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Hayward chamber to honor persons of the year

From the Hayward Chamber of Commerce:

Hayward will honor recipients of the Educator, Firefighter, Police Officer and Business Person of the Year Award at the 68th Annual Hayward Chamber of Commerce Awards Celebration Gala on Jan. 28, 2012.

“This is one of Hayward’s great traditions, and a reflection of the esteem that this city has for those that make community service their priority,” said Kim Huggett, president and CEO of the chamber. “The fact that this event sells out every year says a lot about Hayward.”

Those to be honored are:

Julie McKillop, Business Person of the Year

Julie McKillop, owner and executive chef of Neumanali Restaurant and principal of McKillop Accountancy, will receive the Business Person of the Year Award. A lifelong Hayward resident and graduate of Cal State East Bay, she and husband Tim began a major redevelopment project in 2000 that became the upscale wine-centric Victorian-style restaurant Neumanali. Both her restaurant and accountancy business are located downtown, across from city hall. Her long record of public service includes serving on the boards of directors of Spectrum Community Services, the Hayward Historical Society, St. Rose Hospital and the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. She also served on the Hayward Planning Commission, the city’s Small Business Revolving Loan Committee, and she worked with the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment.

Hector Garcia, Educator of the Year

Hector Garcia has been an educational leader for 16 years, most recently as principal of Harder Elementary School. At Harder, he has worked with universities, public health and safety agencies in Hayward and Alameda County to leverage support, tutoring and professional development resources to transform Harder into a model school.  He initiated an arts program in Hayward in 1998 for elementary and middle school students called Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, which serves students and families throughout the East Bay. He served as director of curriculum and instruction at Alameda County Office of Education for five years, focusing on the needs of underachieving student populations and organized parent education forums throughout the county, utilizing parents as facilitators, leaders and advocates.

Captain Joe Stilwell, Firefighter of the Year

Hayward Fire Capt. Joe Stilwell discovered his love for the fire service as a young man when he joined the volunteer fire department in Chico. He became a paramedic, then a firefighter and joined the Hayward Fire Department in 2005. Early in his career with HFD, he noticed that the department’s ventilation saws were stalling during operations due to tar build-up. On his own time, he fabricated a metal guard to protect the motor, a feature now used throughout the fire service. He also developed new hose rollers for HFD equipment, saving the city considerable cost in maintenance and equipment. Embracing the HFD commitment to community service, he has worked on the annual Toys for Kids Program and the charity golf tournament. He has responsibility for the HFD’s popular 1923 Seagrave fire engine that is exhibited at community functions and which is representative of Hayward’s appreciation for its fire service and city history.

Faye Thomas, Police Officer of the Year

Officer Faye Thomas began her law enforcement career at 16, when she began volunteering at the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and, in 1999, was hired there as an administrative assistant. She later became a dispatcher and in 2009 became an officer with the Hayward Police Department. Over her two years in the HPD, she has consistently been a leader among her peers in arrests, citations and DUI suppression. In July 2010 she initiated a project  that led to an investigation of human exploitation and trafficking that involved nine Bay Area municipalities and three countries. Largely as a result of her work, 15 suspects were taken into custody and three victims rescued from human trafficking. Officer Thomas put herself through a Drug Abuse Recognition Course and Narcotic Investigators School and has taught coursework in drug trends and investigation to more than 100 HPD officers. She also is in demand as a speaker on child abduction issues and is a participant in Susan Komen Cancer Society fund-raisers. Her next goal is to obtain a law degree and earn a doctorate in international relations.

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Share your ideas for downtown Hayward at meeting tomorrow

The public’s input is being sought at a meeting tomorrow as the city aims to update its plan for downtown Hayward. Here’s today’s story, here’s the flier for the event and here’s the staff report from the Oct. 25 meeting when the idea was brought up to council.

One point that was omitted from the story because of space constraints is the downtown’s absentee landlords. Both the mayor and Councilman Marvin Peixoto said the city needs to do something to address the owners of buildings who seem to be uninterested in finding tenants.

