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Castro Valley tempest in a coffee pot

CASTRO VALLEY — Some tempers started boiling over when a recent school board agenda listed a proposed purchase of a $14,000 coffee machine.

What seems to have started the brew ha ha was the way the item was listed on the school board agenda: as an espresso machine. That got comments flying on social media in an election year:

“Return the machine, get a Mr. Coffee, and if Jim Negri wants a latte, well he can go to Starbucks and pay for one from his own income, just the way everyone else in town does,” a parent posted, referring to the school superintendent.

The machine in question is not a standard espresso machine, though apparently it can whip up a mean one. It is an industrial coffee maker that also would quickly heat water for tea and hot chocolate, heat apple cider and steam milk.

But after parents raised a ruckus, the district held off on the purchase.

The machine was part of a plan to expand the district’s in-house catering service to reduce the cost of providing food for school events, train culinary students and possibly offer catering for activities outside the district.

Yes, $14,000 is a lot of money, school board member Janice Friesen said. But the machine would get a lot of use.

“We want something that will last and be a good investment,” Friesen said.

Currently, Castro Valley students enrolled in the vocational culinary program travel to the regional occupational center campus near Chabot College in Hayward to take classes. The coffee maker was part of plan that would allow them to get hands-on training in Castro Valley instead.

The machine also would have been used to serve drinks at district functions. Castro Valley Unified said “expanding district catering services” when mentioning meals provided at school workshops, planning sessions, teacher training, etc. For many, catering conjures up an image of waiters with trays of appetizers.

What the district was referring to is breakfasts for staff at the beginning of the year, basic lunches and light breakfasts for all-day training sessions, food at after-school sessions for teachers, etc. While there may be a coffee pot at each site, when staffs from three or four schools gather, that coffee pot cannot fill the demand, Friesen said.

“If it’s after school and you’re asking people to come for development, you cannot not give them something. You have to feed them,” she said.

Castro Valley has paid other local school districts to provide food at staff events, Friesen said. The district also holds a teacher of the year event at the Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts, which an outside vendor caters.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our school district catered it and our school district got the money?” Friesen asked.

The money to buy the machine would not being diverted away from classrooms. It’s in the food services budget, whose funds are restricted (they can’t be spent elsewhere).

The coffee maker was to be part of a plan to revitalize the district’s food service program proposed by Brenda Lightfoot-Handy, hired earlier this year as head of child nutrition.

The official statement from Superintendent Negri:

“Questions have been raised about a purchase for our Child Nutrition Program, and in an effort to be responsive to our school community, we have made a decision to hold the purchase. Long term, we feel the investment in this commercial grade coffee and beverage machine would expand the capacity of our catering program, as well as benefit our vocational education food and catering program. However, given that we are in the process of developing these programs, for now we believe it is prudent to hold the purchase. Our community hears us when we ask for their support, and, in turn, we must hear them when they raise questions and concerns. I hope the decision to revisit the purchase reflects our commitment to be responsible partners with our community members and staff.”

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Hayward to honor volunteers

A press release from the city of Hayward about its upcoming volunteer dinner:

HAYWARD – Great institutions have staying power.

Hayward’s first Volunteer Recognition & Awards Dinner took place the same year Steve Jobs incorporated Apple Computer and George Lucas released Star Wars. Nearly four decades later, the iPhone 6+ has taken the world by storm, Mark Hamill is reprising his role as Luke Skywalker and Hayward’s rich tradition continues with the 37th installment of its cherished volunteer recognition event.

Attendees at this year’s event, to be held on Tuesday, October 7 at St. Rose Hospital, will celebrate the generosity, civic pride and boundless energy of another spate of exceptional Hayward volunteers, headlined by distinguished award winners Carl and Marilyn Baker-Madsen, Robert Sakai, Mariellen Faria, Tracy Diaz and Charles
Snipes.

Since the dinner’s 1977 inception, roughly 500 local volunteers have been honored for their valuable contributions to the Hayward community. The event is a veritable “Who’s Who” of the civically engaged, brought together under the banner of service to Hayward.

“There is a deeply ingrained culture of volunteerism and civic engagement in Hayward,” said Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday. “Each year, the volunteer awards dinner recognizes the extraordinary individuals who foster that spirit of involvement, who give selflessly of their time, talent, energy and expertise to make Hayward a better place. After 37 years, this event has become a civic institution in its own right and we are honored to recognize another group of truly remarkable people this year.”

