
7:30 p.m.
Ride through the canyon on a beautiful summer night
Sunol Depot departure
6 Kilkare Rd., Sunol

Sunday, August 22
Mariachi Festival
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Mariachi bands, ballet folkloric performances, food, beverages, community resources
Shirley Sisk Grove
Cedar Blvd at Newpark Mall, Newark

Friday, August 27
Raya and the Last Dragon R$
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Outdoor family movie night—popcorn will be delivered to your space!
Sunnyhills Albert Augustine Park, Milpitas

Honor Roll

Clark University, Massachusetts
Spring 2021 graduate
• Whitney R. Caouette of Castro Valley

Emerson College, Massachusetts
Spring 2021 Dean’s List
• Aayush Bajpai of Fremont
• Ananya Dutta of Fremont

Wheaton College, Illinois
Spring 2021 Dean’s List
• Sarah Kwan of Newark
• Lucy Henneker of Castro Valley
• Estelle Rios of Newark

Active Fremont: Walk, Bike, Hike
Submitted by the City of Fremont

Join our new health and wellness campaign—Active Fremont: Walk, Bike, Hike, in partnership with Washington Hospital, East Bay Regional Park District, Regional Parks Foundation; and the City of Fremont.

One of our strategic objectives is to help families and youth be active this summer and be ready to walk or bike to school in the fall. So, whether you are 8 or 80, Active Fremont: Walk, Bike, Hike welcomes everyone!

Join a hosted walk in your local Fremont community by a City Official! Open for all ages and there will be fun surprise giveaways!

Sign up here: https://bit.ly/2VS3A63

July 21
6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Vice Mayor Yang Shao
Central Park/Lake Elizabeth

July 25
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Councilmember Raj Salwan
Sabercat Historical Park

August 6
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Councilmember Jenny Kassan
Azeveda Park

August 28
10 a.m. – 12 noon
Councilmember Teresa Cox
Irvington Park

Accessible Outings
Submitted by Twesha Ghosh

An accessible outing in Alvarado & Niles
As the summer starts, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors, especially when most people are vaccinated and Covid cases have also declined. Parks and recreation areas are reopening. Downtowns and Old Towns are also open for business. As we have a wheelchair user in the family, we try to explore places that are wheelchair friendly. This summer we decided to visit some historic places in the Tri-City area. We were surprised to know about the hidden history of Alvarado Niles Road. Driving along, we realized that this is one of the city’s largest streets, connecting the Niles District in Fremont to Alvarado District in Union City.

Alvarado Historic District
Alvarado Historic District is a quaint little old town on the west side of Union City near the intersection of Smith Street and Union City Boulevard. The signature attraction is the beautiful and picturesque gazebo of Old Alvarado Park. Smith Street is very inviting for pedestrians, and it’s wheelchair-friendly. You can stroll around the quaint neighborhood clicking beautiful pictures in front of the gazebo and hang out at Cesar Chavez Park. The Union City historical museum on Smith Street talks about the cultural, natural, and historical heritage of the city, and is completely wheelchair accessible. There are a few cafes and eateries where you can grab a bite. This place has year-round weekend events like farmers’ markets, art shows, and Friday night Jazz bands.

Wheelchair accessibility
• There are ADA parking spaces on Old Alvarado Public Plaza.
• The gazebo is not wheelchair accessible.
• There is access to Caesar Chavez Park from Randal Court too.
• There are a few wheelchair-accessible restrooms in Cesar Chavez Park.
• Union City Historical Park is fully wheelchair accessible.

The historic town of Niles
The historic town of Niles is a completely accessible beautiful little town with a unique character of its own. This town is almost frozen in time trying to hold its place next to the ultra-modern Silicon Valley. Strolling around this little town will remind you of old America of the 1930s and ’40s. As you walk around you will find American flags on every corner. The town of Niles is filled with incredible history. Charlie Chaplin started his career from this place years before Hollywood was formed. There is a silent film museum right on the street which has exhibits, screenings, and events to maintain the tradition.

This place is completely wheelchair accessible and easy to navigate. There is an ice cream shop, a donut place, and the famous Bronco Billy’s Pizza. You can grab a bite and enjoy a relaxing stroll or drive down the old town. You can do some shopping at the Antique shops and The American Trading Post. Don’t forget to click a picture with the Charlie Chaplin standing on the street and the Old Tram.

Wheelchair accessibility
• The entire area is wheelchair accessible
• There are ADA parking spaces at Niles Town Plaza
• The Old Tram has a few steps, so you can only take pictures standing in front of the Tram
• There are accessible restrooms in Niles Community Park.

