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Live barn owl webcam at Sulphur Creek Nature Center

Two barn owls, that's whooo!

UPDATE 4/9: Got this from Wendy on Thursday, haven’t had a chance to blog. 

“Just a quick up date on the Owl Cam at Sulphur Creek. Five eggs have hatched to date and we expect the 6th egg to hatch on Good Friday, April 6th.  All the babies seem to be doing well.   The male had been bringing in food at night and mom has been patiently feeding the little babies (owlets) little pieces of rodent that the dad brought in.   The owl cam has been a huge success.   Since put onto the web three weeks ago, we now have had over 35,000 hits by 4,000 viewers from 25 countries.  Images of the babies show that the owlet the first hatched is substantially bigger than his siblings, but all are doing well.”

Feel like snooping on some feathered friends? Sulphur Creek Nature Center set up a camera to record what’s going on with a pair of wild, nesting barn owls and their six eggs. They expect them to hatch any day, and you can take a real-time peek at what’s going on right now on the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District website.

The small camera was placed in a nesting box that is used every year, said Wendy Winsted, an coordinator at the center. It is equipped with infrared light, so activity in the box can be watched 24 hours a day.

Winsted said the first egg is expected to hatch between now and Monday, and the others will follow at two-day intervals.

That’s different than for, say, ducks, because owls lay an egg and immediately start incubating it, Winsted said. Ducks also lay an egg every two days or so but wait until they’re all done before they incubate the lot of ‘em. So they all hatch at once.

With owls, Winsted said, the first egg out will contain an owl with considerable advantages over its peers. It will always be the one that’s a bit bigger.

Winsted is very excited about the owl-cam, and said they tried something similar  years ago with a system wired to a VCR. But going public with it brings an all new element.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Winsted said, adding that technological assistance was provided by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park Department, funding from the Castro Valley Rotary Club.

More info on press release after the jump.

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2

Hayward fire Chief Craig Bueno to retire in May

City just sent out a press release, here it is:

HAYWARD FIRE CHIEF ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Hayward Fire Chief Craig Bueno announced his retirement Friday, March 16 after many years of dedicated service to the City of Hayward.  His retirement will be effective May 12, 2012.

Chief Bueno began his service with the City as a firefighter in 1985 and was quickly elevated through the ranks, serving as Apparatus Operator, Captain, and Battalion Chief before his promotion to Deputy Fire Chief in November 2006.  He began an acting assignment as the Fire Chief in December 2007 and was officially promoted to Chief in March 2008.

Then a battalion chief, Craig Bueno answers a call at Station 1 in 2002, when he was awarded the city's medal of valor for dragging a man out of a burning building. (File photo by Jane Tyska/staff)

“Chief Bueno has provided critical leadership to the Fire Department during challenging economic times for the City, while protecting and enhancing the quality of services provided by the Department.  I am grateful for his service and contributions to the Department and the community,” commented City Manager Fran David.

During his career, Chief Bueno was elected and served on the Executive Board of Hayward Firefighters IAFF, Local 1909 for 13 years, leaving as President in 1998.  He has also served as President of the Alameda County Fire Chief’s Association (ACFCA) and is currently serving as Section Chief of the ACFCA EMS section. Chief Bueno has also been very active in the Hayward community, serving on the St. Rose Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and actively participating in the Hayward Rotary Club.

In reflecting on his service to the Fire Department, Chief Bueno remarked that, “Since the beginning of this Administration, we have worked extremely close with Hayward Firefighters Local 1909 to address the fiscal crisis that struck our Country. I am proud to say that their selfless actions, not accepting a single raise in five years and not only paying the full share of their pension cost, but paying 6% of the City’s cost, are the reason we have been able to keep 100% of our service level to our residents. The relationship that I enjoy with our professional Firefighters is based on respect and trust. Our men and women are the finest the fire service has to offer. I know they will always do the right thing and have trusted them with my life many times.”

61

More info on Hayward City Council candidates

UPDATE: Here’s the story.

Our  story on who’s running for Hayward City Council come June should be posting online soon. And as promised at the end of the story, you can find more information on each candidate here, as collected from the City Clerk’s Office, candidate statements, websites and interviews. Candidates in order per Secretary of State’s randomized alphabet, starting after the jump.

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3

Downtown Hayward comings and goings

This week’s City Council meeting includes a presentation from the Cal Poly Technical students who have been working with the city to bring some fresh ideas to rejuvenate the downtown plan, some of which dates back to the ’70s. The students have a website soliciting input from the community; you have until March 20 to weigh in. Take a look at some of the ideas that are being floated over there and if you weigh in, cut and paste it over here for the HayWorders.  And the city also has a page dedicated to the downtown plan update with a lot of information.

Buffalo Bill's Brewery, which has been around since 1983, is one of downtown's success stories and owner Geoff Harries recently told city officials that business is better than ever these days. Here, manager Alex Caldeira doles out the good stuff. (Photo by Doug Duran/Staff)

Figured I’d use this as an opportunity for an update blog and clean out my notes of recently collected downtown stuff.