“The worst gateway is the west side of Foothill, from Hazel on up,” Peixoto said. “Those people need to be contacted. They live outside the city and are not looking to put capital improvements into their projects.”

Mayor Mike Sweeney said some property owners “seem clueless about their business.”

“I don’t understand the strategy of why keeping buildings vacant for years on end, asking unreasonable rates from tenants, how that’s good for business,” he said. “Maybe we need to do mental health clinics for the owners there to bring them into the real financial world.”

Sweeney also cautioned that the loop of one way streets currently under construction in the area could prove to be a pitfall for some downtown ideas.

“If part of the vision for downtown is to make it walkable, I don’t see how it will help,” he said. “Especially Mission Boulevard, how is having five lanes of traffic going to help make downtown more walkable?”

Sweeney,  Olden Henson and then-councilwoman Anna May opposed the loop the last time it came up, in early 2009, when they wanted to revisit the idea. They were outvoted by the rest of the council.

The man and his magical musical machine

Final note: While lauding Buffalo Bill’s, Peixoto talked about how such family-friendly venues make great tenants and pointed at the late great Ye Olde Pizza Joynt (which technically sat on county property) as another example of such a venue. Brought back fond memories — I loved that place when I was a kid, especially when organist Don Thompson would bring the house down with the theme from Star Wars. Good pizza, too.  Place closed years ago after a fire, but there appears to be something in the works there these days and a source who inquired a crew there told me they’re putting in some kind of chicken restaurant.

Anyway, if you have some thoughts on downtown, would love to read them in the comments.

 

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It’s a Big Mike mystery!

Only Big Mike's big dirty footprints remain.

UPDATE: Story on Big Mike being found in Castro Valley.

Here’s our story on Hayward’s own Muffler Man disappearing from the Mission Boulevard spot where he’s stood for decades. I was first alerted to his absence by a keen-eyed reader last Thursday, and after talking with nearby merchants it sounds like that’s the same day he was chopped up and trucked off. They say it took about four hours to do the deed. For more on Mike and his brethren, this site is always worth revisiting for fascinating lore on Muffler Men and photos of all the variants.

So I’m hoping now that the story is out, someone will contact me and let me know what’s going on with Mike. Will let you all know if they do.

And yes, I am still here.

3

Know someone who needs a car?

Pit crew is not included.

Here’s a story about a Hayward auto shop that’s doing something nice. If you know someone who is as philanthropic as they are car-less, think about nominating them to win a set of wheels. As you can see, it’s a sharp-looking ride and has a Kelly Blue Book value in the $2,200 range. And if you know anyone in the auto repair business who would be interested in joining this national endeavor of giving away cars, direct them to the Wheels to Prosper website.

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Styrofoam ban — is it being enforced?

Got an email from a reader saying that although the city’s ban on polystyrene foam products at restaurants and other businesses serving food went into effect in July, he’s seen some of the nonbiodegradable culprits being used out there. I’m going to go take a look at the locations he specified, but has anyone else noticed noncompliance?

The ordinance was approved by council in October of last year.

From city’s website: Effective July 1, 2011, restaurants and all other vendors selling food at retail must use only paper, cardboard, aluminum or recyclable plastic cups, plates, bowls or trays.

This requirement applies to:

•Foods eaten at a business, packaged leftovers, or ordered “to go”

•Foods offered by a Hayward business that can be eaten without further preparation (e.g. cooked chicken, sandwiches or sushi)

There’s also a bill going through legislature that would take such a ban to the statewide level by 2016.

 

These are the bad boys we're looking for. Seen any around?


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Shop Hayward this weekend, get a gift bag

From the “better late than never” file, if you are planning on having a spendy weekend, do it in Hayward. There are some kickbacks:

The first 100 shoppers who spend a total of $100 or more at Hayward retailers or restaurants from Monday, 15th to Sunday, August 21st can claim a free sports pack of gifts consisting of a Back to School Hayward sports pack along with two free movie tickets to the Cinemark Theatre in Downtown Hayward, a $10 Gift Certificate from Southland Mall, a $5 Gift Certificate from Bijou in Downtown Hayward, and a $5 Gift Certificate from Shark Shack, in addition to some other gifts.