Animals OK after shelter flooding
Submitted by Hayward Police Department

Hayward Animal Shelter workers recently jumped into action to protect animals inside the building after a broken sprinkler head flooded the shelter’s pet adoption floor along with several kennels holding stray and surrendered dogs.

The sprinkler head burst on Sunday, July 11 with water caving in on some of the building’s inside ceiling tiles and leaking to the floor. Portions of the shelter’s administrative offices also were affected. Workers shut the water off and immediately moved all animals out of the affected areas. No people or animals were injured, and the situation was contained by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, several areas of the shelter were closed for repairs in the days following the flooding. This forced the shelter to limit new arrivals to only sick, injured or aggressive animals. Shelter officials asked the public to hold onto friendly, healthy or lost animals that they may find and try to locate the owner. Officials also reminded the public that reports about missing or lost pets can always be filed on the shelter’s website at www.haywardanimals.org. Animals can also be brought into the shelter to be scanned to see if they have microchip identification.

Despite the interruption, the shelter remained open and continued to provide community field services. Limited services also were offered to customers outside the building, located at 16 Barnes Court near Soto Road and Jackson Street.

In a memo released July 12, shelter officials expressed their appreciation to their adoption partners and shelters for their assistance in moving and sheltering some of the displaced animals. They also emphasized that the shelter still has many animals in need of homes. To view animals currently available for adoption, people can visit www.haywardanimals.org. Adoption applications also can be completed and submitted online. For details, including updates shelter repairs, call (408) 293-7200 or send an email to animal.services@hayward-ca.gov.

Aqua Adventure Family Fridays
Submitted by The City of Fremont

Beat the heat this summer at Aqua Adventure Waterpark. Family Fridays are back and better than ever! Join us on August 6 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Family Friday admission is $12 and $4 for kids under 3. Please note, same day tickets are available in limited quantities at the gate.

Tickets can be purchased online up to one-day in advance.

CBC Donation
Submitted by City of Fremont Human Services

In April, Citizens for Better Community (CBC) held its 28th Annual Spring Celebration. CBCs spring celebration brings the community together with entertainment, celebrates two honorees for their community service, and raises funds to support local nonprofits/CBO’s. This year's beneficiaries were City of Fremont-Clean Start Mobile Hygiene Unit and Mental Health association for Chinese Community. On Thursday, July 8, CBC presented CleanStart with a check for $5,000.

Learn more about CBC and the Clean Start Mobile Hygiene Unit at:

Code Ninjas center focuses on building video games, robotics, drones
Submitted by Mia Rusch

Say the words, “video game” and your kids are bound to stop and listen. The local owners of a new Code Ninjas, a learning center that opened July 17 at 61 Fremont Hub Courtyard, know that video games aren’t only fun, but educational. Code Ninjas will serve the local area by teaching children computer coding and problem solving skills while having fun building video games.

The Fremont location is owned and operated by Francis Ho. By working in the technology industry for more than 15 years, Francis has gained confidence in his work by excelling in software development and coding. Francis is eager to bring a new Code Ninjas center to his local community. With the support of his wife and two daughters, Francis is looking forward to teaching kids in Fremont the benefits of STEM education in a fun and interactive way.

“My interest in Code Ninjas has to do with the brand’s mission to provide a fun, safe, and inspiring environment for kids to learn coding. This is a great way for them to explore different fields at an early age and help develop their critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills,” said Francis.

For more information about the Fremont Code Ninjas location, visit https://www.codeninjas.com/ca-central-fremont or call (510)894-2092.

County Education leaders re-elected
Submitted by Alameda County Board of Education

At their regular July 13 meeting, members of the Alameda County Board of Education re-appointed longtime trustee Aisha Knowles as Board President and Eileen McDonald as Vice-President for the 2021-22 academic year.

“President Knowles' service to this board is a testament to her passion for our education and I look forward to working with her again in this role,” said Superintendent L. K. Monroe. “This board is to be applauded for its flexibility and commitment during the last year in maintaining their focus on our students.”

Knowles has served as a trustee since 2012, representing Area 4, which includes San Leandro, the western portion of Dublin, and the unincorporated communities of San Lorenzo, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland (northern portion), Fairview (northern portion) and Hayward Acres. She is the founding representative of the Alameda County Board of Education's advisory position on Countywide Events and Charter Schools.

McDonald has served on the board since 2004 and was elected to her fourth four-year term in 2020. She represents Area 6, which includes Newark and the northern and western portions of Fremont.

