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Archive for December, 2007

One that didn’t make the cut

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This story was budgeted for today’s paper, but didn’t make it because of the deluge of stuff we needed to get in. Give it a read and then weigh in: What’s your favorite hangover cure?

Don’t let New Year’s Eve party become morning regret
Experts offer advice on avoiding a hangover

By Suzanne Bohan, STAFF WRITER

Before throwing back those celebratory glasses of champagne, whiskey or beer this New Year’s Eve, you may want to ponder the fate of the active ingredient in any form of booze.

Alcohol is an equal opportunity toxin, once you overwhelm your body’s ability to process it. The result: The infamous New Year’s Day hangover.

But with a few smart strategies, and a little self-control, you can raise a midnight toast and still wake up New Year’s Day with a spring in your step.

“It is feasible to prevent a hangover,” said Dr. Jerry Goldstein, a University of California, San Francisco, neurologist and director of the San Francisco Headache Clinic.

So long, he added, as you follow the advice of hangover experts like Goldstein before, during and after New Year’s celebrations.

Initially, alcoholic beverages bring on nothing but good feelings. Alcohol stimulates the liver Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
Under: General, Odds & Ends | No Comments »

Stonebrae gets golf mag acclaim

The latest edition of Travel & Leisure Golf magazine named Hayward’s own Stonebrae Country Club as one of the 10 best new golf courses of 2007.

Golf writer Scott Gummer, who has been following Stonebrae designer David McKlay Kidd’s work in Scotland, describes the Hayward project this way:

Kidd courses tend to reward shots that are well-played rather than simply well-struck. Stonebrae’s par-four fifth is a perfect example: Slightly longer than three hundred yards, it is drivable yet dicey. Mountains were moved at this private club, but Kidd deftly covered his tracks, and the result is a course that appears to have been merely nipped and tucked into the rolling hillside.

So who’s been up there golfing in the Hayward hills? So far, two City Council members, Bill Quirk and Bill Ward, have signed up to be Stonebrae members, which has caused them and City Manager Greg Jones, a newly settled Stonebrae resident, to excuse themselves whenever Stonebrae comes up on the council agenda.

Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2007
Under: General | No Comments »

Guatemalans in the East Bay: A conversation

Photographer Ray Chavez and I went to Guatemala earlier this year and created this series about some Guatemalans living in Hayward and Oakland. If your computer doesn’t let you see the multimedia presentation, you can also view the stories here.

I’ve been fielding a lot of input so I hope I can use this post and the comments section below to open up a conversation about some of the questions people are raising.

We invite your observations, opinions, questions and challenges, and I’ll do my best to answer the questions.

Posted on Monday, December 24th, 2007
Under: General | 10 Comments »

A different kind of Christmas

This came to me from Jerry Gizdich of Hayward. Enjoy this different take on Christmas.

It was Dec. 24, 1944, on a clear, sunny day, and I was — thanks to my navigation classes — 2 degrees north of the equator at longitude 118 degrees, surrounded by an awful lot of water. On a large-scale map of the world, at this intersection you would find the island of Morotai. This island had been my home for the past several months. Home is where you are welcome. This island was the only one in the vast Pacific Ocean, within my range, that I could attempt to land on without getting shot. And at night, you could not even be sure of this. Nevertheless, the stars and stripes were always there to welcome us back. This was home sweet home.

Four of us were in one tent: two pilots and two co-pilots, four canvas cots, four blankets and no pillows (I really missed this item). There was a dirt floor, no lights and a bomb shelter behind the tent that got a little deeper each day (coral does not make for easy digging). In many ways, life was good. We were located in a coconut plantation that protected us from the sun and the prying eyes of the Japanese, who seemed to spend a lot of time looking us over. A sandy beach and a warm, clear ocean were only about a hundred yards away. There were no bills to pay, few chores and a total absence of political news — the so-called “food” we best leave alone. Our only job was to fly combat missions.

There were some exceptions to the rules. Our commanding officer this fine morning had stuck his head into our tent and caught me lying down. “Hey, Giz,” he said. “I need a good pilot to test-fly a repair job.” The “good” was thrown in when you were asked (told) to do something extra. Thus, here I was sitting on the end of the runway waiting for clearance from the tower for a local test flight. I had five members of the ground crew for company. There was a common belief that a repair job would have less chance of failure if the crew went along. Plus, they enjoyed it. We would make a pass over the part of the island held by the Japanese. Then they would be able to write home and say that they had been on a mission. The ground crew always did one hell of a job keeping these planes running. This time, there was no co-pilot to go through the facial contortions every time you did something the slightest bit different from him.

“Badger 25. Take-off position. You are clear for take-off.”

This message made our little world come to life inside this 2,000-horsepower B25 J27. Today the plane was loaded with five crew members, a pilot (who not long ago was delivering telegrams), 1,000 gallons of high-octane gasoline, 18 50-caliber machine guns, and various incidental parts. And we were all going to move in the same direction if the ground crew and the pilot didn’t mess anything up.

Everything with reach went full-forward: two throttles, two prop controls, two fuel mixtures. And then everything started to shake, rattle and roll. You have never really heard noise until you’ve had a propeller traveling at 4,600 rpm inches from your ear. At this point, there wasn’t much left to do except steer the plane down the middle of the runway.

