Hayward firefighters could use more toys

Charities are hurting this Christmas season, including the Hayward chapter of the Salvation Army, as was mentioned in this article.

fftoydriveThe Hayward Fire Department’s annual toy drive is also way below the norm. “We have received less than 50 percent of what we normally get in donations,” said firefighter Matt Buckingham, who has led the drive for the past decade.

Over the course of the year, the firefighter’s union raises money through fundraisers to help buy the holiday toys, but with the lack of donations, they will probably have to dig deeper into their coffers to make up the difference.

The toys are delivered to local nonprofits that in turn distribute them to Hayward children who may not have received gifts this year.

It’s not too late: New toys can be donated at any of Hayward’s nine fire stations.


North Face vs. South Butt

San Leandro-based apparel company The North Face  is unhappy with Jimmy Winkelmann, a 19-year-old St. Louis college student who founded his own apparel company, called The South Butt. Earlier this month, The North Face sued The South Butt for trademark infringement.

NPR, USA Today, AP, newspapers and television news have covered the case. Winkelmann says the ensuing publicity is driving traffic, and sales, to his Web site.  (That’s Winkelmann above.)

“If you are unable to discern the difference between a face and a butt, we encourage you to buy North Face products,” Winkelmann says on his site.


Hayward nightclub approved, Council adopts earlier meetings

City Council gave a downtown restaurant and night club the go ahead in a fairly extended meeting last night. I’ll have a longer story in tomorrow’s Review.

Speaking of long meetings, the Council also approved changing the time they meet. Starting next year, Tuesday night meetings will begin at 7 instead of 8 p.m.

That 8 p.m. start time was definitely on the late side of things. The earlier start puts Hayward in line with Fremont, San Leandro, Union City, Oakland and Berkeley, to name some other 7 o’clockers. Newark remains a regional anomaly that splits the difference, starting at 7:30 p.m.


Special HUSD board meeting today

UPDATE: Superintendent Dale Vigil retired. Here’s the short story that will be in tomorrow’s Morning Report:

By Eric Kurhi
HAYWARD — Superintendent of Hayward schools Dale Vigil announced his retirement at a special board meeting Friday.

As part of the retirement agreement, Vigil will go off the district’s payroll June 30. However, his last day will be Dec. 31.

Janice Duran, a former superintendent of the San Lorenzo Unified School District, will serve as interim superintendent beginning in January.

Vigil would not give a specific reason for leaving.

“It is a good time for me to retire from Hayward Unified School District,” he said. “I have enjoyed working with all my colleagues and wish them success in building the district.”

He said he does not have another post lined up, and is mainly concerned with finishing his term.

The board approved the retirement agreement in a 4-to-1 vote, with Luis Reynoso dissenting.

Reynoso could not be reached for comment.

Vigil was hired 41⁄2 years ago.

 This was announced exactly 24 hours before today’s 5 p.m. meeting. What’s going on? We don’t know. One trustee told us that there will be an announcement after the meeting, so we’re on pins and needles until then.

The latest on what’s going on over at HUSD.


Letter sparks a war of words over San Leandro Hospital

Rajendra Ratnesar, chairman of the Eden Township Hospital District board, released “An Open Letter to the Community” to local media Tuesday, stating that efforts to save San Leandro Hospital are threatening all hospitals in the district.

State Sen. Ellen Corbett and board member Carole Rogers responded with sharply worded letters of there own.  Click below to read the letters…

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NUMMI closure fallout hits Hayward company

Today’s paper had this story about what happens when a large plant such as NUMMI closes. Nearly 400 workers will soon be out of work at a Hayward supplier of plastic parts whose sole customer was NUMMI. And, of course, more than 10 times that many people will no longer have jobs at NUMMI itself when the plant closes in April.

And for the big picture, multiply that again by 10. According to today’s story, “some industry watchers believe the auto factory’s closure could imperil 40,000 to 50,000 jobs in California.”


Ghost hunting at the Meek, McConaghy mansions

12/14 UPDATE: Here’s the story, which includes a couple of EVP sound clips. Here are the photos taken during the event, which didn’t make it into the online story. The first one is the control shot, with nothing interesting in it. The second one was taken moments later, and has a shape in the right side of the frame that ghost hunters said looks like a white period dress. Colleagues here at the Review point out that it also kind of looks like Snoopy:



12/10 UPDATE: It was a fun event and I’m writing a story that will run over the weekend. Significant EVP activity was found, McConaghy presence was considerably “darker” than Meek, said investigators. There’s even a photo of … something … at the McConaghy that the APRA team said helped propel this particular investigation to an “8 on a scale of 1-to-10” rating.

I’m hoping to have EVP sound files as well as the spooky photo run with the online version of the story. I’ll post a link here when it’s available.

ghostbustersI’m about to go sit in on the paranormal event at the Meek Mansion and McConaghy House. Hopefully something spooky will happen, but we’ll have a story on it next week even if blood remains uncurdled.

Word is they found some “things” during the investigation, which will be revealed during the event.

Here’s a video of the American Paranormal Research Association investigators snooping around the Meek basement last summer:

APRA at Meek


Most serious crimes in Hayward down

A police department progress report given to the Hayward City Council on Tuesday included the latest crime statistics, comparing January through September of 2009 with the same nine months of 2008.

HaywardPDThe good news is that most serious crimes are down. Rape, by 57 percent; arson, 25 percent; robbery, 17 percent; major assault, 13 percent; burglary and grand theft, 2 percent.

Unfortunately, the big-ticket crime of murder was up 17 percent, with seven occurring this year as opposed to six during that time frame last year.

However, updating those stats to Dec. 2, the city would be even with last year. October 2008 had a liquor store stabbing death near Tennyson Road and a fatal shooting at the Hayward BART station.

Last week’s horrific slaying in the upper B Street neighborhood brought this year’s count up to eight as well.

That’s a pretty standard number. 2007 had 10 homicides, while 2006 was low with four. The three preceding years had nine each.

The other crime that was up was auto theft, with a 5 percent increase.

Overall, Police Chief Ron Ace said the figures are positive.

“It’s a good sign, obviously, especially during this time of economic recession,” he said. “We are doing a good job of keeping a lid on things.”

Here’s part two of the HPD progress report.

In another recently issued report, Congressional Quarterly ranked Hayward as 126 out of 393 cities with populations of 75,000 or more in terms of crime rate. The lower the number, the more crime  — Oakland came it at No. 3, Richmond at 14. San Leandro fared worse than Hayward at 113, while Fremont did considerably better at 304.