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Food for thought

CASTRO VALLEY — While many think of St. Patrick’s Day as a time for wearing of the green, the community is invited to be green in eating habits at the same time.

A free screening of the documentary “Forks Over Knives” is planned for this coming Sunday, March 17, at the Castro Valley Library.

The film will focus on how a low-fat, plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and autoimmune diseases while helping the planet.

Snacks will be provided, and a short discussion will follow the film, sponsored by Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church.

The event begins at 1:30 p.m. at the library, 3600 Norbridge Ave., Castro Valley.

Posted on Sunday, March 10th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Environment, Fairview, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City | 1 Comment »

Hayward school board considers sending pink slips to all principals, vice principals

A proposal to send out potential layoff notices to all Hayward Unified principals and vice principals will be taken up by the district trustees on Wednesday, March 13, their last scheduled meeting before the state-mandated March 15 deadline.

Trustees talked about the idea for more than two hours this past Wednesday without taking action. But before they went into closed session, they got an earful from angry teachers who said the notices would be demoralizing. Several teachers spoke about how after years of high turnovers of principals, the district seemed to be moving forward and there was starting to be a sense of stability and team-building.

All of the principals and vice principals were evaluated, and the school board earlier approved dismissal notices for five principals and two vice principals. However, the notices discussed this past Wednesday would go to administrators who received good reviews. An email that was sent to administrators said the move would allow the superintendent more flexibility in any restructuring.

Several people said it appeared that the board had taken action of some form in closed session without reporting it, resulting in allegations of lack of transparency. Trustees are not allowed to disclose closed-session discussions.

Trustees only allowed 20 minutes for public comment, and limited each speaker to one minute at Wednesday’s meeting. Board president Will McGee, with the approval of the rest of the trustees, extended the comment period so that everyone who had asked to speak could.

The meeting was packed, with the conference room where trustees were meeting full and others in an overflow room.

Under the state Brown Act, trustees could not respond to comments made.

Sending out pink slips, as it is commonly referred to among educators, to all principals and vice principals in a school district appears to be an unusual move. It is true that Oakland did it a couple of years ago, but that district was having to close schools for financial reasons, and it didn’t have a plan in place by the March 15 deadline.

Those I spoke to at several state agencies and groups said sending out the notices was not something that they tracked, but many agreed informally that it seemed to be out of the ordinary. None would go on the record, because they didn’t have any data, but a spokesperson at one expressed surprise that pink slips would be sent out for reasons other than financial.

Hayward, like all school districts, is preparing its students for state standardized testing that will start soon. The district also has begun contract talks with its teachers union. Many of those who waited outside the more than two hours of closed session expressed concern that sending out the pink slips could disrupt things at an important time for Hayward schools.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. at Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.

Posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, Layoffs, Schools, Union City | 9 Comments »

Girding for the Hayward traffic loop

The city of Hayward has started its campaign to let people know that some downtown streets will become one-way on March 15.

The city hired someone to put together an explainer that is going in water bills and is online. It contains some interesting statements: “The Loop is easy!” “The Loop is a small change with a BIG new look for Downtown!” “Easy Access to all Downtown Businesses.” Hmmm.

There also is a typo in the insert that was sent out to many water customers and on big signs along Mission Boulevard between A and B and near the main library: It refers to Off the Gird. As gourmet food truck followers know, that should be Off the Grid.

In fairness, a Hayward official said the typo was pointed out by city staff. But apparently not soon enough.

The city also has made a video explaining the loop. It has little colored cars speeding through downtown with cheerful music in the background. The voice-over refers to “the downtown one-way traffic circulation, or the ‘loop’ as it’s more affectionately called.” Gosh, I can’t remember the loop and “affectionately” being used in the same sentence.

Check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=09hSr8GlPq4&feature=youtu.be. There’s also a link at http://user.govoutreach.com/hayward/faq.php?cid=14252, but I couldn’t get it to load.

(Sorry, but I have not been able to get links to work on this blog. Working on it.)

Starting March 15, Foothill will be one-way north between its intersection with Jackson Street-Mission Boulevard up to A Street. A will be one-way west between Foothill and Mission, and Mission will be one-way south from A down to the Jackson-Mission-Foothill intersection.

Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Castro Valley, Fairview, Hayward, San Lorenzo, Transportation, Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

Mountain climber to give talk in Castro Valley

CASTRO VALLEY — A Castro Valley High graduate who became a mountaineer will share some of his adventures March 15.

Marty Schmidt, who now lives in New Zealand, is a certified mountain climber and guide. He has ascended some of hte world’s highest peaks without bottled oxygen.

He will be showing some photographs and talk about his climbs on Mount Everest, Makalu, Gasherbrum 1 and 2, and other peaks.

Schmidt’s presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts, 19501 Redwood Road.

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Under: Castro Valley, Fairview, General, Odds & Ends, San Lorenzo, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Big flea market planned in Castro Valley

CASTRO VALLEY — More than 55 vendors will be selling items at a flea market March 2 at the Kenneth C. Aitken Senior and Community Center.

There also will be a snack bar and a bake sale with homemade treats at the flea market, which runs 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 17800 Redwood Road.

The event is being hosted by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. For more details, call 510-881-6738.

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, General, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo | No Comments »

Update on the loop

The one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward is scheduled for early March, according to the city’s website. I am working to get a more precise date, since March is less than three weeks away.

What’s involved: Massive traffic signal bridges that are being fabricated to order in Utah have to be shipped here. That entails getting permits to drive uber-wide loads through several states.