“During a challenging year, I am proud of the way our board came together and persevered to serve our students and schools,” said Knowles. “I appreciate the hard work of my fellow trustees and ACOE staff to keep us moving forward and I am honored that my colleagues have chosen to re-elect me for a second term.”

Find more information about the Alameda County Board of Education by visiting their website at www.acoe.org/board.

Fremont Symphony Brings Down the House in Union City
Submitted by Penny Vittoria

This month, Acacia Creek Senior Living Community in the hills of Union City held a Rat Pack inspired, black-tie Summer gala for residents. Champagne cocktails were served before residents entered the dining room which had been transformed into a 1950s-inspired supper club, complete with elegant feather centerpieces. The event celebrated the community’s ability to gather together for the first time after 15 months of COVID-19 restrictions.

Over the past few years, Acacia Creek has formed a unique partnership with Fremont Symphony. Since the musicians missed out on a full year of concerts, they offered a unique opportunity for world class entertainers fill the void of not having musical entertainment for over a year at Acacia Creek. Fremont Symphony’s artistic director and conductor, Jung Ho Pak introduced the stars of the show, the musical duo “The Kings of Soul and Swing”; Julius Thomas III, who stars in the Broadway mega hit, Hamilton, and Mark R. Koitzke, front man of the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s international contingent. The duo was backed by ten musicians from Fremont Symphony. They brought down the house performing musical standards as well as a hit from Hamilton.

Acacia Creek residents and waitstaff were moved to dance to the big band sounds throughout the performance. This lively night of food and drink, top-notch music and dancing will not soon be forgotten!

Acacia Creek
34400-A Mission Blvd., Union City
(877) 902-7555

Eid Festival features Halal food trucks
Submitted by MCC East Bay

Halal Fest and MCC (Muslim Community Center) invite the community to our Halal Food Truck Festival on Sunday, July 25. Your Zabiha Halal food options available for purchase are: El Halal Amigos (Mexican), Halal Bites of Chicago (Mediterranean) and Golnazar Ice Cream (Persian).

The food trucks, as well as a free bouncy house for children, will be stationed in MCC’s back parking lot. Seating is available under canopies. Bring your family for great food and fun at MCC and celebrate Eid Al-Adha in community.

Sponsored by Halal Food Festival & MCC. Questions? Email events@mcceastbay.org.

Halal Food Truck Festival
Sunday, Jul 25
3:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
MCC back parking lot
5724 W. Las Positas Blvd Ste 300, Pleasanton
Facebook: @MCCPleasanton

Hayward Neighborhood Cleanup
Submitted by City of Hayward

On Saturday, July 24, the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force welcomes back its series of community clean-up and beautification events, which were sidelined in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inaugural Keep Hayward Clean and Green clean-up event of 2021 will take place Saturday, July 24, from 8 a.m. to noon, starting at Giuliani Plaza at Mission Boulevard and D Streets in downtown Hayward. Stop by, pitch in and enter for a chance to win a $20 gift card to Starbucks and a $25 gift card to Metro Taquero. Masks or face-coverings are required—participants are requested to bring their own.

The event-sponsoring Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force was formed by the City Council in 2007. Its mission is to improve the environment and enhance the visual appearance of the City of Hayward through the joint efforts of individuals, volunteer groups, businesses and municipal resources.

For more information and to register in advance, go to https://khcg-jul-2021.eventbrite.com or call (510) 881-7745. Advance registration is encouraged but not required.

Hayward Neighborhood Cleanup
Saturday, Jul 24
8 a.m. – 12 noon
Mission Blvd & D St., Hayward
(510) 881-7745

Music, love and friendship shared in Castro Valley
Article and photos submitted by Jenny Lin Foundation

Volunteers and musicians from the Jenny Lin Foundation attended the recent grand opening of the Castro Valley Marketplace to help spread Jenny’s love of friendship and music to the community.

While volunteers distributed child safety information, string musicians from the “Quartet 4 Jenny” performed during festivities on Sunday, July 11. The new venue is in the old Daughtrey’s Building at 3295 Castro Valley Blvd.

The ensemble performed again in the evening at a private concert at the venue’s upper-level collaboration space to entertain and thank supporters of the Foundation. During the event, officials announced that the Jenny Lin summer music program — in partnership with the Castro Valley Unified School District — will return in 2022 following a two-year hiatus.

Established in 1994 following the unsolved murder of 14-year-old Jenny Lin at her Castro Valley home, Jenny Lin Foundation embraces the mission to promote child safety and youth music education, as well as to raise awareness of the case. The Foundation continues to rely on the support of the community, and looks forward to welcoming young musicians to its program next summer.

