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San Leandro: Volunteers, donations needed for homeless warming center

SAN LEANDRO — Some San Leandro nonprofits are trying to open a warming center to provide shelter for the homeless this winter on cold and rainy nights.  They have the support of the city, but they need help.

A meeting is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 22, to explain the program. The nonprofits need volunteers and donations. Please read their press release below about this urgently needed warming center to help the less fortunate.

Questions? Contact Building Futures with Women and Children, 510-357-0205, www.bfwc.org.

SAN LEANDRO – In October, the City of San Leandro formed a Homelessness and Housing Task Force. The Task Force was convened as a human response to the needs of San Leandro’s unsheltered, chronically homeless residents. Members include the City of San Leandro, Interfaith Task Force/April Showers, Building Futures, and Davis Street Family Resource Center.

Last winter when temperatures dipped several times below freezing, seven Bay Area homeless people—including one Hayward man—died on the streets. San Leandro has about 50 homeless people who live outside. Some are senior citizens. Many have long histories of homelessness and a high level of vulnerability.

This winter, April Showers/Interfaith Homeless Network and Building Futures aim to identify and reach out to these people, and provide overnight shelter in a three-month “Warming Center” during rainy or very cold weather.

On nights when the weather is forecast to be 38 degrees or colder or rain is predicted, the Warming Center would be open. The Center would be overseen at all times by the project’s paid Outreach Coordinator, supervising at least two Building Futures’ staff members associated with the project, and by the community volunteers staffing the Warming Center.

All guests will be pre-screened. This is not a drop-in center.

An important meeting will be held at First United Methodist Church (1600 Bancroft Avenue)  on Saturday, November 22 from 10 am to 11:30 am.

The meeting will provide an overview of this critically needed initiative, and outreach to prospective volunteers. Many volunteers are needed to staff the Warming Center, secure the donation of food, bedding, sleeping mats, jackets, scarves, and socks, collect/cook/serve dinner and breakfast to go.

The hope is that the San Leandro faith communities and service groups will enthusiastically embrace this ministry. Interfaith Homeless Network/April Showers has twelve years of service to unsheltered homeless persons here in San Leandro.

The seed that was to become Building Futures was founded by faith volunteers and the community at Saint Leander Catholic Church in 1986. Today Building Futures brings to this project expertise in running three emergency shelters.

Based upon the similar program which has been successfully running in Fremont, we anticipate the Warming Center being open about 50 nights during the three-month pilot period beginning in early December.

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Hayward holiday boutique fundraiser Nov. 21-22

HAYWARD — A holiday boutique fundraiser Nov. 21 and 22 will benefit SOS/Meals on Wheels.

More than 20 local craftspeople will sell jewelry, paper crafts, clothing and specialty food. The Meals on Wheels chef will be preparing meals, and a cookbook compiled by the nonprofit group can be purchased. A raffle also is planned.

The boutique will run from noon to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Hill & Valley club, 1808 B St.

SOS/MEALS on Wheels serves residents in Hayward, Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Oakland. The agency delivers 1,200 meals daily to home-bound seniors, according to its website.

 

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San Leandro gets $1.4 million grant to upgrade parks

SAN LEANDRO — The city has received a $1.4 million state grant to upgrade two parks and create an interactive art exhibit downtown.

The city plans to replace playground equipment at Siempre Verde Park. It also will upgrade the park’s group picnic area to meet federal disability access requirements.

Thrasher Park’s playground equipment also will be replaced and a taller safety fence will be erected to prevent balls from entering the play area. The park has a softball field.

The city will install a science-based interactive art exhibit at Joaquin Plaza downtown. San Leandro is partnering with San Francisco’s Exploratorium on the project.

Work on the parks will begin in 2016. The grant was awarded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development through its housing-related parks program.

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San Leandro police looking for advisory board members

From San Leandro police:

SAN LEANDRO — The police department is seeking community members interested in making a difference by joining the Police Chief’s Advisory Board.

This board is made up of community members who represent the many segments of our city. The board was created in 2013 to act as a community resource for the police department and police chief in the formation of public safety strategies, development of community policing concepts and increasing public awareness.

