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A book with a powerful message

HAYWARD — In April, 30 volunteers handed out free copies of the book “The Language of Flowers” in Hayward to people who don’t normally read as part of World Book Night. On Saturday, Aug. 17, the book’s author will give a free talk at Hayward City Hall.

“Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is about Victoria, 18, who has aged out of the foster care system. She sleeps in a San Francisco park, where she plants a garden. The discovery of her garden leads to discoveries of herself.

In addition to sharing the book, Hayward Library’s Book-to-Action program focused on raising awareness about foster youth. The program connects reading a book with a civic engagement project.

Volunteers let the community know about Bay Area and national organizations that help foster youth, including The Camellia Network (co-founded by Diffenbaugh), Hayward-based Bay Area Youth Centers, Beyond Emancipation, First Place for Youth, Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), and Adopt a Special Kid, according to a release.
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Representatives of those groups will be at Diffenbaugh’s talk, which begins at 2 p.m. in Hayward Council Chambers, 777 B St.

Those interested in becoming a World Book Night book giver next year can sign up for the WBN mailing list at http://www.worldbooknight.org/ .

The Aug. 17 event is sponsored by the Hayward Public Library, the Friends of the Hayward Library, and the Book Shop on B Street. For more information, call 510-881-7700, email sally.thomas@hayward-ca.gov or visit http://library.hayward-ca.gov

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Hayward High band director steps down

HAYWARD — Bryan Holbrook, who has led the instrumental program at Hayward High School for several years, is stepping down and will instead teach elementary school music

Whoever takes over will have the proverbial big shoes to fill. Holbrook has built up the Hayward High music program and worked hard at community outreach, both within the district and the larger community. He has been tireless, working long hours and many weekends. The Hayward marching band has performed every summer at downtown’s last street fair of the season and at Light Up the Season. Holbrook has been recognized as Teacher of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and has also received district honors.

In a Facebook post, Holbrook said he wanted to be able to spend more time with his family.

The Hayward school board restored funding for the elementary school music program earlier this year. For the past two years, Holbrook had run an after-school elementary music program at the high school. The first year, the instructors volunteered their time, but this past year, the district compensated them.

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Local author, musician at Hayward library Saturday

author photo Amy Franklin-Willis high res

HAYWARD — A local author and a musician will combine their talents Saturday, June 15, at the Hayward Main Library.

Amy Franklin-Willis of Castro Valley will talk about her debut novel, “The Lost Saints of Tennessee,” and Andrew Castro will perform original songs inspired by Franklin-Willis’ book. The event starts at 1 p.m. at the library, 835 C St.

“The Lost Saints of Tennessee” tells the story of three generations of a working-class Southern family from the 1940s to the 1980s. Library Journal wrote in its review, “Franklin-Willis plumbs the depths of family dynamics, compassionately depicting her characters as they struggle with situations over which they have no control.” After losing his twin to a drowning accident and his wife to divorce, Zeke Cooper leaves his mother and two daughters in Tennessee and travels to Virginia, where he considers his responsibility to repair his fractured family.

Librarian Sally Thomas selected the novel for the Mostly Literary Fiction Book Group, which discussed it last month. “The novel provoked passionate discussion about love between parents, siblings and married couples, and the ways that our intentions to protect our loved ones go awry if secrets are involved,” she said.

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Art exhibit in South Hayward

HAYWARD — Sorry this is last-minute, but there’s a free art exhibit at Westminster Hills Outreach Center on Friday, May 3. It runs until 9 p.m.

The exhibit, called PLAY, is composed of repurposed and refreshed children’s toys and games, designed to reminder viewers of their own playful days.

There will be a reception for the artists from 5 to 9 p.m. at the center, 27287 Patrick Ave.

The exhibit is free, but items from the Homeless Angels’ on-site art and gift store will be available for purchase. Prices range from $5 to $25. The Homeless Angels project works to eliminate obstacles to self-sufficiency.

For more information, go to www.southhaywardparish.org/hcan.

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A quick tour of love gone bad

HAYWARD – Journalist Meghan Laslocky will explore heartbreak at a talk at the Main Library on Feb. 23.

