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Dobbs creates a stir in San Diego

Former Hayward assistant superintendent for business affairs, Stan Dobbs, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Hayward superintendent, has ruffled some feathers of the San Diego teachers union since taking over as chief financial officer with that district.

Dobbs has also overseen a bond sale in which he was able to secure low interest rates and tax-exempt financing. The $530 million will be used to repair, renovate and revitalize neighborhood San Diego schools.

Current Hayward Superintendent Donald Evans is leaving at the end of June to head up the Berkeley school district. Hayward trustees will be interviewing five candidates for interim superintendent this Saturday.

Last winter, Dobbs gave an interview to the online Voice of San Diego. He made some factual errors, including what teachers are paid, for which San Diego Superintendent William Korba issued an apology. However, an editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune said that Korba did not challenge Dobbs’ assertion that the school board was essentially picked by and subservient to unions representing district employees.

Dobbs further maintained that union concessions on health benefits could solve many of the San Diego district’s financial problems, according to the Union-Tribune. In San Diego, 92 percent of the district’s budget goes toward salaries and benefits. That compares to 80 to 82 percent in Hayward, Dobbs said in his interview with Voice of San Diego.

During his time in Hayward, Dobbs earned the respect of the teachers union, staff and volunteers. He was at virtually every community event, and he managed to turn finances around so that Hayward schools finished the last two fiscal years in the plus column.

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Uncovering local history

HAYWARD — Cal State East Bay graduate students will share some of what they’ve learned about the area’s colorful history on Thursday, May 16.

The presentations include:

– Michael Burton, “Port Costa: Sustaining an Unlikely Coastal California Boomtown, 1879-1909;”

– Edwin Contreras, “Mexican Land Grants: The Case of Don Castro’s Rancho San Lorenzo;”

– Olga Kachina, “How Global History Became Local: The Memory of the 1918 Izhevsk-Votkinsk Anti-Bolshevik Uprising as It Is Preserved in California;”

– Andrew Levin, “BART: The Backbone for Who?”

– Bria Reiniger, “Salt of the Hayward Shoreline: The Oliver Salt Company;”

– Carlotta Falzone Robinson, “Designing a Unified City: The Aesthetic Ideals of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition.”

The free talks begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Pancho Villa Event Center, 1026 B St. The event is a collaboration of the Hayward Area Historical Society, the History Department at Cal State East Bay and the Pancho Villa Event Center.

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Eating for a good cause

HAYWARD — The Hayward Education Foundation is holding “Dine Out for Education” Thursday evenings through May as a fundraiser.

This Thursday, May 16, it will be at Elephant Bar at Southland Mall. On May 23, it shifts to Straw Hat Pizza at 1653 Industrial Blvd., and then to Chevy’s at Union Landing on May 30.

To take part, go to www.haywarded.org, print out the flier and take it with you to the restaurants. The restaurant will donate a portion of the price of your meal to the foundation’s teacher grant program.

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Dobbs for superintendent?

HAYWARD — Hayward Unified’s superintendent, Donald Evans, is the likely next superintendent in Berkeley. No decision has been announced, but he’s the only finalist.

Teachers’ union president Mercedes Faraj suggested last week to the Hayward Unified board of trustees that it consider asking former Assistant Superintendent Stanley Dobbs to return as interim superintendent.

Dobbs is well-known and respected by Hayward teachers, staff members and the community. He was at virtually any event in the community during his time in Hayward, representing the school district. Dobbs gained a reputation for being able to get grants for the district and come up with innovative ways to generate money or reduce costs. With the help of Luci Rogers, director of business support services,
he turned the district around so that its budget ended the past two years in the plus column.

Dobbs left the district earlier this year to take a job in San Diego.

In her brief presentation, Faraj mentioned that the union, the Hayward Education Association, had heard rumors of the idea of appointing a current district administrator to the job of interim superintendent. She said that the new management team, some of whom have been on the job less than a year, seemed to be moving the district forward, and she expressed concern that changes to the management team would disrupt that progress.

Faraj also alluded to rumors about school board members possibly being considered for superintendent, but she expressed a preference that the board stay intact.

Under the Brown Act, the school trustees were not allowed to express opinions on Faraj’s remarks.

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Hayward councilman wants to hear from you

HAYWARD — The city is updating its general plan, and one of the recommendations is “improving two-way communication between the city and members of the public on a broad realm of subject matter.”