The board is intended to provide a forum for discussions concerning community concerns, and the goal is to have a broad spectrum of viewpoints represented.

The role of board members include (but is not be limited to):

• Act as a sounding board for the police chief regarding community needs and concerns, as well as provide community feedback to proposed police programs and priorities.

Apprise the police chief of the community’s need for police services and feedback on the delivery of services

• Assist in educating the community about the function and role of the police.

• Attend monthly meetings at the police station.

Meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. To participate, you must be a San Leandro resident or business owner.

Those interested can apply on the city’s website at:

www.sanleandro.org/depts/pd/programs/chiefs_advisory_board.asp

Or call Capt. Ed Tracey at 510-577-3249.

The community plays a key role in public safety and keeping San Leandro safe,” Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli said.

“Bringing police and community members together on a regular basis is critical to our service delivery and mission. I continue my commitment to building positive relationships throughout the community and leveraging those relationships to improve the quality of life and safety in San Leandro,” she said.

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San Leandro wants to hear from residents about how they want the city to evolve

From the city of San Leandro

SAN LEANDRO — Residents are invited to attend upcoming community meetings to share ideas for San Leandro’s future growth and development.

The meetings are part of the City’s General Plan Update, a two-year effort designed to guide long-range growth and development in San Leandro over the next 20 years.

Key elements to be discussed include land use, transportation, and
recreation/open space. Public meetings have been set for the following dates:

Thursday, October 23 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, at the San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street

Tuesday, October 28 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Boulevard

Both meetings will follow the same agenda and include the same materials, so those interested in participating need only attend once.

The meetings will include a short presentation, followed by audience input on a variety of topics, from the “look and feel” of San Leandro, to issues such as climate change, traffic congestion, density and building heights, shopping choices, and the quality of parks and city services.

Interactive exhibits and displays will be provided, and staff will be on hand to answer questions. Light snacks will be served.

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San Leandro panel to tackle veterans’ challenges Friday evening

From the city of San Leandro:

SAN LEANDRO — The Main Library is holding a panel discussion Friday, Oct. 10, on issues facing veterans as they return home from combat and transition to civilian life.

The discussion will be 7 to 9 p.m. Oct 10 in the Lecture Hall of the Main Library, 300 Estudillo Ave.

Star Lara of Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit that provides wrap-around care for more than 2,000 veterans in the Bay Area, will moderate the discussion.

The panel will have five veterans who will talk about their experiences as well how they now help other veterans transition to
civilian life.

The panel is part of the library’s California Reads 2014 project, “War Comes Home.” It is focused on the veteran experience, aiming to increase understanding and empathy for those who have served, as well as to spark a conversation on how we can best support veterans.

For more information, contact Mary Beth Barloga at 510-577-3992.

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San Leandro crime is down, police report

A press release from San Leandro police:

SAN LEANDRO –For the past few weeks, the SLPD has continued to serve our community with pride and professionalism.

Between September 7 – 21, public safety dispatchers have received 3,571 calls from the public, resulting in the following:

• 2.348 calls for service were dispatched that officers responded to.
• 346 police investigations were conducted.
• 104 arrests were made of persons suspected of criminal activity.

To date this year, police report that crime has decreased by 4% from this time last year, with a total of 3,110 part 1 crime reports being reported to the SLPD. Part 1 crimes include homicide, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.

SLPD is pleased to report that robberies and burglaries are down 27% each, and credit proactive police work and community engagement with these successes.

“I credit the decrease in crime to teamwork. We have a very engaged community, who continue to call us when they see something out of the ordinary and this leads to arrests,” said Lt. Robert McManus.

Additionally, police are solving cases through the use of video surveillance cameras. So far, 55 residences and businesses in San Leandro have registered their private systems with the SLPD, which has proven not only to be an effective deterrent to crime, but also a technological tool to assist detectives in solving cases.

