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Blues at the Hayward library

HAYWARD –Learn all about the blues at a free lecture and concert Wednesday evening at the Main Library.

The lecture is part of Blues Week, hosted by Bay Area Blues Society. The group which will be putting on the 15th annual Russell City Blues Festival next weekend, July 12-13, outside City Hall.

The blues society is dedicated to preserving and promoting the blues, jazz and gospel music and their interconnection with African-American culture.

After the lecture, Big Cat Tolefree and his Hipnotic Band will perform. Tolefree is a third-generation Russell City blues singer who has opened for the Temptations, BB King and Jimmy McCracklin.

The lecture and performance will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the library, 835 C St. For further information  call 510-771-7980 or go to www.library.hayward-ca.gov

The Blues Society also will have a festival kickoff party from 9 p.m to 1 a.m. July 11 and 12 at the Bistro, B and Main streets.

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Hayward historical society seeks volunteers for new center

HAYWARD — Downtown’s new Center for History & Culture is opening in early 2014, and the Hayward Area Historical Society is looking for volunteers to help staff it.

The society is holding an open house for potential volunteers from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10.

Volunteers are needed for admissions, tours and galleries. Admission volunteers will greet visitors and sell store merchandise. Guides will lead tours for groups and answer questions in the galleries. Training will be provided.

The open house will be at the society’s headquarters, 22380 Foothill Blvd.  Park in the lot behind the building.

For more details, email education@haywardareahistory.org.

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More cleanups scheduled

Three cleanups are planned for the unincorporated area.

On Saturday, volunteers will gather at Mervin Morris Park, Nielsen and Grant avenues in San Lorenzo, to pick up trash for Earth Day. The event starts at 8:30 a.m., ending with a free barbecue lunch at the park. Preregistration is requested at 510-276-4554. The event is hosted by Supervisor Wilma Chan and the San Lorenzo Village Homeowners Association.

On April 27, Supervisor Nate Miley and Friends of San Lorenzo Creek will join Castro Valley Sanitary District’s Earth Day Cleanup of the Castro Valley BART parking lot and Castro Valley Creek. There will be two staging areas: the CVS parking lot area, 3667 Castro Valley Blvd.; and Miley’s district office, 20993 Redwood Road.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. To sign up, go to www.cvsan.org or call 510-537-0757. For questions about parking, contact Anna Gee at 510-537-0757.

And on May 4, there will be a cleanup of the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those joining in are asked to take rakes, gloves and gardening equipment and meet at the corner of College and Usher streets. The cleanup is hosted by the Hayward Area Historical Society and the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery Friends.

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Annual Hayward Area Historical Society awards on Friday

The Selmeczki family outside their newly opened hardware store on Castro Valley Boulevard in 1926. From left, dad Pete, son Ernie, mom Mary and son Frank.

The Hayward Area Historical Society will hold its 13th annual history awards ceremony on Friday, and tickets are still available. We had a story on Pete’s Hardware in Castro Valley, which is being honored as a historic business.

This year’s other winners are Randy Wittorp for his work to restore his Tudor home on Prospect Hill in Hayward, the Hayward Municipal Band for years of summer concerts and other events, Hayward High teacher Peggy Hearne for her history-rich curriculum, Robert and Erica Campisi for their work to improve Cherryland and Meek Park, and Supervisor Nate Miley for his leadership in preservation efforts at the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery.

Find more information on all the winners in the HAHS press release after the jump. Continue Reading

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New veterans memorial being built in Castro Valley

Last weekend saw the groundbreaking of a the Castro Valley Veterans Memorial at Castro Valley Community Park. That’s the one on Lake Chabot Road near Seven Hills. Here’s the press release:

Castro Valley, CA – It was history in the making Saturday, March 3, 2012 as a dedicated band of volunteers and local dignitaries joined more than 200 members of the public to break ground on a permanent tribute to the sacrifices of military men and women: the Castro Valley Veterans Memorial. The Memorial, now fully permitted, is closer than ever to completion.