In addition to the five distinguished award winners, the event will honor 31 “Hearts of Hayward,” volunteers who have made a significant and indelible mark on the community with hundreds of hours of community service and their unqualified commitment to the City and its residents.

“With a rich history, the Hayward Volunteer Recognition and Awards Dinner continues to honor those who dedicate their time to serving the Hayward community,” said Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, whose office leads the event’s coordination. “We are thankful for each volunteer and look forward to commemorating
their service on October 7th.”

What: Hayward Volunteer Recognition & Awards Dinner

When: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 6:00 p.m.

Where: St. Rose Hospital’s Grand White Tent, 27200 Calaroga Ave. Hayward CA 94544

How much: $40 per person; they can be obtained by calling Ginny DeMartini at 510-259-1097.

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Hayward Mariachi Festival Oct. 3

From the Hayward Chamber of Commerce:

HAYWARD — Mariachi bands, folklorico dancers, kids’ activities, a taco-eating contest and an outdoor market celebrating Hispanic food and art will be highlights at the fifth annual Hayward Mariachi Festival from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, at City Hall Plaza, 777 B St. The free family-friendly event is hosted by the Hayward Chamber of Commerce Latino Business Roundtable and the City of Hayward. Guests should bring lawn chairs and blankets.

The event highlight is built around music. This year’s featured performers are Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, Mariachi Halcones de Oakland, Mariachi Dos and Mariachi Mexicanisimo. Activities for kids will include face painting, Dia de los Muertos mask-coloring, paper flower making and a bounce house courtesy of the Relay for Life Team of Tad Miller and Liberty Tax Service.

The event occurs on National Taco Day, and there will be a taco-eating contest sponsored by Jorge Espinosa and his team at El Taquito Restaurant #2. Specialty beverages to be served include margaritas, sangria and Mexican beer.

For more information, contact the Hayward Chamber of Commerce, 510-537-2424.

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Hayward police blotter Sept. 18-24

THUR, 9/18/14 between 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, DIRECTED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT led by Hayward PD’s Traffic Division, was conducted on Tennyson Rd and Baldwin St. The officers cited 36 people for a crosswalk violation. Many other officers participated in this enforcement, including two Hayward PD Explorers.

THUR, 9/18/14 at 6:06 PM, an Armed Robbery occurred on the 21000 block of Foothill Blvd (Casper’s Hot Dogs). The suspect entered Casper’s Hot Dog restaurant and brandished a black semi-automatic handgun at the employees and demanded they open the cash register. The suspect then removed approximately $50.00 from the register, walked out of the restaurant, and was last seen getting into a burgundy older model SUV with tinted windows (similar to a Chevrolet Blazer). The suspect was described as a white male in his late 20′s to early 30′s. He’s 5’07”, 220 lbs, and has a scruffy beard. The suspect was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and red sweatpants.

FRI, 9/19/14 at 10:14 AM, an assault with a deadly weapon occurred at Cypress/Harder. A victim who was stabbed in the neck several months ago reported seeing the same suspect in the area of Cypress/Jackson. Officers found and detained the subject at Cypress/Harder. The victim identified the suspect through an “in-field show up.” The suspect was also arrested for a warrant, possession of drug paraphernalia, and lying about his identity.

FRI, 9/19/14 between 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM, Hayward PD conducted an ABC decoy operation at 22 establishments. The decoy operation found five businesses that sold alcohol to the minor decoy. Criminal and administrative citations were issued at each of the five locations.

SUN, 9/21/14 at 11:37 PM, an Outside Assist was needed on the 1900 block of Harder Rd. CSUEB had a “Block Party” welcoming new students which was held outside the dorms at Pioneer Heights. During the party, a fight broke out and forced CSUEB Police to shut down the party. CSUEB asked for assistance, to which the responding units assisted with traffic control until the party came to a close.

MON, 9/22/14 at 12:49 PM, NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM incident occurred on the 600 block of Atherton Place. An 18 year old male reported he was shot while walking on Atherton Street. Six of his friends report a car speeding from the area after the gunshot was heard. The investigation revealed the 18 year old accidentally shot himself. He sustained a contact wound to his outer thigh. The bullet exited his inner thigh and lodged in his other thigh. A .22 caliber bullet was recovered at the scene.