Click here for more information.

 

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1/4 lb. Giant Burger: The beef shall return

It's time for a giant makeover.

It's time for a giant makeover.

So it turns out the 1/4 lb. Giant Burger on Mission Boulevard is merely on a hiatus for renovations. I spoke with Kathryn Lee, a member of the Hahn family that owns the restaurant as well as others in Oakland, and she said that after 50 years it was time to do some major repairs. The floor and counter are all ripped out, and they will also make all facilities, including the bathrooms, updated to the latest ADA standards. What’s really exciting for the Mission corridor aesthetics is that they plan on refurbishing the big burger sign, which is looking pretty haggard there days but would be a nice retro beacon if restored.

Estimated time before you can get 1/4-pound beefed again: One month.

And as I mentioned in earlier comments but bears repeating, there will also be a Five Guys Burgers and Fries opening, possibly by the end of the year, in the Target shopping center at A Street and Hesperian.

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San Leandro “more walkable” than Hayward, according to study

The walkability index is a guide that rates cities and neighborhoods based on proximity to nearby amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, parks, and public transit. 

Here is Hayward’s data and a pretty cool map in which green is good and red is bad in terms of legging it around town. Notice that while the overall number isn’t very impressive, some areas of town are indeed very walkable according to their methodology. In particular, North Hayward is up there at 77, which isn’t bad considering the 85 rank enjoyed by the country’s two most walkable cities of New York and San Francisco. San Lorenzo also got a 58 overall score, while San Leandro was somewhat higher at 65. Castro Valley faired poor for walkers, with a score of 45.

Fun feature: Enter an address and find a walk score particular for where you are. I’ll have you know that the Daily Review’s address is a “Walker’s Paradise” with a score of 98. The Castro Valley neighborhood where I grew up rated a dismal, “Car-Dependent” score of 28, but I could have told you that it wasn’t much fun getting around pre-car without the rating. 

 Here’s the press release from Walk Score.

According to the website, “The 372 largest cities in California have an average Walk Score of 50. The most walkable cities in California are West Hollywood, Albany and San Francisco.  The least walkable cities are Mead Valley, Prunedale and Adelanto.”

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Your furry friend at Southland Mall

Southland security agent Benny strikes a pose.

All usage of the comfy couch must be approved by Benny.

Have you met Benny? He works security at Southland Mall, always on the patrol for suspicious activites while serving as a goodwill ambassador to shoppers. He’s not from around here — Benny is Dutch, with German heritage, so if Benny were to don traditional garb he’d be in wooden clogs and lederhosen. But Benny doesn’t go for such costuming, probably because he’s a dog. Press release:

K-9 BENNY IS COMMUNITY’S FRIEND AND SECURITY AT SOUTHLAND MALL

 
(Hayward, CA) – Everyone loves Benny the Dog, Southland Mall’s official security K-9.  He is no ordinary dog.  The four-year-old purebred German Shepherd has the important job of enhancing security at Southland Mall and providing an additional level of comfort for customers who visit the center. Continue Reading
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No grocery moratorium for Hayward

walmartletterUPDATE 5/9: Here’s the story, which came out over the weekend. Also, on Friday the city provided me the requested original Feb. 1 email from the union to Quirk regarding the matter, you can read it at right. The jist of it is that the union believes Wal-Mart is making a push to set up grocery stores in Hayward and the greater Bay Area. Here’s the union’s page on WalMart.

Just received word  that the proposed moratorium on Hayward supermarkets was shot down by the City Council at last night’s meeting, with Councilman Bill Quirk making the motion to oppose. I did not attend — had some furlough days lately, in case anyone was wondering about the lack of HayWord posts and diminished number of stories in recent weeks.

The video of the meeting has not been posted yet, but according to the City Clerk’s Office, staff was directed to go ahead with the study analyzing the effects of new groceries without imposing a moratorium. Here’s the staff report as well as letters from property owner, neighboring business, a union representative, the union’s lawyers, and lawyers for the property owner.