The idea was to reach 130 mph, our lift-off speed, before running out of runway. The runway was not made of concrete, nor was it several miles long. It was a metal mat with lots of holes in it, laid on top of sand. Someone once measured the length of a fully loaded B25 J27 take-off and then added 50 feet as a safety factor. This distance became the length of our runway. We were now rocking and rolling along like an unbalanced load in a washing machine. We were also approaching 100 mph and quickly running out of runway. My passengers had that “are we going to make it?” look. I just shrugged my shoulders. Then, as almost always, 50 feet from the end of the runway we hit 130 mph. I pulled back on the yoke and off into the wild blue yonder we went.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, December 24th, 2007
Under: General, Odds & Ends | 1 Comment »

Survey says…

The city of San Leandro just this week released the results from a survey conducted to gauge how many voters would potentially support a bond measure to pay for dredging and maintaining the San Leandro Marina yacht harbor.marina-survey-image111.png

The results were not surprising: San Leandro residents would not support a bond measure for the marina, the survey concluded.

What was surprising (or not, depending on how you look at it) about the survey were residents’ responses to what they felt were the city’s true priorities.

Ironically, the potential closure of the harbor was of the least importance.marina-survey-image23.png

It seems the survey didn’t provide the city with any solutions for saving the 45-year-old boat harbor. Meanwhile, officials have been working on other plans to develop the shoreline recreation area, if the city decides it can no longer dredge.

Now that the survey is done, what else do you think the city should be doing?

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Under: Development, General, Politics, San Leandro | 1 Comment »

Blue, bleu, holiday

Elvis Presley made the holiday season anything but blue when he crooned “Blue Christmas.” And, speaking of blue, Frank “Old Blue Eyes” Sinatra would have turned 92 on Dec. 12 (1915 _ “It Was A Very Good Year”).

Do you have “High Hopes” that “The Best Is Yet To Come,” even though Frank went to that recording studio in the sky in 1998? Count on Hayward’s Douglas Morrisson Theatre to go “All The Way” with resurrecting 50 of Frank’s greatest hits.

“My Way,” a tribute to Sinatra, will be presented at the North Third Street theater from Feb. 15 to March 16, with singers and a swinging band.

Don’t be “Strangers In The Night”! Check out www.dmtonline.org.

And, while you’re at it, you don’t need “Witchcraft” to share your favorite Sinatra song with other readers of this blog.

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Under: General, Hayward, Odds & Ends | No Comments »

Birthplaces of the rich, famous

Not all celebrities emerge full-grown in La-La land.

Many past and present movie, television and sports figures were born in the same Hayward area communities as readers of this blog.

Here’s a sampling, although not a complete list of everyone who went on to fame and fortune, from Castro’s Valley, Haywards _ as these communities originally were known _ and San Leandro.

Read on for some possible surprises. Know of anyone not listed who was born in Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro or San Lorenzo? Share your information with other blog readers.

Hayward: Soap opera stars Tom Eplin and Kimberlin Brown, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, baseball catcher Johnny Estrada and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.

San Leandro: Actor Lloyd Bridges; Hal Peary, “The Great Gildersleeve” during the Golden Age of Radio; “sexploitation” film writer and director Russ Meyer; David Silveria, drummer with nu-metal band Korn; and baseball players Ken Huckaby, Charlton Jimerson, Fenton Mole and Tony Robello.

Castro Valley: Actor Daniel Selby; baseball players Kevin Maas and Ed Sprague; Metallica bassist Cliff Benton; Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio; and Dina Ruiz Eastwood, wife of actor-director-producer Clint Eastwood.

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Under: Castro Valley, General, Hayward, Odds & Ends, San Leandro, San Lorenzo | No Comments »

Pocketful of Miracles

Ever been caught short of change and you know the meter maid/meter man is around the corner?

That’s how I felt on Monday, when pennies (instead of the requisite nickels, dimes and quarters) were in my wallet outside the Alameda County Building on West Winton Avenue in Hayward. With no cashier available inside to change dollar bills into smaller bits of change, county employees Yolanda Robles and Keauna Kelley came to the rescue.

“I’ve gotten tickets before,” Kelley said of the hungry parking meters. “It used to be $25 (per ticket). Now, it’s $35.” Kelley called around to see who in the Community Development Agency had change, while Robles went down the hall to her office and came back with four quarters, which she traded for my dollar bill.

“Be sure to put it in the paper,” Kelley teased. “People always say bad things about county workers. This is a good thing.”

‘Nuff said.

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Under: Alameda County, General, Hayward, Odds & Ends | No Comments »

What’s missing?

If you caught “The Girl Next Door” on CBS’s “48 HOURS” last weekend, about the Castro Valley Jane Doe case, a couple of pieces of the puzzle were missing.

Lone Tree Cemetery was identified as the place where Yesenia Nungaray Becerra, 16, was buried after her body was found on May 1, 2006, in the rear of a Castro Valley restaurant parking lot. Program producers only mentioned Castro Valley and Hayward in the program, and Lone Tree is in Fairview.

Also, the television show mentioned the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a suspect who lived in the same Hayward cottage as Yesenia. The small home actually is on Smalley Avenue in Cherryland.

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Under: Castro Valley, Cherryland, Crime, Fairview, General, Hayward, Odds & Ends | 4 Comments »

Flight 93 memorial “elegantly simple,” says mag

The latest edition of The Weekly Standard, the Beltway-based conservative opinion magazine, has a lengthy feature on Hayward resident Michael Emerson and his effort to build the Flight 93 memorial near the Union Landing Shopping Center. The memorial was dedicated last week.

If you’ve seen it, what do you think of the memorial?

Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2007
Under: Hayward, Union City | No Comments »