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‘Survivor’ favorite talks about his TV time

"I took the crate, the big gorilla guys couldn't open it, I hit the corner on the ground and it broke open and suddenly I'm the genius."

Went to Monday’s meeting of the Hayward Rotary Club to gather information related to a story on fraternal organizations and service clubs. In attendance as guests were a couple of reality television stars from the “Survivor” series: Yau-Man Chan from the Fiji and Micronesia editions, and Vecepia Robinson, Hayward’s own contestant who took home the $1 million prize in Marquesas back in 2002.

It’s part of the Rotary’s efforts to bring in interesting speakers and in turn attract current Rotarians and prospective members to the meeting. More on that later, but Yau-Man definitely had the lunchtime crowd intrigued.

The MIT grad, chief tech officer at UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry and national table tennis champion was recruited by the show in an effort to increase the diversity of contestants. Young white men dominate the pool of people trying out, Chan said, and show producers discovered him on the American Table Tennis website. They had him take an aptitude test of sorts to see whether he’d be a good, entertaining Survivor candidate.

“They said I tested high in shyness,” he said. “I told them I may be shy on an American scale, but among Chinese people I’m your wild and crazy guy.”

He said show producers are very strategic in what they cut and what they keep for the final product, highlighting only certain character traits. As a result you’ll always see “the loudmouthed jerk, the buffed guy, the exhibitionist.” As for Chan, he was the “lovable old geek.”

Interesting tidbit: One of Chan’s accomplishments on the show was starting a fire using a lens from his glasses. This feat can only be done if you know the trick, which they never revealed on the show, undoubtedly leading to thousands of failed fire-raising attempts by spectacle wearers everywhere.

The trick, Chan said, is to put a drop of water on the convex side of the lens. That will result in the concave shape necessary to concentrate light. So now you, too, have the knowledge. Use it wisely.

 

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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 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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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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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

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Calendar for week of March 28

Artist207Yikes, once again I find myself a day behind on the calendar post. Here’s what we have/had on tap for the  week. Of note: There’s going to be a Hayward Cesar Chavez event and teach-in at at City Hall starting 5 p.m. Thursday, a new Hayward Arts Council exhibit opens Friday, also at City Hall, featuring the artists at right and for the next four Saturdays, Big Read events, again at City Hall. Continue Reading

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Hayward nightclub incident report/story update

Here’s that report from the city manager that was requested by Mayor Mike Sweeney following some incidents at Hayward nightclubs the last weekend in February. And to kill more topics in one post (been busy this week and haven’t had much of a chance to blog), we had a story on the noise ordinance moving forward and another on Caltrans’ preliminary finding regarding the Bunker Hill property it owns. Going back further, had some stuff on HUSD moving toward a qualified status, and here’s a related Katy Murphy overview of what schools are facing.

Back on the topic of nightclubs and downtown, I was talking to Councilman Mark Salinas the other day on unrelated matters, and he mentioned that restaurants down there have been booming on weekends. Said he tried to go to the Kokyo Sushi Buffet, found it packed, went to Buon Appetito, same story, and ended up waiting in a sizable line over at Chef’s Experience. Anyone else been out to eat on a prime night lately and seen an uptick?

Oh, and a final bite on the topic of Hayward eats, the Merc had a nice piece recently on the glorious milkshakes served by Val’s Burgers.

Without further adieu, find the nightclub info after the jump… The Discussion section cuts to the chase about what’s going on. Continue Reading

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Social networking blitz earns St. Rose a cool $10K

spectacularThere was a “Most Fabulous Event” contest from the party company that rents the big white tent that goes up for a week every year at St. Rose Hospital. The winner of the $10,000 prize  was determined by a tally of Facebook votes.

If you’re on Facebook and follow Hayward folks, you’d know all about this — it was hard to avoid being hit up to vote for St. Rose’s “The Spectacular” event, pictured at right. Competition was tough, and included some heavy hitters, but late last week St. Rose was informed that they prevailed. Here’s their press release. Continue Reading

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Concerns voiced after last weekend’s club violence

There were three nightclub related incidents last weekend: a shooting at a Mission Boulevard karaoke joint, shots fired and fights in the downtown area. There have been a couple other incidents on B Street in the past month, including a Pizza House employee being punched in the face and shots fired in the alley next to the building.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Sweeney asked the city manager to prepare a report on what’s going on. Fran David said she’s already talked with police as well as nightclub owners and will have that report for them by the end of the week, I’ll watch for it. Continue Reading