Once the bridges are here, there’s no good place to store them – we’re talking really wide – so they probably will go up pronto, though “pronto” still will take some doing and time. The bridges will span intersections along Foothill. The foundations (which run deep) were constructed earlier; remember those plywood boards for pedestrians near traffic lights? The foundations have been filled with asphalt for pedestrian safety. The bridges couldn’t be ordered until the foundations were constructed. It’s complicated, but Foothill is an old street, and the underground pipes and conduits aren’t always where the blueprints say they are, so each bridge’s specs are different. The asphalt was temporary and will be dug out.

Final paving of the loop – Five Flags north on Foothill to A Street, left on A to Mission Boulevard, south on Mission back to Five Flags – and lane striping will be needed, so, combined with installation of the signal bridges, we’re looking at major road closures and detours coming up. And you thought traffic was bad now!

Next week: According to city’s website, expect lane closures on Mission and Foothill, mostly Mission from Industrial to about Moreau High School both ways and Mission from Jackson Street to Highland Avenue, both ways.

The good news: Driving down Mission, big stretches are finished except for landscaping. The roads are smooth, and the ugly utility poles are gone. The lights look great.

Posted on Saturday, February 9th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Transportation, Uncategorized, Union City | 11 Comments »

Fundraiser for Lighthouse Community Center

What sounds like a fun event Saturday will benefit the Lighthouse Community Center of Hayward. Viva Las Vegas casino night starts at 5 p.m. at the Hayward City Hall Rotunda.

Entertainment includes Sasha Stephane as Cher, the Golden Follies and the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus.

It’s $25 advance, $30 at the door. If advance tickets are still available, you can get them at the Lighthouse Community Center, 217 A St., Hayward; Curly’s Place, 2059 B St., Hayward; and www.eventbrite.com.

Tickets get you $100 in gaming chips plus gourmet food, and there will be a cash bar. You must be 21 to attend.

The Lighthouse Community Center serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community of Southern Alameda County.

For more information, email bobnsl@aol.com.

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

The loop cometh

This loop’s for you

Those words were said in jest at a meeting Thursday to update folks on the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project through Mission Boulevard and downtown, but they are a reminder that love it or hate it, the one-way traffic loop through downtown Hayward is coming soon.

At the meeting Thursday, city project manager Kevin Briggs said the loop will be put in place in March, though he did not yet have an exact date. A big unknown is when the massive signal bridges that will span Foothill will arrive. Deliverers of the bridges, which are being fabricated to order in Utah, have to get permits to drive the wide structures down roads in several states. Stay tuned.

Hayward staff members have been saying “spring” for when roadwork will be finished, but remember, spring is through late June. The delays have not been intentional; some have been weather, some have been the result of digging up streets and finding unexpected things underground (Hayward downtown is really old and maps aren’t always accurate; some have been because some water and gas lines were not set deep enough. Talking with city officials, it seems they would like for this to be finished ASAP.

Paving on south Mission is supposed to finish next week, so with any luck, traffic will improve in that area. And city staff members are aware that traffic is slow; Briggs was stuck on Mission Thursday trying to get to his meeting at City Hall.

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Under: Castro Valley, Fairview, Hayward, Other unincorporated areas, Transportation | 8 Comments »

Free massages for those 60 and older

Are you 60 or older and do you live in the Hayward-Castro Valley-San Lorenzo area? If so, you can sign up for a free 10-minute massage by a trained massage therapist. The massages, held the second Monday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m., are by appointment only. They will be given at the Kenneth C. Aitken Senior and Community Center, 17800 Redwood Road. Call 510-881-6738.

The massages are only one of the many things going on at the Hayward Recreation and Parks District. The Aitken Senior Center is organizing a day trip to Cache Creek casino Feb. 6. Cost is $33 for HARD residents, $43 for others. Call 510-881-6738.

The center also is hosting a flea market March 2. Tables are on sale now for $25 residents, $35 others.

And there’s a new exhibit at the Adobe Art Gallery. The A.R.T. annual members exhibit runs through March 2. The gallery is at 20395 San Miguel Ave., Castro Valley. For details, contact adobegallery@haywardrec.org.

The Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center is hosting an exhibit of artistic walking sticks by Rick Boreliz, “Take Art for a Walk,” through March 3. Call 510-670-7270 for more information.

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Calendar, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Entertainment, Fairview, Hayward, San Lorenzo | 3 Comments »

Dogs in the park

We’re hearing a lot from folks regarding dogs running off-leash in Hayward Area and Recreation District Park parks, specifically East Avenue Park in Fairview. Currently, dogs must be on leash at all HARD parks and facilities except in designated dog parks, but the district board is looking at the rules after an East Avenue resident called them too strict.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_22388687/hayward-park-district-look-at-off-leash-dog

The callers/emailers have been split between those who favor looser rules and those who have had bad experiences with dogs at East Avenue Park. And everyone seems to have strong opinions.

We don’t envy HARD directors or staff as they wrestle with the issue, which was brought up during public comments at Monday’s board meeting. The controversy over the size of the Duck Pond in the master plan for San Lorenzo Community Park, aka the Duck Pond, which drew large crowds to HARD board meetings, may end up seeming relatively minor.

Related: Because of an editing error, some printed versions of the off-leash dog story in the Daily Review incorrectly said that Alameda County and Hayward allow dogs to be off-leash in public spaces. Not true. Both the city and the county prohibit dogs off-leash except in designated dog parks.

Our apologies to HARD staff members, who already are dealing with a headache.

Posted on Sunday, January 20th, 2013
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, General, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo | 2 Comments »