18

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.

30

Hayward Daily Review will stay!

The Bay Area News Group announced that they are not eliminating all those local mastheads as previously planned, including the Hayward Daily Review. They’re also seeking community bloggers, so now’s your chance to step up to the plate. Find email to send inquiries to at end of story.

Now back to story on last night’s school board meeting, at which the new superintendent’s $229,500/yr three-year contract was approved in a 3-2 split vote amid accusations of racism. More on that soon.

4

‘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.

 

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.

2

Mt. Eden student’s work on display in Washington D.C.

Jared Gochuico, a senior at Mt. Eden High School, earned high honors over the summer when his mixed-media work titled “Examination” was selected as winner of the 30th Annual Congressional Arts Competition. The piece is on display at the Capitol, along with other winners from across the nation.

Jared Gochuico said his work, "Examination," represents adolescence (done in grayscale) combined with the "childish, playful" colors of a Rubik's cube.

“As you can imagine, winning this award was no small accomplishment,” wrote his art teacher, Carrie King, in an email. “The competition was intense with only the very best work from the students from all over the East Bay on display. I’ve taught art at Mt. Eden for the past 19 years and I know that in that time no student from Mt. Eden has won this award. I am unaware of the last time (if ever) a student from HUSD has won. I’m very proud to be his teacher.”

She said on Tuesday that Jared is extremely talented but is also very disciplined and doesn’t coast on his skills. “He absolutely works harder than any other student I have had,” she said. “He won’t just put in partial effort and still get an A. So much of it is sweat.”

Jared and his family were flown to Washington DC courtesy of Southwest airlines in late June to view his artwork, which will remain on display in the Cannon Tunnel in the capitol building for the next year. Jared and over 430 winners from other districts, about 50 from CA, were in Washington DC to celebrate this national competition.

Read Rep. Pete Stark’s release after the jump. Continue Reading

2

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.

8

Hayward spares arts, culture, 211 programs

There were some tough cuts to be made this year, and there will be more down the line, but the City Council opted to save funding for popular arts and culture programs – things like the Sun Gallery, Hayward Arts Council, Hayward Municipal Band, Russell City Blues Festival — in their budget meeting on Tuesday.

We reported earlier this year that those programs were in jeopardy due to threatened redevelopment funding take. Here’s a story on the latest incarnation of that, as passed by legislature. And here’s the pre-budget meeting story that has a little more information about why the city’s financial situation is what it is. Find the city’s budget presentation PowerPoint here. Other materials can be found on the agenda page here.

While the 211 dial up service was spared, other social service programs took a 17 percent hit. That figure came from an earlier estimate of how much the General Fund would have to be cut, but City Manager Fran David said since then, it has become clear that the situation is more dire. But, she added, cutting further into social services at this time would be no more fair than hitting up city employees now for the estimated 25 to 33 percent in concessions that may be required to stay in the black down the line. The city’s target with the unions is 23 percent over the next three years.

0

Le family looking for staging site for searches

UPDATE: They found a spot. Latest release from family:

Hayward, CA (June 14, 2011) – Almost three weeks into missing student Michelle Le’s disappearance, her family is calling on community supporters and volunteers to help conduct volunteer search parties this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 17-19) from 8am to 5pm. Our family’s goal is to reach out to get public help and support to finally bring Michelle home.

Our family is preparing to make a public statement on Thursday afternoon, June 16, 2011, regarding the search parties. Future details will be easily accessible on Facebook, as well as www.michellelemissing.com

KlaasKids Foundation Search Director Brad Dennis will be collaborating with professional and experienced search and rescue parties to adequately train and prepare volunteers. Details of the search will be provided to the volunteer search parties each morning at the command center.

Volunteers are required to be 18 years or older, must have a valid government ID, and must wear appropriate clothing (long-sleeved shirt, pants, closed-toed shoes). If volunteers do not meet these requirements, or choose to opt out of search parties but are still wanting to help, they are welcome to assist in the command center.

The command center is located at 25350 Cypress Ave, Hayward, CA.

erev0611lecampaign02The family of missing nursing student Michelle Le is hoping to find a business or organization that can offer up a space on the cheap for use as a staging site for search parties this weekend. They are working with Marc Klaas’ foundation, and have some experts coming in to help organize and conduct the searches, which are being done in conjunction with Hayward police. They’re hoping to have a place lined up ASAP, like today. If you want to help, contact the family through their website. Message from the family:

Hi everyone,
We’re planning either search parties or more flyer distribution days. We’re thinking Fri
day, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re in contact with people trained in search and rescue so we’re going to do it big and its going to be organized. So if if you could please free up one or multiple days out of your weekend, that would be amazing.
 
We are in the process of planning a few search parties very soon and would like to ask the community for help in finding a staging area. The staging area is needed for search personnel to gather and organize the search. We would like the the staging area to be in or around Hayward/Union city and can be something like a community center, church, etc; somewhere large enough for a large group to meet. Preferably, the staging area should be indoors, with a parking lot for search personnel, and electricity for computers/printers.
 
We would like to ask for a place that can be donated for us to use for a couple days or at a very cheap rate. If anyone has any suggestions or offers, please let us know!
 
 
Thank you so much,
Michelle’s Family
www.michellelemissing.com

26

Anti-bullying program at Hayward schools

Had a story on this program spearheaded by Lynn Bravewomon in yestesday’s paper and got a request to toss up a blog about it for discussion purposes.

saysomethingcoverAlso got a call from Lea Lyon, who wrote a book in 2005 called “Say Something” that also encourages kids to take an active role in quashing bullying behavior at school. You can learn more about Lyon and her books on her website.

Here’s a little more on an anecdote mentioned in the story, from Bravewomon:

“With increasing frequency, as students learn how to speak up when bullying language is heard, they do so. There are stories of many students at many schools who are empowering one another to identify themselves as allies and speak up to their peers to stop bullying language. Student allies support the target by breaking the silence that so often occurs with the witnesses of bullying. One example occurred in an elementary classroom. Two girls overheard a passing and cruel comment muttered to this target by a child moving across the classroom.  They both stood up and clearly stated, “We don’t tolerate bullying at our school, it hurts everyone who hears it, stop it now.”  Students and teacher alike were surprised and impressed with this well-timed and effective display of ally behavior. Their teacher, who had been working with the Safe and Inclusive Schools Program and teaching the importance of being allies, praised the girls and continued teaching. The student who had been the target of bullying  reports that after 2 or 3 weeks of support from a variety of allies in his class, the occurrence of bullying fell from multiple times daily to ‘maybe one time in a week, maybe less’. This student also reports he feels comfortable going to all parts of the recess yard and that people are friendlier.”