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HUSD mtg: Supt. search, Special Ed, High School safety

Last night’s special, untelevised meeting was a busy one. Final revisions were being made to the district’s pamphlet that will be used in the search for a new superintendent.

husdsuptsearchflierThe draft can be seen at right — it will blow up if you click on it, but sorry about the fuzziness. My phone cam doesn’t make the best document scanner. Pamphlet is being changed a bit, Trustee Heredia was supposed to meet with the consultant this morning for the final tweaks. One thing that was brought up was the mission statement, prominently displayed at the top. Trustee Armas said he’d never seen it before, and pointed out that no one currently seated had anything to do with drafting that statement, so it will be dropped from the final version. Continue Reading

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Water conservation comes with a cost

hetchpipeHere’s an interesting story. People have been encouraged to conserve water as much as possible, and have been succeeding. Which is good, but it cuts into funds earned by the water suppliers that charge by gallons used. And in the case of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission – which provides the Hetch Hetchy water that Hayward uses — that means they aren’t getting money needed to pay for seismic improvements to the 100-year-old system that pipes in water from the Sierra Nevada. As seen in the photo of the pipe near the Dumbarton Bridge, the system could use some work, and it’s being done. So the SFPUC is talking about a rate increase of nearly 50 percent, which, as the story mentions, does not mean everyone can expect such a jump on their water bills, but it’s still significant.

Spoke with Hayward Public Works Director Bob Bauman, he said they knew a hike was coming down the pike. It was expected to be significant — at least 20 percent — but not 47 percent.

Bauman said that because of agreements that are in place and the manner water is tranferred through the system, opting to switch to, say, EBMUD water is not an option. He added that even if it were, EBMUD couldn’t handle the extra demand and besides, Hetch Hetchy water is superior.

“We have a great deal,” he said. “One of the things that brings some businesses to Hayward is the fact that we have very good water. It’s always a big point for Hayward.”

There will be a presentation on the matter at a May 3 City Council work session, Bauman said.

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San Leandro woman leaves $25K surprise gift to homeless shelter

The Hayward-based Family Emergency Shelter Coalition was recently surprised by a donation from the last will and testament of Gertrude “Trude” Bloomfield Campe, a San Leandro resident who died nearly a year ago.

According to a FESCO spokesperson, Campe was “a retired nanny, an immigrant from England and a woman of modest means.” Read more about Campe and her gift in the press release after the jump. Continue Reading

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Calendar for week of April 18

Here’s what’s going on this week. Also, check out the slideshow on the Castro Valley artist who carves fish out of wood. They’re pretty impressive pieces, and you can see them at The Book Shop on B Street.

Community Calendar items can be faxed to 510-293-2490, mailed to 22533 Foothill Blvd., Hayward, CA 94541, or e-mailed to jketchum@bayareanewsgroup.com. Questions? Call 510-293-2464. Continue Reading

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Hayward artist’s mosaic bench installations

Sometimes, for various reasons, a story runs online without a key component, like today’s tale about artist Terry Hunt and the mosaic benches he makes. I bet you’d like to see what these benches look like, wouldn’t you?

erev0402mosaic03Here’s Terry with his fishing-themed bench in front of St. Rose Hospital.

There are additional benches at various locations around town; read the story to find out where.  Funding for the benches comes from the city’s Mural Art Program, the same one that supports the various murals on walls and utility boxes to deter vandalism.

erev0402mosaic06Here’s the Russell City blues-themed bench in front of the noodle restaurant at Southland Mall.

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Those potential arts, culture and downtown business cuts

The potential dissolution of redevelopment agencies isn’t just a problem for large-scale projects such as the development surrounding the South Hayward BART station or Mission Boulevard improvements. We had a story on Monday about how many of the city’s art and cultural programs are in jeopardy.

2012CommProHere’s a breakdown of what programs receive how much money through redevelopment, as seen on page 10 of this report. Click on it for a larger view.

The staff recommendation was largely based on an across-the-board slash to funding. There will be further talks on the matter at the May 2 Council Economic Development Committee meeting before a recommendation is made to the City Council.