More information is available on the Jenny Line Foundation website at jennylinfoundation.org.

News and notes from around the world
Submitted by The Association of Mature American Citizens

Book returned three centuries overdue
It’s not unusual these days to see reports of library books being returned years and even decades late, but a church library in Sheffield, England boasts the return of a book that has been overdue for some 300 years.

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] reports the book was returned recently with a note of apology. Rev. Canon Keith Farrow, vice dean at Sheffield Cathedral, confirms that the book in question is a 1704 edition of The Faith and Practice of a Church of England Man. It turns out that it was found among the possessions of a deceased woman residing in Wales who left a note that the book should be returned to the church library upon her death. Farrow explains that back in the day when the Cathedral was just a church, it was well known for its lending library. He jokingly told reporters that “I’m trying to work out what the librarian’s fine would be — you never know, we might get a new roof or something with the fine! But I did promise the family I wouldn’t charge them the fine — they’ve returned the book and that’s wonderful.”

The high life
A new hotel in Shanghai, the J Hotel Shanghai Tower, promises a glamorous stay, but if you are acrophobic you may want to book elsewhere, reports AMAC. Its lobby is on the 101st floor of a skyscraper that reaches 2,073 feet in height. Oddly, the Shanghai Tower hotel might not be considered to be the tallest hotel in the world. Technically, the Gevora Hotel in Dubai still holds that title although it is just 1,169 feet high because the entire building is used as a hotel while the J Hotel takes up only the top floors of the Shanghai Tower.

Ship Ahoy!
Watch out if you are planning a golf outing in Chicago any time soon; your foursome might encounter a U.S. Navy destroyer crossing the fairway. Actually, it would be a golf cart decked out as a destroyer — specifically the USS Hollister, which saw service in the Pacific between 1946 and 1974. Greg Machak built the destroyer-cart as his entry in a contest that’s part of an annual charity event. He came up with the notion as a way to honor his uncle, 91-year-old Joe Vercellotti, who served as Chief Engineer on the Hollister.

— The Association of Mature American Citizens is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing membership in Washington, D.C. and in local congressional districts nationwide. More information is available on its website at www.amac.us.

California changes course on schools enforcing mask mandate
By Adam Beam, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), July 13 — After initially telling schools they must send students home if they refuse to wear masks indoors, California public health officials abruptly changed course and said districts will be able to decide how to enforce the mask mandate.

While California says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks in most public places, the state has different rules for schools. Last week, officials said students and staff at schools must continue to wear masks indoors at all times, even if they are fully vaccinated.

California officials released details of those new rules on July 12, including a requirement that schools “must exclude students from campus if they are not exempt from wearing a face covering under (the rules) and refuse to wear one provided by the school.”

The mask requirement and its enforcement reignited criticism of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is facing a recall election in September. But a few hours after releasing the rules, the state changed them. Masks are still required indoors at schools at all times, but now local districts can decide how to enforce that rule — something they have been doing throughout the pandemic.

The California Department of Public Health “put out updated guidance to ensure schools can continue enforcing the mask requirement as they have been doing for the past year,” Newsom spokesman Alex Stack said.

Troy Flint, spokesman for the California School Boards Association, said the updated rule “is a huge difference in terms of how districts would operate and how the public is going to receive this guidance.”

The rules could also force districts into some tough decisions. All California schools are required to resume in-person instruction when the school year starts. But a new law Newsom signed last week requires districts to let students complete their work at home if their parents or guardians say coming to school puts their health at risk.

The new rules requiring masks in public schools also says districts must let students complete their work at home if officials decide to bar them from school for refusing to wear masks.

“If you have a district that chooses to take a harder line on masking and a subset of parents that doesn't want to comply, the school is obligated to provide independent study in a really robust way that asks more of the district than has been done in the past,” Flint said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said teachers and students who are fully vaccinated don't have to wear masks indoors but recommended that students and staff stay at least 3 feet apart to reduce the spread of a disease that is primarily transmitted through the air.

State officials were worried that imposing social distancing would make it harder for some schools to accommodate all students. So, they made a choice: They won't require physical distancing in exchange for everyone wearing masks. The state plans to review the rules and possibly change them by November 1.

Newsom faced heavy criticism for not moving more quickly to return students to classrooms during the last school year. Many districts, including Los Angeles with more than 550,000 K-12 students, only instituted part-time, in-person instruction for the final weeks of the semester.

The mask requirement angered some parents who say children will have added stress after already having two school years upended through remote learning and missed milestones like proms, sports, concerts and graduations.