Here’s a story about a new owner taking over the Cinema Place property, which a lot of people are excited about. Here’s one about the ongoing roadwork in the area — the job is about halfway done and that controversial loop of streets is set for completion at the tail end of the project, about a year from now.

Recent downtown closures, openings and odds and ends:

Garry’s Donuts, the little shop kitty corner to the Bistro, closed after more than 20 years. A number of people cited an increase in rent as the reason. There used to be an older fella who enjoyed sitting outside the donut shop on warm afternoons — haven’t seen him since it closed.

Crepes de Art shut its doors on Foothill, and one of the sisters that opened it back 2009 said they’re still making crepes but on a catering basis only, without a storefront. The yogurt shop next door has been gone for a while, more recently Zuckersuss vacated its Cinema Place space, although you can still see a white baby grand piano inside. Foothill also took a hit with the closure of Montero’s Market, the big Mexican supermarket and taqueria.

The BBB Salon on B Street  held a blow-out sale a few weeks ago before also closing, building owner managed the shop and she said she simply doesn’t have time to spend running a clothing boutique that wasn’t making money. She added that the city is “too strict” in what uses they allow for downtown space, and said she could have rented it out to a popular S.F.-based boxing gym if the city had been receptive to such a use. “You have to accept whatever type of business wants to open,” Hong Do said. “After a while, once you have foot traffic, then you can pick the businesses that come in.”

Leather Odyssey also put up a clearance sign, but  is sticking around, although owner Glenn Marciel said it’s “really sluggish” right now and he’s in “survival mode.” He said the owners of the Odd Fellows building he’s in gave him a pretty good break on the rent and that’s the only reason he’s getting by.

Now some good stuff: We had a story on Vintage Alley and its friendly owners, and new burrito joint Avocado Freddy’s recently set up shop the old KFC building at that tricky E/Foothill/Mission intersection. Story on the Hayward Area Historical Society, which is well on the way to opening up their new space in the former Kumbala building, and have rented 6,000 square feet of space to a health services company. Turns out that was the spot that Big 5 Sporting Goods was eyeing a while ago, which fell through.

There’s a restaurant going in at the old Smith building on B Street, called KUPE Studio. It will be African-themed fare, with a bar. As you can see on the website, owner Richmond Apande originally wanted to open a spot with music, entertainment and dancing, but said he got in a “back and forth” with the city over his business and security plan and eliminated that part of KUPE. Now things are going smoother, he said, and he hopes to have it open in the next few months.

Also new on B: California Acupuncture Center and Herbal Shop. Around the corner on Main, the former Main Street Diner is now Bombay Masala Cafe, noticed a opening special of three beers for $10 so they might be aiming for the same college crowd that was attracted by the previous incarnation’s nightly specials.

That’s it for this round. Anyone see something else appear or disappear?

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The Armas Theorem: A proof to a parcel tax

While the Hayward Unified school board didn’t actually vote on whether to place a $58 parcel tax before voters come June, they indicated at Wednesday night’s public hearing that a majority of trustees support it.

Board President Jesus Armas laid it out in a manner reminiscent of a geometric proof, asking questions to hear givens from Asst. Supt. of Business Services Stanley “Data” Dobbs that led to his conclusion that yes, a parcel tax should be placed before voters.

Did state triggers recently mean another $900,000 hit to the district? Yes.

Has the district seen a loss of funding to the tune of $26 million over the past three years? Yes.

Has the district taken steps that could be considered Draconian to deal with those cuts? Yes.

Is an increase in classroom size one of the ways that the cuts have been reflected? Yes.

Have employees already made concessions? Yes.

“We’ve already grabbed all the low-hanging fruit,” Dobbs said.

“I have no reservations,” Armas said, adding that as leaders, they need to go forward with whatever measures possible within the district because the state has trashed public education funding to the point where it “is not acceptable.”

The tax would collect $58 annually from about 35,000 parcels in Hayward, with an estimated 5,000 opting for the senior exemption, according to Dobbs. That adds up to $2 million a year for the district, or $10 million over the life of the parcel tax.

While that’s not going to cover an ongoing $7.4 million deficit  cited in the staff report for this fiscal year, Supt. Donald Evans called it a “beneficially small yet significant first step to bringing the community together to support local schools.”

Trustee Maribel Heredia agreed with Armas, saying they “can’t wait for the state to do the right thing, we have to take matters in our own hands.”

Trustees William McGee and Lisa Brunner were also supportive, albeit with more reservations. Brunner said the tax must be coupled with an audit of programs so they can make sure the money is being spent wisely and not on things that haven’t been working. She compared it to a house that needs a new roof.

“You can add three roofs before you get rid of the old one, but sooner or later you’ll have to get rid of it,” she said.