Laslocky is the author of “The Little Book of Heartbreak: Love Gone Wrong Through the Ages.” In her book, she looks at love’s aftermath over the ages, from hell hath no fury love spats over the ages, odd spells cast by lovesick men in ancient Greece, to composer Johannes Brahms’ disastrous love life and modern matchmaking.

Laslocky’s free talk begins at 2 p.m. at 835 C St. Copies of her book will be for sale.

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Sherlock Holmes headed to Hayward

HAYWARD – Sherlock Holmes is on the case starting Feb. 14 at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre.

“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” by Steven Dietz combines two of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, “The Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Final Problem.” The production, based on the original 1899 script by William Gillette and Doyle, won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The whodunit previews Feb. 14 and opens at 8 p.m. Feb. 15, running through March 10. Tickets are $10 preview, $29 other performances, with discounts for seniors and students. A special Saturday matinee is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 2, followed by a “talk-back” session with the director and cast. Call 510-881-6777 or go to www.dmtonline.org.

If you haven’t been to the Douglas Morrisson Theatre at 22311 N. Third St. in Hayward, it’s a lovely theater, but it can be a little tricky to find. The website, www.dmtonline.org/Getting%20Here.htm, has fairly detailed directions, but a GPS or an old-fashioned map might not hurt. The theater used to be called Hayward Little Theatre, next to the Hayward Senior Center and Japanese Gardens. It’s run by Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.

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Mt. Eden student’s work on display in Washington D.C.

Jared Gochuico, a senior at Mt. Eden High School, earned high honors over the summer when his mixed-media work titled “Examination” was selected as winner of the 30th Annual Congressional Arts Competition. The piece is on display at the Capitol, along with other winners from across the nation.

Jared Gochuico said his work, "Examination," represents adolescence (done in grayscale) combined with the "childish, playful" colors of a Rubik's cube.

“As you can imagine, winning this award was no small accomplishment,” wrote his art teacher, Carrie King, in an email. “The competition was intense with only the very best work from the students from all over the East Bay on display. I’ve taught art at Mt. Eden for the past 19 years and I know that in that time no student from Mt. Eden has won this award. I am unaware of the last time (if ever) a student from HUSD has won. I’m very proud to be his teacher.”

She said on Tuesday that Jared is extremely talented but is also very disciplined and doesn’t coast on his skills. “He absolutely works harder than any other student I have had,” she said. “He won’t just put in partial effort and still get an A. So much of it is sweat.”

Jared and his family were flown to Washington DC courtesy of Southwest airlines in late June to view his artwork, which will remain on display in the Cannon Tunnel in the capitol building for the next year. Jared and over 430 winners from other districts, about 50 from CA, were in Washington DC to celebrate this national competition.

Read Rep. Pete Stark’s release after the jump. Continue Reading

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Plenty of events, starting tonight, in Hayward

Four days of outdoor events — street party, City Hall concert and Zucchini Festival — kick off tonight, here’s our story on that. Sean Brooks, the city’s economic development manager, said he expects to see a large turnout at the Friday concert because of former Tower of Power frontman Lenny Williams and Lava, a popular local Latin group that will also be performing at tonight’s street party.

“We had 100 to 200 people come to the concerts earlier this summer,” Brooks said. “Expecting more like 800 to 1,000 on Friday.”

Rich Essi, the general manager of the Zucchini Festival, said he expects one of the founding Pointer Sisters to be a draw to his event, which he said has been growing in recent years.

“It’s because of the economy,” he said. “People don’t go anywhere, they don’t like to spend the money on gas. So they’ll keep close to home.”

Asked about rumors that the festival is leaving town, he acknowledged that it’s something he has threatened to do because he feels the city doesn’t offer enough support and promotion of the event. But he said he has no plans to change the venue at this time.

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Calendar for week of May 16

Just announced: Hayward school board will have another meeting on board governance and goal setting from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the district office board room.

baby20possum11And if you’re concerned about close encounters with raccoons, possums or other esteemed representatives of wild Hayward, the Hayward Animal Shelter will hold an informative meeting on interacting with our native wildlife at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in room 2A at City Hall, 777 B St.

Remember, if you are interested in a more comprehensive list of Hayward government-related events, check out the City Clerk’s site, with links to the various agendas. This week, that includes Library Commission, Youth Commission, Downtown Business Improvement Advisory Board, Climate Action Management Team and a weekend cleanup event at Weekes Park. Continue Reading