“We're continuing to put the burden of this pandemic on our children, and it needs to stop,” said Jonathan Zachreson, a father of three and founder of the group Reopen California Schools.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, said public schools should reconsider mask requirements once hospitalization rates fall below five per 100,000 people and at least two-thirds of adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. While those thresholds have been met in some parts of California, Gandhi called the new rules reasonable.

She said that while eliminating the physical distancing requirement is one of the best things the state can do to get kids back in classrooms, whether to require masks is a gray area because there is so little data about children.

“We've just got to get the kids back and then we can sort out those kinds of details,” Gandhi said.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a clinical professor of population and public health sciences at the University of Southern California, said the rules go too far and are not based on local data. He said its unreasonable “in a state of 40 million people, just to say everyone has to be the same.”

“I think they'd have better trust and credibility with Californians if they were a little more nuanced and smarter about it,” he said.

Stage 1 Theatre Virtual Gala
Submitted by Stage 1 Theatre

Celebrate our upcoming season at our first ever virtual gala! Hosted by talented multi-hyphenate, Gary Ferguson, the show will feature special performances, lots of prizes, and familiar personalities. All gala proceeds benefit Stage 1 Theatre’s efforts to bring live theater back to the stage.

The video will be available to view from Saturday, July 24 at 7 p.m. until Monday, July 26. There are several viewing tiers available, starting at Tier 1, which is $50 and includes five raffle tickets.

Stage 1 Theatre Virtual Gala
Saturday, Jul 24 – Monday, Jul 26

Purchase Tickets

Tickets: $50-150

Tri-City Band Corps wraps up year of distance learning
Submitted by TBC Officers

As a year of distance learning wraps up, Tri-City Band Corps has reached new heights with what it has accomplished.

In usual years, Tri-City Band Corps would partner with local restaurants and boba shops to host fundraisers, but this year, that opportunity was lost due to pandemic restrictions. Using their creativity, Tri-City Band Corps officers turned to different fundraising means. Recently, the organization held a balloon race fundraiser where individuals could purchase and design their own balloons through deciding the helium content, shape, and the rubber thickness. Evaluated through real weather data, the balloon that lasted the longest won. Chief Financial Officer Jessica Yu, said, “Pulling off this event was challenging in navigating the logistics, but it is incredibly rewarding to bring in funds to help better our program and increase access to music in our community.”

Furthermore, the organization has continued with their elementary band programs, finishing up with their year-end concert which can be found on TBC’s Youtube page. For those looking to join in the fun, the school year program is structured into three components: pre-recorded video lessons, instrument sectionals, and music theory quizzes. Each instrument has sectionals every week where an instrument specialist instructs small groups of students to learn how to play with others and build a sense of community. To supplement both forms of live instruction, students are able to follow along with recorded lessons to practice their skills at home with SmartMusic, an app that can track student performance and provide immediate feedback.

Tri-City Band Corps also offers a summer color guard program, a dancing component to marching bands with flags and rifles. Students of all experience levels, including those without any previous training, are welcome. There are three components: weekly video lessons with a TA, Google Classroom assignments, and weekly class meetings.

Both programs will be hybrid, and depending on COVID conditions, will transition from virtual to in person. The programs will tentatively run from September 12, 2021 to May 15, 2022. Signups for both programs start on July 15 and can be found at www.tricitybandcorps.org.

If you’re interested in volunteering for either program, participating as a student, donating, or getting involved as a student officer, please check out www.tricitybandcorps.org, or email tbc@tricitybandcorps.org with any questions.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Submitted by Bay Area Community Health

Join us in an interactive online discussion with several nationally-recognized experts on ACEs and the field of early childhood development, including Dr. Zettie Page (Bay Area Community Health Chief Executive Officer), Senator Dave Cortese (California Senate District 15), Dr. Sheshashree Seshadri (Bay Area Community Health Clinical Director for Pediatrics), and Moira O’Neil (Vice President of Research Interpretation at the FrameWorks Institute).

ACEs are traumatic experiences that can severely limit the social and emotional growth of someone, including episodes of domestic violence, or periods of living in quarantine, which can cause severe anxiety and depression in children and adults.

The Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Roy Wade, Assistant Professor Pediatrics University of Pennsylvania. Emcee Ella Sogomonian from KRON 4 will host.

Learn how to communicate, screen, treat and heal trauma associated with ACEs. Receive a free social media toolkit to educate your community about screening for ACEs.

Online link to zoom event will be given to those who register.