TUE, 9/23/14 at 6:06 PM, a TRAFFIC COLLISION occurred at Harder/Soto. A 32-year-old female pedestrian was struck by vehicle. She was transported to Eden Hospital and in critical condition. On 9/24/2014, the pedestrian was pronounced as deceased. The traffic collision is currently under investigation and any witnesses are encouraged to contact the Hayward Police Department Traffic Bureau Sergeant Jason Corsolini at 510-293-7149.

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Hayward offers community emergency response training

Press release from Hayward fire department:

When a disaster strikes, do you know what to do before professional help arrives?

The Hayward Fire Department is providing a free CERT Training Program which will consist of four evening indoor classes and one outdoor “hands on” skills class. Participants learn skills that will enable them to provide emergency assistance to their families and immediate neighbors as well as organize a neighborhood team response. Training will begin during the month of October, 2014 at City Hall. Dates and times are as follow:

• Class #1, Monday, October 20th, 6-9:30pm @ Hayward City Hall
• Class #2, Monday, October 27th, 6-9:30pm @ Hayward City Hall
• Class #3, Monday, November 3rd, 6-9:30pm @ Hayward City Hall
• Class #4, Thursday, November 10th, 6-9:30pm @ Hayward City Hall
• Skills #5, Thursday, November 17th, 6-9:30pm (Fire Station #6 W. Winton)

You must attend all classes in order to receive certification. CERT training is for all City of Hayward and Fairview residents. Residential verification will be required during the final application process and all applicants must be 18 years-of-age or older.

Residents who are interested in this free training can sign-up by sending their name, phone number and address by email to Hayward.CERT@hayward-ca.gov. Space is limited. Successful applicants will receive notification by email acknowledging enrollment into the program and further directions.

For more information, call the Hayward Fire Department’s Public Education Officer at (510) 583-4948.

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San Leandro crime is down, police report

A press release from San Leandro police:

SAN LEANDRO –For the past few weeks, the SLPD has continued to serve our community with pride and professionalism.

Between September 7 – 21, public safety dispatchers have received 3,571 calls from the public, resulting in the following:

• 2.348 calls for service were dispatched that officers responded to.
• 346 police investigations were conducted.
• 104 arrests were made of persons suspected of criminal activity.

To date this year, police report that crime has decreased by 4% from this time last year, with a total of 3,110 part 1 crime reports being reported to the SLPD. Part 1 crimes include homicide, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.

SLPD is pleased to report that robberies and burglaries are down 27% each, and credit proactive police work and community engagement with these successes.

“I credit the decrease in crime to teamwork. We have a very engaged community, who continue to call us when they see something out of the ordinary and this leads to arrests,” said Lt. Robert McManus.

Additionally, police are solving cases through the use of video surveillance cameras. So far, 55 residences and businesses in San Leandro have registered their private systems with the SLPD, which has proven not only to be an effective deterrent to crime, but also a technological tool to assist detectives in solving cases.

Unfortunately, auto theft has increased 6% since last year. Between August 21st and September 15th, 44 vehicles were stolen in San Leandro. 33 vehicles stolen in San Leandro, were recovered by SLPD officers and officers throughout the Bay Area during that period. SLPD’s “oldest” stolen car recovered during this time was stolen in April. SLPD officers also recovered 25 cars in San Leandro that were reported stolen to other police agencies during that time period.

This past weekend, officers made arrests during 3 separate auto theft investigations throughout the city. Two of the cases were a direct result of the ALPR computer system alerting officers to stolen cars. The third case is credited to an observant resident.

On Sunday afternoon at 1:30pm, a resident in the 200 block of Julius St. called police to report someone sleeping in their car in the residential neighborhood. The car was not known to the neighborhood, and when officers arrived, they determined that the Honda Accord had been reported stolen to the Oakland Police a few days earlier. The driver, who was asleep in the car, was identified as 37 year old Cyrus Benaventura of San Francisco. Benaventura was also found to have outstanding arrest warrants, including one for auto theft.

Of concern to police is the amount of guns that have been taken from criminals since January 1st. To date, officers have seized 88 firearms, 63 of which were deemed evidence in criminal investigations. The other 15 were taken for safe keeping during domestic violence and mental-illness investigations, or submitted for destruction, as the owner no longer wanted them. This high number does not include the look-alike firearms that officers recover on a regular basis, like one that was recovered from a group of teens at Bayfair Center on Sunday afternoon.