Unfortunately, auto theft has increased 6% since last year. Between August 21st and September 15th, 44 vehicles were stolen in San Leandro. 33 vehicles stolen in San Leandro, were recovered by SLPD officers and officers throughout the Bay Area during that period. SLPD’s “oldest” stolen car recovered during this time was stolen in April. SLPD officers also recovered 25 cars in San Leandro that were reported stolen to other police agencies during that time period.

This past weekend, officers made arrests during 3 separate auto theft investigations throughout the city. Two of the cases were a direct result of the ALPR computer system alerting officers to stolen cars. The third case is credited to an observant resident.

On Sunday afternoon at 1:30pm, a resident in the 200 block of Julius St. called police to report someone sleeping in their car in the residential neighborhood. The car was not known to the neighborhood, and when officers arrived, they determined that the Honda Accord had been reported stolen to the Oakland Police a few days earlier. The driver, who was asleep in the car, was identified as 37 year old Cyrus Benaventura of San Francisco. Benaventura was also found to have outstanding arrest warrants, including one for auto theft.

Of concern to police is the amount of guns that have been taken from criminals since January 1st. To date, officers have seized 88 firearms, 63 of which were deemed evidence in criminal investigations. The other 15 were taken for safe keeping during domestic violence and mental-illness investigations, or submitted for destruction, as the owner no longer wanted them. This high number does not include the look-alike firearms that officers recover on a regular basis, like one that was recovered from a group of teens at Bayfair Center on Sunday afternoon.

At about 3:05pm, officers were dispatched to the Wing Stop restaurant at Bayfair Center for a report of 5 teenagers passing a handgun around. When officer arrived, they contacted 5 boys who were 16 and 17 years old from Antioch and Oakland, who were armed with a BB pistol resembling a semi-automatic pistol. The boys turned the look-alike gun over to officers and contacted each of their parents about the dangerous situation that they were involved in. Police will use the look-alike gun for training purposes, both for their staff and during community presentations.

Lt. Robert McManus is proud of the service that the SLPD provides to the community stating, “Members of the San Leandro Police Department are committed to making San Leandro the best and safest city possible for those that live, work and visit our community. We value the support of our community and the strong partnerships that we have created over the years. Without that, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are.”

For crime prevention tips please go to the Police Department’s website at http://www.sanleandro.org/depts/pd or contact our Crime Prevention Unit at 510-577-3228.

Citizens play a critical role in creating a safe environment by observing and reporting any suspicious and criminal activity to the Police. The San Leandro Police Department recommends that citizens do not participate in any direct verbal or physical involvement with suspicious persons or those who are committing crimes. The personal safety of the community is paramount.

We encourage the San Leandro community to record the details of what they observe and to report those details to the Police. This type of community involvement and partnership has proven to be a very effective crime prevention tool. Citizens act as the eyes and ears of the community first, and the extended eyes and ears of the San Leandro Police Department.

Thank you for being a force multiplier in our efforts to provide professional police services and safety to the community.

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San Leandro bike party Sept. 7

SAN LEANDRO — The city will have its third annual bike party in three parks on Sunday, Sept. 7.

The Bike Mobile will make free minor repairs on bicycles of those taking part in the ride, starting at 9 a.m. at the Roosevelt Elementary School playground area, 864 Dutton Ave. There also will be a bike rodeo, games and other activities.

The actual ride starts at 1 p.m. at Farrelly Pool at Roosevelt. Riders will head to McCartney Park (behind Washington Elementary at Breed Avenue and Sunnyside Drive) for musical entertainment and activities. The bike party then will ride to Siempre Verde Park (Park Street and San Leandro Boulevard) for bike decorating, before returning to Farrelly Pool where participants can enjoy a free family swim until 5:30 p.m.

Those taking part should take helmets, bike locks, sunscreen, snacks, water and a picnic dinner for the pool party. Children under age 18 are required to wear a helmet, though smart cyclists of all ages use the protective headgear.

For more information, call 577-3462 or email youth@sanleandro.org.

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Sen. Corbett to honor environmental poster winners

Press release from Sen. Ellen Corbett’s office:

SAN LEANDRO — State Sen. Corbett will host a celebration in her San Leandro district office to honor the 18 student awardees of the “Habitat Means Home” Poster Contest.