Register at https://bit.ly/3wMTMXN

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Thursday, August 12
9 a.m. – 12 noon
Via Zoom

Bay Area Community Health
40910 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 770-8040

Alameda County Fire Department Log
Submitted by ACFD

Tuesday, July 13
• At 11:08 p.m. firefighters and officers from San Leandro Police Department responded to 911 calls about a vehicle submerged in water after a collision at the San Leandro Marina. Witnesses reported screams were heard from the vehicle. With the vehicle submerged in eight feet of water, several officers and firefighters in rescue boats entered the water to locate the car and its single occupant. A female victim was recovered and taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. An investigation is ongoing.

BART Police Log
Submitted by Les Mensinger and BART PD

Sunday, July 11
• At 11:28 a.m. a man identified by police as Angelito Valdez, 25, of Antioch was arrested at Fremont station on a no bail warrant issued by the Department of Corrections for a parole violation. He was booked at Santa Rita Jail.

Monday, July 12
• At 5:30 a.m. a woman identified by police as Vanessa Jimenez, 29, of San Jose and a man identified by police as Ronnie Titus, 29, of Concord were arrested at Union City station. A record check showed Jimenez had $40,000 in warrants issued by San Jose Police for battery, petty theft and providing false identification to a police officer. Titus had a $50,000 no bail warrant issued by Sacramento Sheriff’s Office for a probation violation. A record check also showed warrants for receiving stolen property and theft issued by Pleasant Hill Police Department. Both were booked into Santa Rita Jail.

Wednesday, July 13
• At 10:45 p.m. a man identified by police as Tyrone Ratliff, 60, was arrested at Fremont station on suspicion of indecent exposure. He was booked into Santa Rita Jail and issued a prohibition order.

Stop catalytic converter thieves with these tips
Submitted by San Leandro PD

A recent surge of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles has left many San Leandro motorists inconvenienced and facing substantial costs to replace them. According to San Leandro Police Department (SLPD) officials, the city has seen a 65% increase in these thefts during the last year. They add that the problem isn’t unique to San Leandro but is a problem that is shared by cities throughout the Bay Area.

Catalytic converters, which are located between the engine and muffler of most cars manufactured after 1974, filter harmful emissions that would otherwise pollute the air. They contain precious metals like palladium, platinum and rhodium which thieves sell for scrap. Hybrid cars, SUVs, and trucks are often the vehicles most preferred by thieves, but almost any vehicle can be a target.

In an effort to curb the growing trend, SLPD officers are continually looking for suspicious actives in neighborhoods. In the early hours of Sunday, July 11, an officer made a vehicle stop near Washington Avenue and I-880, and with backup officers, ultimately located 16 cut catalytic converters, along with tools to cut those items in the vehicle. SLPD detectives are coordinating with other agencies to try locate the victims from these thefts.

Here are some tips to thwart catalytic converter theft compiled by the San Leandro Police Department:

• Park your car in a garage to ensure that access to your vehicle’s catalytic converter is more difficult.
• Try to park in a well-lit area near building entrances or near a busy road.
• Add video surveillance to the area where you regularly park.
• Engrave your Vehicle Identification Number on the catalytic converter, which may alert a recycling center that it was stolen.
• Install a catalytic converter specific security device on your car.
• Calibrate your car’s security system to activate when it detects vibrations, like from a saw.

If you see something suspicious report it to SLPD at (510) 577-2740.

DUI patrols, checkpoint planned in Hayward
Submitted by Sgt. Tasha DeCosta, Hayward PD

Hayward Police Department (HPD) will have additional officers on patrol throughout the city on Friday, July 23 who will be specifically looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Additionally, they will operate a DUI/driver license checkpoint at an undisclosed location in the city. Both operations will start at 7:00 p.m. and continue through 2:00 a.m. the next day.

DUI checkpoints and patrols are done in locations with a history of DUI-related collisions and arrests. During the checkpoint, officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment, with officers checking drivers for proper licensing.

According to 2018 statistics from the California Office of Public Safety, 1,069 people were killed on California roads in crashes involving drivers who had a blood alcohol content over the legal limit (.08 or above). Last year The Hayward Police Department investigated 21 DUI crashes that killed one person and injured 22 others.

HPD officials are reminding the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Prescription or over-the-counter medications with an operating heavy machinery warning on the label can also impair. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

Anyone that is planning on drinking or taking medications that can affect their ability to drive, should follow these precautions to avoid a DUI:

• Always use a designated sober driver — a friend who is not drinking, ride-share, cab or public transportation — to get home.
• Walking while impaired is also dangerous. Have someone sober walk you home or stay with you until a sober driver is available to pick you up.
• Report drunk drivers by calling 911.
• Hosting a party? Offer nonalcoholic drinks. Monitor who is drinking and how they are getting home.