And as mentioned in the story, the Downtown Business Improvement Area also received half its budget via redevelopment funds. According to a report from the last meeting, the total budget was $112,140 last year, with $55,000 coming from business owners, $55,000 from redevelopment funds and $2,140 from reserves.

DBIA2011That was allocated for 2010-2011 in the manner illustrated at right. The events, which make up the largest category, include the Summer Street Parties and Light Up the Season. According to Chamber of Commerce President Kim Huggett, the advisory board will meet again next month to discuss how to divvy up the remaining funds.

Any thoughts on how limited remaining funds should be allocated, in regards to arts and culture programs as well as downtown business improvements? As was said in the story in regards to arts/culture, while trimming across the board may be equitable, it could prove to be a death knell for more programs than if some kind of triage system were utilized.

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Volunteers honored, and shrinking CDGB funds at Hayward council

volunteersHayward had its annual proclamation ceremony honoring the various city volunteers on Tuesday. It also happens that National Volunteer Week is coming up, April 10-16. There’s been a “surge of volunteers,” said staff, with 630 names submitted for the honor this year compared with 520 last year. By the end of the ceremony, the front of the council chamber was packed with those receiving certificates for their good deeds.

 The council also received recommendations about how to divvy up federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which are given out by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. Hayward received 29 applications this year, eight of them new, asking for a total of $2.4 million. Staff projects a decline in fed funding of 10 percent, which would bring available funds down to about $1.6 million. According to the staff report, “This projection is based on the information that is available at this time. It is unlikely the allocation will be increased; however, it is possible that the allocation could be reduced by an even greater percentage.”

Hayward’s Citizen’s Advisory Commission and staff made the recommendations to the City Council, which will come up for approval at a public hearing later this month.

Three of the applying organizations were considered ineligible for the CDBG funds because they didn’t meet certain criteria. For example, to get a federal Public Services grant, the city requires the service to be related to providing housing. While programs such as immigrant case management assistance, or a request for palette racks at a warehouse that distributes food to the needy, or an established child-care program may support residents find and keep housing, staff ruled the links were not clear and direct enough to qualify.

Three others were not recommended for various reasons, and the rest were recommended funding for the amount requested. The city’s Minor Home Repair Program, Animal Shelter and Small Business Revolving Loan Program were recommended to receive the most funding, the three accounting for over 40 percent of the total funds.

You can read the full staff report and see the recommendations here.

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Fresh and Easy supermarket coming to Fairway Park

fresheasyThe grocery chain announced that it will open the doors of a new market at the Fairway Park Shopping Center, on Mission Boulevard at Rousseau Street on April 27. Fairway Park residents have long said that their neighborhood needs just such an addition, and everyone’s invited to a five-day grand opening celebration. According to the Fresh & Easy map of East Bay locations, there’s also another one slated to pop up at A Street and Hesperian Boulevard. Find the press release after the jump.

Coincidentally, the Bay Area Newsgroup business editor was talking about Fresh & Easy in his column today, mainly about those self-service checkout counters that are popping up everywhere. Continue Reading

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Chabot College faculty group supports power plant appeal

chabotlogoHad a story over the weekend about Chabot-Las Positas Community College District being the sole party still fighting the approved 600-megawatt Calpine powerplant at the Hayward shoreline, about a mile and a half away from the campus.

I just received a letter of support from the Chabot-Las Positas Faculty Association, which was sent to the district’s trustees. Find the full text after the jump, and here’s the district’s web page dedicated to the subject. Continue Reading

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Calendar for week of April 4

 April 7
How is San Leandro doing? — 11:15 a.m.-1 p.m. State of the city is assessed by Mayor Stephen Cassidy at a luncheon sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce — members and nonmembers are invited. Luncheon is at the Senior Community Center, 13909 E. 14th St., San Leandro. Prepaid registration is required. Cost: $30 for chamber members, $40 for nonmembers. Register at: sanleandrochamber.com, click “events” link. For more information, call 510-317-1400. Continue Reading