At about 3:05pm, officers were dispatched to the Wing Stop restaurant at Bayfair Center for a report of 5 teenagers passing a handgun around. When officer arrived, they contacted 5 boys who were 16 and 17 years old from Antioch and Oakland, who were armed with a BB pistol resembling a semi-automatic pistol. The boys turned the look-alike gun over to officers and contacted each of their parents about the dangerous situation that they were involved in. Police will use the look-alike gun for training purposes, both for their staff and during community presentations.

Lt. Robert McManus is proud of the service that the SLPD provides to the community stating, “Members of the San Leandro Police Department are committed to making San Leandro the best and safest city possible for those that live, work and visit our community. We value the support of our community and the strong partnerships that we have created over the years. Without that, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are.”

For crime prevention tips please go to the Police Department’s website at http://www.sanleandro.org/depts/pd or contact our Crime Prevention Unit at 510-577-3228.

Citizens play a critical role in creating a safe environment by observing and reporting any suspicious and criminal activity to the Police. The San Leandro Police Department recommends that citizens do not participate in any direct verbal or physical involvement with suspicious persons or those who are committing crimes. The personal safety of the community is paramount.

We encourage the San Leandro community to record the details of what they observe and to report those details to the Police. This type of community involvement and partnership has proven to be a very effective crime prevention tool. Citizens act as the eyes and ears of the community first, and the extended eyes and ears of the San Leandro Police Department.

Thank you for being a force multiplier in our efforts to provide professional police services and safety to the community.

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Hayward: Dog walkers neighborhood watch program meeting Wednesday

HAYWARD — Could dog walkers and their charges take a bite out of crime?

A newly launched Dog Walker Watch Program will be discussed Wednesday at a community meeting. The watch program encourages dog walkers to act as “extra eyes and ears” for police.

At the same meeting, Hayward City Councilman Greg Jones and former city Councilwoman Anna May will talk about what makes residents interested in neighborhood issues and want to improve their community — and what turns them off.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, in the Hayward police North District Office, 22701 Main St. (the old Hayward Area Historical Society red brick building across the street from Fire Station 1).

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Political activist to speak Thursday on importance of voting

From the League of Women Voters:

HAYWARD — Boot Camp for Future Leaders and the importance of voting will be the focus of keynote speaker Christine Pelosi on Sept. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at Chabot Community College, Performing Arts Center in Hayward.

Pelosi, an attorney, political activist and author, will speak at the college’s fourth annual Law and Democracy Lecture program, said William Hanson, chairman of the college’s Administration of Justice department.

Hanson is spearheading the Vote60by50 campaign to increase campus voting to 60 percent by the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in 2015.

Pelosi is the author of many books and columns in the Huffington Post on political participation and the development of future leaders.

The program is co-sponsored by the Chabot Law and Democracy Program, League of Women Voters Eden Area, the Chabot Student Senate and the Office of the President of Chabot. For further information, contact mochoa@chabotcollege.edu

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Hayward police blog Sept. 4-11

Thursday, 9/4/14, approx 8:00 PM, AN ARMED ROBBERY occurred near Hesperian/Tahoe. A Black Male Adult clad in all dark clothing, confronted the female victim as she walked home. The suspect demanded the victim’s purse and cell phone. When she resisted, he slashed at her with an unknown weapon-possibly a knife. The suspect ran off with the victim’s cell phone. The victim suffered a minor injury.

Friday, 9/5/14, approx 5:30 PM, AN ARMED ROBBERY occurred at a coffee shop on the 700 block of A St. The suspect-a Black Male Adult, about 5’5”, medium build, in his 20’s, wearing large white headphones, white glasses, an oversized t-shirt and blue jeans, ordered a beverage. He lifted up the front of his shirt, exposing what was apparently the handgrips of a gun and demanded cash from the cashier. The suspect left after getting money.

Friday, 9/5/14, approx 7:30 PM, A FELON IN POSSESSION OF A HANDGUN AND AMMUNITION/CHILD ENDANGERMENT occurred in an apartment at a complex on the 26000 block of Gading. An officer was investigating a burglary and was directed to a specific apartment, where the possible suspect might reside. The suspect, who is a felon, was found to illegally possess a handgun and ammunition, and was arrested. His 2 yr old son had access to the gun as well. The suspect’s potential relationship to the burglary is still under investigation.

Saturday, 9/6/14, approx 9:40 AM, A FELONY HIT AND RUN occurred at Hesperian/Middle. The adult female victim was walking across the intersection in the crosswalk with the green light, when she was struck by the suspect, who was driving n/b in the #2 lane. The suspect entered the intersection in violation of the red light. The suspect stopped to check on the victim and then drove off. The suspect vehicle was found several miles away a short time later and the owner attempted to report it as stolen. The driver came to the police department the following day and admitted hitting the victim. The victim was in serious, but stable condition.