A DUI charge is not cheap. Drivers charged with DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license and possible jail time. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fremont Police Log
Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD

Thursday, July 8
• At about 10:40 p.m. officers spotted a stolen vehicle in the area of Auto Mall Parkway and Grimmer Boulevard and made a high-risk vehicle stop. The occupant, identified by police as Kelsey Erwin, 36, of Fremont was arrested on suspicion of auto theft.

Friday, July 9
• At about 11:44 a.m. police were notified about a man starting a brush fire in the area of Mowry Avenue and State Street with a second fire soon starting nearby on Fremont Boulevard and State Street. Responding officers identified the suspect and sent the case to the District Attorney for charging.

Sunday, July 11
• A resident in the area of Armour Way in north Fremont returned to their home and saw a bullet hole in their window and notified police.

Monday, July 12
• At about 7:32 p.m. a man entered the Walgreens store at 2600 Mowry Ave. and jumped the counter, then pushed an employee and took several items and fled. Responding officers located the suspect, identified by police as Anthony Pablo, 22, and arrested him near the store.

Friday, July 16
• At 12:33 a.m. patrol officers responded to a report of a stabbing at a residence near the area of Paseo Padre Parkway and Fremont Boulevard. Upon arrival, they found an unconscious woman and a conscious man, both suffering from visible stab wounds. Officers attempted trauma care on the woman, but paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. The man sustained several serious injuries and was taken to a trauma center where he was stabilized. Officers determined the suspect was the 14-year-old son of the victims. A perimeter was set in the area, with mutual aid called in from Newark and Union City Police Departments. A short time later, police dispatchers received a call from a resident about a mile away reporting seeing a juvenile covered in blood. Officers rushed to the scene and safely detained the juvenile. Because of his age, the juvenile’s name is not being released. Detectives are working on the case and are asking that anyone with information that can help to call the FPD Investigative Unit at (510) 790-6900 or send an anonymous tip by texting TIP FREMONTPD followed by a message to 888-777, or via the web at https://local.nixle.com/tip/alert/6216337.

Hayward Police Log
Submitted by Hayward PD

Monday, July 5
• At 10:00 a.m. a female reported that her vehicle had been struck by what appeared to be a bullet or projectile near the 26000 block of Gamboa Street. Responding officers confirmed there was evidence of a shooting and processed evidence at the scene.

• At 7:42 p.m. officers conducting a security check near the 25000 block of Industrial Blvd. located an occupied stolen vehicle in a parking lot. The occupant was taken into custody and the vehicle recovered.

Tuesday, July 6
• At 1:00 a.m. officers conducting a security check near the 30000 block of Industrial Blvd. spotted a person pushing a motorcycle. A record check showed that the motorcycle was reported stolen. The person pushing it was taken into custody.

• At 1:08 a.m. a woman interrupted suspects removing the catalytic converter from her vehicle near the 22000 block of Valencia Place. One of the suspects brandished a handgun before fleeing the scene with the others.

Saturday, July 10
• At 7:15 a.m. a female reported that her vehicle and home had been struck by gunfire near the 22000 block of S. Garden Ave. Responding officers confirmed there was evidence of a shooting and processed evidence at the scene.

Milpitas Police Log
Submitted by Milpitas PD

Thursday, July 1
• At 11:47 p.m. officers responded to a report about a disturbance near the 400 block of Dixon Landing Road and arrested a 34-year-old Milpitas resident on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm and a 28-year-old Stockton resident on a felony warrant. Both were booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail.

Friday, July 2
• At 5:32 p.m. an officer contacted a 51-year-old Milpitas transient near the 450 block of S. Main St. A record check showed the suspect was on Butte County Probation for a weapons violation. The suspect was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail on a no bail felony warrant and for being in possession of methamphetamine.

Saturday, July 3
• At 1:46 a.m. an officer contacted a 44-year-old San Jose resident near the 450 block of S. Main St. A record check showed the suspect was on a post release community supervision from Fresno County for a narcotics violation. The suspect was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail on a felony probation violation warrant.

• At 1:23 p.m. an officer found a stolen Toyota Camry from San Jose near the 300 block of Ranch Dr. and arrested a 40-year-old Modesto resident. A criminal complaint was requested through the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office against the suspect for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Fremont records seven traffic fatalities this year
Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD

A 15-year-old Fremont male, injured in a traffic collision in Fremont on Sunday, July 4 has died, marking the seventh traffic fatality in the city during 2021, according to officials from the Fremont Police Department (FPD).