Trustee Luis Reynoso said the district is wasteful and that the $2 million that would be reaped annually is about the same as what is “squandered.” He pointed to the hire of Asst. Supt. Francesca Sanchez in the fall as money that wasn’t budgeted but spent without due process, and said the district’s project bidding process is faulty. He also said that homeowners are in trouble, with many foreclosures and vacancies, and that it is also a period of underemployment.  He concluded that the tax “might be necessary, it might not be but the way it was put together was very fast and sloppy.” He said they should go to the community first, “find out their needs, not just look at bullet points on a poll.”

About a half dozen teachers and the head of the HEA spoke in favor of the tax. Opposition included John Kyle, who vowed to fight it and said trustees need to go after the parents of truant students.

The tax would need two-thirds approval. Draft text of what would appear on the ballot:

To protect critical education programs, with funds that cannot be taken by the State, including:

  • math, reading, writing and hands-on science classes/lab;
  • enhancing library services, technology and college preparation programs;
  • providing programs for all students to meet State academic standards; and
  • attracting and retaining qualified teachers;

shall Hayward Unified School District be authorized to levy $58 per parcel annually, for five years, with an exemption for senior citizens, mandatory citizens’ oversight and all money used for classrooms in the Hayward schools?

Story to come, vote is expected at the next meeting in March. The New Haven district decided this week to go ahead with a much larger parcel tax. Castro Valley trustees said earlier this year that they would not.

 

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Antiques appraiser comes to town

Guitars! Bayonets! Bling!

One of those gold/silver/antique and collectibles appraisers is in town through Saturday. If you end up going and get something appraised, let us know what it was and what they said. Here’s the press release and a photo of some of the stuff they’ve acquired so far from the Hayward stop.

ROADSHOW COMES TO HAYWARD!

February 14- February 18

Tuesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm

Hampton Inn

24137 Mission Blvd.

Hayward,CA94544

If you have gold, silver, antiques or other rare collectibles lying around your house, the Ohio Valley Refinery & Roadshow wants to see them!

The Ohio Valley Refinery & Roadshow is making a stop in Hayward this week in search of rare and unique collectibles. The refinery has the resources to pay top dollar for your gold, silver, and collectible items.  “Gold and silver markets have not been this strong for over 30 years,” states company spokesperson, Dennis Kouts. Continue Reading

5

HARD honors volunteer of the year

Volunteer Joel Ellioff and HARD trustee Louis Andrade at the honarary brunch on Jan. 28.

Joel Ellioff was honored with Hayward Area Recreation and Park District’s volunteer of the year award. He works at the senior centers, and is a volunteer driver for day trips, bringing seniors co museums and other cultural attractions. He also volunteers in the woodshop program and spends his lunch  break in the kitchen, serving up hot meals.

HARD has a honors a volunteer each month and then picks one from the 12 for this honor. Find a list of all volunteers of the month and more on Joel in the press release after the jump. Continue Reading

13

Greg Jones: Keep gang injunctions as priority

Former City Manager Greg Jones checked in with a letter to the editor, related to the City Council setting priorities for the coming year. Jones is concerned about diluting the core goals with the addition of “Green,” which was done last year, and a lack of interest in pursuing gang injunctions,  a hot topic at the Council priority-setting meeting in January. Here’s his letter:

To The Editor:

The Hayward City Council has been reviewing their priorities for 2012. I applaud their continuing efforts to ensure the focus remains on the right things, a process I began back in late 2007 when I arrived at the City. We built a strong, clear framework for how the resources of the City are allocated to service delivery.

Unfortunately, two things (among others) have occurred to weaken that clarity first established almost five years ago:

1. The two overriding priorities of Public Safety and Cleaning Up Hayward have been diluted by the addition of a third overriding priority of “greening” Hayward. This has distracted the organization from the core services that first have to be delivered above all others. Conservation efforts have always been emphasized at the City through a number of actions and policies, but serve as a support of the other two priorities. Each of us has a personal responsibility to assist in meeting environmental challenges to be sure, and local policies enhancing that ability should be carefully considered. I want my elected Council to stay focused on the most concerning and immediate of issues: Safety and Cleanliness!

2. The Gang Injunction Program, a priority articulated when I arrived that has languished for the past four years, has lost Council support. Interestingly, it is members of Council running for reelection that shrank from their commitment to continue to strengthen our public safety efforts. Olden Henson is the lone supporter of the Gang Injunction Program running for reelection. Mayor Sweeney and Council member Marvin Peixoto also support forging ahead with the effort. The others have gone eerily silent in supporting this important policy decision. A number of very effective initiatives have been implemented, but the Gang Injunction Program is a crucial element of a comprehensive strategy for curbing crime.

The community supported Measure A, the Utility User’s Tax, to maintain public safety and to clean up Hayward. We need a Council that will stay true to that commitment. We certainly have NOT reached our goal of a “safer” Hayward nor have we “cleaned up” Hayward to the point we can move on to other issues that could be considered as important.

Let your City Council know you want them to stay the course. Let’s getHayward safe and clean before we start distracting ourselves with other less specific and measurable endeavors.

Greg Jones

Former City Manager, City ofHayward

City of Hayward Resident