Monday, 9/8/14, approx 5:45 AM, AN ARSON occurred on the 400 block of Industrial Parkway. An unknown suspect forced entry into a vacant business and intentionally started a fire. The building sustained minimal damage.

Tuesday, 9/9/14, approx 8:30 AM, AN AUTO BUGLAR/AUTO THIEF was arrested at a strip mall, on the 19000 block of Hesperian. Witnesses called the police when they saw a suspicious man loitering in the parking lot and peering into the window of a car, as if he was planning to break into it. When officers arrived, the suspect ran, but was found hiding in some nearby bushes a short distance away. Property which was taken from the burglarized car was found near the suspect and officers discovered the suspect drove there in a stolen car.

Tuesday 9/9/14, approx 1:00 PM, A LOADED GUN/METHAMPHETAMINE SEIZURE occurred in an apartment, at a complex on the 1200 block of C St. A 17 yr old female victim called a 3rd party to report that a man came into her apartment, pointed a gun at her and then ran off. The 3rd party (a counselor) reported this to police. Officers contacted occupants of a neighboring apartment and recovered a loaded gun and about 2.6 oz of methamphetamine. The suspect who brandished the gun was not present. The investigation continues.

Wednesday, 9/10/14, approx 12:45 AM, AN ARMED ROBBERY occurred on the 26000 block of Jennings. Two Hispanic Male Adults confronted the male victim in front of his house. One of the suspects pointed a gun at the victim and demanded his wallet and cell phone. The victim gave it to them and they fled in a silver Toyota Corolla, with paper plates, which was occupied by two other Hispanic Male Adults.

Wednesday, 9/10/14, approx 8:50 AM, A MOTORIST COLLIDED WITH A POLICE CAR at Harder/Jane. The motorist entered the intersection against the red light and struck a police car already in the intersection. It was a low speed collision and no injuries were reported.

Wednesday, 9/10/14, approx 11:40 AM, SUSPECTED EXPLOSIVES RECOVERY occurred on the 30000 block of Industrial Parkway. A metal recycling business called police when they found what appeared to be an explosive device (mortar rounds). The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit responded to assist and ultimately determined the device was inert.

Wednesday, 9/10/14, approx 11:10 PM, AN ASSAULT WITH A FIREARM/NEGLIGENT DISCHARGE OF A GUN occurred on the 22000 block of Montgomery. The male victim was walking on Montgomery from the BART Station, when he heard footsteps behind him and turned around. A Black Male Adult, about 5’9”, wearing his hair in a short Afro and a dark shirt and dark shorts, pointed a gun at the victim. The suspect shot at the victim several times. The victim fled and was not injured in the attack. The victim did not know the suspect and didn’t know why the suspect would shoot at him.

Thursday, 9/11/14, approx 3:50 AM, A COMMERCIAL BURGLARY occurred on the 23000 block of Mission Bl, at a fast food restaurant. A man making a delivery to the fast food restaurant saw the male suspect inside the business, in an area which was supposed to be closed/secured, so he called police. When officers arrived, they noticed the suspect broke a window to get into the business, so they surrounded it, before trying to contact the suspect. Meanwhile the suspect continued burglarizing the business, attempting to remove a cash register. The suspect was arrested.

Thursday, 9/11/14 approx 3:55 AM, A MOTORIST COLLIDED WITH A PARKED POLICE CAR at Watkins/Jackson. One of the officers investigating the commercial burglary, parked his patrol car on Watkins, near Jackson. An elderly male motorist accidentally rear ended the patrol car, pushing it up over the sidewalk and into a tree. The patrol car was unoccupied at the time and the motorist was uninjured.

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Sept. 11 events

Two events are planned Thursday in Hayward and Union City to remember Sept. 11, 2001.

A ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Flight 93 Memorial in Union City’s Sugar Mill Landing Park to honor the airliner’s passengers and crew who were killed in Pennsylvania. They were among almost 3,000 people who died in terrorist attacks that day.

Fremont Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci will lead the ceremony, and the passengers’ and crew members’ names will be read.

The park is at Alvarado Niles Road and Dyer Street, across the street from Union Landing shopping center.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Alex Giuliani Park, Mission Boulevard and D Street in Hayward. A corner of the park is the site of a proposed 9/11 memorial.