In a statement released July 14 police said the driver of the vehicle involved in the collision is cooperating and that while an investigation into the collision is ongoing, traffic officers do not believe the driver is criminally responsible and do not anticipate making any arrests.

“This is an incredibly tragic incident that occurred in our community earlier this month,” Fremont Chief of Police Kimberley Petersen said, “I have two teenagers myself, and I cannot imagine the grief and sorrow this young man’s family is experiencing. On behalf of the Fremont Police Department, I offer our deepest condolences to the young man’s family and friends.”

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact Traffic Investigator Jacob Shannon with the FPD Traffic Unit (510) 790-6765 or by email at jshannon@fremont.gov. Anonymous tips can be sent by text to: Tip FremontPD followed by a short message to 888777 or via the web at https://fremontpolice.gov/TIP.

Meanwhile, the victim of a fatal hit and-run collision on June 30 in the Centerville area died of his injuries on Wednesday, July 7, becoming the sixth traffic fatality in the city, according to FPD officials.

The victim, identified by police as Allen Kwok Keung Sham, 69, was walking west in the right lane of Peralta Boulevard between 10:15 and 10:25 p.m. when he was struck by a vehicle from behind. Video surveillance of the incident was provided to the investigators by a nearby business. According to police, the driver did not make any attempt to check on the welfare of the pedestrian, but briefly stopped the vehicle, backed up, and then turned right on Dusterberry Way. It is unknown whether the suspect vehicle turned right or left on Hansen Avenue or continued toward Thornton Avenue.

The suspect and vehicle have not been found. Police described the vehicle as a dark-colored sedan and it most likely has moderate damage to its front bumper, engine hood, and/or windshield area.

The FPD Traffic Investigations Unit is asking the public’s help for any additional investigative leads. Anyone who has information about a possible suspect is asked to contact lead investigator Traffic Officer Vince Montojo at (510) 790-6800 or via email vmontojo@fremont.gov. Anonymous tips can be sent by text to: Tip FremontPD followed by a short message to 888777 or via the web at https://fremontpolice.gov/TIP.

Little League

Fremont Juniors eliminated in sectional play
By Mike Heightchew

Fremont Juniors had high hopes as they entered sectional competition at Newark Memorial High School on July 17th. Starting their bid for further play, Fremont put a runner on third base in the first inning which seemed to portend a successful outing. However, Mount Eden’s defense held firm and turned back the threat. A theme of strong defense with critical plays at home plate and aggressive offense, at bat and on the bases, rolled up the score for Mount Eden, ending the game with a 12-0 victory.


Fremont is about to undergo its first review of district boundaries that took place beginning with the 2018 election. Following an official U.S. Census, every 10 years, boundaries are examined and modified to align with current residency. In the process, beside the number of residents, other factors such as ethnicity, impact on nearby neighborhoods and “communities of interest” are to be considered.

During the initial boundary construction, politics entered the fray since prior council seats were elected at-large and the possibility of sitting councilmembers occupying the same district was a determining factor. This resulted in a bit of gerrymandering to accommodate such a conflict. What happens in this round will, hopefully, avoid such behavior and result in districts that accurately reflect neighborhood cohesiveness. However, the same problem may arise since heavily concentrated developments can skew results. In cases where no geologic or geographic boundary exists, the span of a street can make a difference.

As population grows from apartment/condominium complexes concentrating in specific areas such as Centerville, Irvington and Warm Springs, and future developments slated for Niles, Irvington, Downtown and Mission San Jose as well, will new boundaries account for this or simply divide the city using numbers that will soon lose relevance? The same can be said for retail and commercial activity, especially following a devastating pandemic.

Public hearings and meetings will be scheduled to reflect public sentiment toward boundary lines and define neighborhoods. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to affect the outcome of the redistricting process. It is only through active and sustained interest that your interests can be included in the final result. The deadline to adopt a final district map is April 17, 2022, so the process will proceed rapidly. Since census data has been delayed until August 16th, the timeframe to identify and modify new boundaries will accelerate thereafter.

In the past, some criticism has been leveled at the at-large process of electing councilmembers, favoring densely populated areas… more people equal more votes and greater representation. District representation attempts to limit this imbalance. While not a prefect system, it does allow those with smaller budgets to address the needs of their neighbors. The problem of balkanization can arise if each district representative addresses issues from a purely selfish perspective, but this can be monitored and hopefully overcome. A key element to the success of this system is input from residents prior to boundary determination. Also, if future population shifts are imminent, their impact should also be a determining factor.

For more information and to keep current on the process, visit www.redistrictfremont.org