The Memorial will one day soon occupy a prominent corner of Castro Valley Community Park at Lake Chabot Road and Quail Avenue.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #9601 has been the driving force to bring the vision to reality, all in the name of commemorating those who have honorably served our nation and defended and continue to defend our freedom and way of life.

“I see this memorial as a salute to the military veterans of Castro Valley and Alameda County who have given so much to defend and protect this great nation, the United States of America,” said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

Supervisor Miley donated funds for part of the memorial that will signify the contribution of women, a “Rosie the Riveter” bench. His is one of the many generous contributions, including a $50,000 donation from the family of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Travis M. Amsbaugh. Sgt. Amsbaugh was a Castro Valley native who passed away on September 1, 2011.

Joining Supervisor Miley at the groundbreaking were State Senator Ellen M. Corbett, State Assemblyman Bob Weickowski,  Hayward City Council Member Bill Quirk, Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Director Dennis Waespi and East Bay Municipal Utility District Director Frank Mellon.

The  Castro Valley Veterans Memorial Committee acknowledges all of the major donors on its website at www.cvvm.info/sponsors. Committee members are: Michael L. Emerson, Patrick Flanagan, BART Board President John McPartland, Bob Pirone, Jim Uhlik, Art Benin and Mary Greenlee.

Although the committee has been successful in raising almost all of the required money,  more donations are still needed. Go to: www.cvvm.info for more information and to make a tax deductible donation.

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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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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.

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Nominees sought for history honors. Winners get an obelisk!

Here’s some news from the Hayward Area Historical Society. Each year, they honor local residents, organizations and businesses that are history minded, and for 2011 they’re seeking the public’s help in coming up with some candidates. They’d like to hear from you by the end of the mo nth.

Click on the link at left to cue the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The Daily Review received one in 2006, a few years before I landed at the paper. I took a photo of the black obelisk award, attempting for some kind of dramatic perspective.

Submissions can be made by mail:

ATTN: History Award Nominees

Hayward Area Historical Society

22392 Foothill Blvd.

Hayward, CA 94541-2710

By phone: (510) 581-0223 ask for Alison

By email: alison@haywardareahistory.org

Find press release after the jump, but feel free to also bounce some ideas around in the HayWord comments, too, it could be fun!  Continue Reading

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Faith Frazier, San Leandro councilmember and women’s advocate

From a April 13, 1974 story after Frazier was elected to the City Council.

From a April 13, 1974 story after Frazier was elected to the City Council.

We had a story in today’s paper about the passing of Faith Frazier. For space reasons, we couldn’t write more than that, but I received a lot of information that is included below. The bio is courtesy of former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young.

“I’ll tell you something,” said her son, Carl. “My mom has devoted more years in San Leandro to civic issues, political issues than probably anyone else other than Jack Maltester. My mom goes back to before the city was really a city.”

“She passed away peacefully at Kaiser Hospital last Sunday, February 20, 2011, with her family by her side,” wrote Young in an e-mail.  “She was an incredibly gifted woman who helped numerous people throughout her lifetime learn things about government and how it affects us all. She will be missed by scores of electeds throughout the city of San Leandro and Alameda County. Clearly, she was a legend in her later life and accomplished much by way of leadership and knowledge sharing.” Continue Reading

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Share your story for Hayward museum exhibit

It’s oral and written history time over at the Hayward Area Historical Society, where they want to hear your fondest memories of Hayward, Cherryland, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Mt. Eden, Ashland, Fairview or old Russell City. They’re putting together an exhibit for the new museum space, which is under construction in the former Kumbala building at Foothill and Russell in downtown Hayward. The exhibit, scheduled to open in the fall, will feature memories of residents tied to the Hayward area, both of the recorded and written variety.

We were just talking about good ideas for the Hayward mural, here’s another chance to share some of your treasured or poignant moments. Deadline is April 30.

Read some examples, find out how to submit after the jump. Bonus: Historical photos, courtesy HAHS! Continue Reading