The annual “Habitat Means Home” Poster Contest—sponsored by East Bay Regional Park District, the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, the Ohlone Audubon Society, the Friends of Coyote Hills and Carin High—encourages students to submit artwork that celebrates the diverse habitats and species of Coyote Hills Regional Park, while also highlighting the importance of environmental preservation.

Senator Corbett invites families, local residents, community representatives and educators to come together on Thursday, Sept. 4, to help celebrate these honored students in grades K-6 at the celebration.

Senator Corbett remains committed to supporting education, artistic student learning, environmental protection and the preservation of local animal habitats.

Ice cream and refreshments (water and juice) will be served during the celebration.

WHEN: 4-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4
WHERE: Office of Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett
1057 MacArthur Boulevard
Suite 206
San Leandro, CA 94577
RSVP: 510-577-2310 (Joe Diaz)

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November election filings

Friday was the candidate filing deadline for the November election, and some races have drawn several candidates while others had only one.

The deadline for San Leandro City Council District 5 was extended because incumbent Pauline Cutter is not seeking re-election, instead running for mayor. Three people jumped into the race late: Leah Hall, Corina Lopez and Mia Ousley.

District 1 will have a four-way race: David Anderson Sr., Deborah Cox, Mike Katz-Lacabe and Kenneth Pon.

Allen Schoenfeld, Victor Aguilar and Thomas Lee will square off in San Leandro City Council District 3.

Running against Cutter for mayor will be fellow Councilwoman Diana Souza and businessman Dan Dillman. Incumbent Mayor Stephen Cassidy is not seeking re-election.

Several races have already been decided when no opponents filed against the incumbents or only one person filed for each open seat; these will not appear on the ballot: Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Paul Hodges and Carol Pereira; Washington Township Healthcare District Jacob Eapen, Bernard Stewart and Michael Wallace; East Bay Municipal Utility District Ward 7 (Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, portions of San Leandro and Hayward) Frank Mellon; Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Area 4 (Castro Valley) Donald “Dobie” Gelles and Area 6 (Hayward and San Lorenzo) Hal Gin; San Leandro Unified School District Area 2 Lance James; San Leandro Unified Area 6, Ronald Carey; Fairview Fire Protection District Sven Andersen and Leslie West; East Bay Regional Park District Ward 3 Dennis Waespi; Eden Township Healthcare District Lester Friedman, Roxann Lewis and Thomas Lorentzen.

Hayward Unified incumbents Lisa Brunner and William McGee are being challenged by Marita Cheng. Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Area 2 (San Leandro) incumbent Isobel Dvorsky is being challenged by Gene Judson.

In Castro Valley Unified, incumbents Janice Friesen and Gary Howard will be running against Dorothy “Dot” Theodore.

Six candidates are running for two seats in San Lorenzo Unified: Incumbents Helen Randall and Isabel Polvorosa, plus Steven Kirk, Guillermo Nevarez, Ronald Pereira II and Janet Zamudio.

A sanitary district race in Castro Valley has generated interest: Incumbents Melody Appleton and Ralph Johnson are being challenged by Marc Crawford, John Maher and Kunio Okui.

Five candidates are seeking three spots on the Oro Loma Sanitary District board: Timothy Becker, Howard Kerr, Chike Udemezue, Dan Walters and Sheila Young.

Other races include:

San Leandro Unified at large: Evelyn Gonzales, Elsie “Jeanne” Kinkella, Peter Oshinski and Monique Tate.

San Leandro Unified Area 4: Latrina Dumas, Leo Sheridan and Chike Udemezue.

AC Transit District at large: Incumbent Joel Young, Adrienne Andrews, Joel Dewitt, Clarence Fischer, Dollene Jones, Tyron Jordan, Igor Tregub.

AC Transit District Ward 4 (West unincorporated Alameda County, part of San Leandro, part of Hayward): Incumbent Mark Williams, Murphy McCalley and Timothy McGowan.

AC Transit District Ward 5 (South Hayward, : Incumbent Jeff Davis and Kewal Singh.