Councilman Francisco Zermeno says he agrees 100 percent with the recommendation, and he wants residents to feel free to contact him about any city-related at 510-732-2746 or machetez@sbcglobal.net. He promises to respond within 24 hours.

The general plan is Hayward’s city’s blueprint to help guide decision by the counil and city staff. If you want to weigh in, you can go to hayward2040.org and leave suggestions.

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Hayward police blotter, April 1-7

Hayward police blotter for April 1-7:

Monday 4/1/2013
10:00AM
The Hayward Police assisted the Hayward Fire Dept. in the area of Depot Rd and Industrial Bl. for a toxic chemical spill. The spill was not serious enough to require evacuations and the area was clear of emergency personnel by 11:00 AM
Noon
HPD responded to Prospect St at the request of Hayward Fire. An unknown suspect put a possum under a milk crate and set the possum on fire. The milk crate caught fire which in turn cause a minor structure fire. The fire was quickly extinguished and the possum had to be humanely dispatched at the scene. No known suspects at this time
7:30 PM
Officers responded to the 28900 block of Vagabond St regarding a traffic collision that turned violent. The suspect and victim were involved in a minor traffic collision and the (V) agreed to go with the suspect to the suspect’s home to exchange the required information. The suspect brandished a firearm at the victim and fled in a vehicle. Responding officers located the suspect a short time later and arrested him. Officers found two firearms in the suspect’s vehicle. The victim was not injured in this incident.
Tuesday 4/2/2013
11:36 PM
A lone male was walking home from South Hayward BART when two suspects approached him and demanded money. One of the suspects brandished a firearm and fired one round into the ground when the victim didn’t move quickly enough. The suspects took property from the victim and fled on foot. The victim was not injured.
Thursday 4/4/2013
5:29 PM
The victim of a recent stolen vehicle case called HPD to report that they had seen their vehicle in the Target parking lot on Whipple Rd. The responding officer located the vehicle as it was leaving and followed the vehicle to Home Depot just down the street. The officer utilized his patrol vehicle to block the suspects in. Responding officers assisted in taking four juveniles into custody for the stolen vehicle case.
8:28 PM
A robbery occurred in the 400 block of West A Street when a suspect walked up to the victim and brandished a knife. The suspect took property from the victim and fled on foot. The suspect is at large and the victim was not injured during the incident.
Friday 4/5/2013
Noon
Officer responded to a hotel in the 24000 block of Mission Bl. when suspicious activity was reported and prostitution was suspected. Investigating officers located a juvenile who had recently run away from home and was being unwillingly trained to be a prostitute. The suspect was identified and arrested.
Crime Prevention Note: Human Exploitation and Trafficking is a serious crime. Pimps will often prey on young juvenile females who have run away from what they perceive as difficulties at home. The suspects will then threaten the young girls with harm if they try to flee. Help prevent these predators from taking advantage of young girls by stressing the dangers of such occurrences to anyone who may be affected.
6:07 PM
An 81 year old female was walking toward Kaiser Hospital when a suspect approached her from behind and attempted to take the victim’s purse. The victim did not release her purse and the suspect pushed the victim to the ground. The suspect was able to get away and the victim suffered moderate injuries from the fall.
Saturday 4/6/2013
4:00 AM
Officers responded to a business in the 400 block of Harder Rd regarding a burglar alarm. The attentive officers found a suspicious vehicle in the area and discovered that it was occupied by two people. Evidence on the suspects indicated that they were responsible for breaking into the business and video surveillance from the business confirmed it. Both suspects were taken into custody for burglary.

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Big Mike gets the ax — but that’s OK

HAYWARD — In case you missed it, Big Mike, the iconic 20-foot-tall fiberglass he-man statue that stood for decades on Mission Boulevard, has a new home.

As you can tell from the top of our page, Big Mike holds a special place in the HayWord’s heart.

Bruce Kennedy, owner of Bell Plastics in Hayward, bought Big Mike as the former Tyre Treads property where the big guy stood went into foreclosure. The years had not been kind to Big Mike: In addition to his paint being faded, he had a hole in a leg and part of him bore graffiti markings.

Kennedy had the statue restored and returned to Hayward, in the driveway of Bell Plastics on a side street in the industrial area. Big Mike looks great, but he held nothing in his hands, one of which is upturned and the other facing down. One report we read said that at one time he held a giant scrub brush in front of a car wash. Later, it may have been a muffler. Please feel free to verify items and dates.

Not long after Big Mike was settling into his new digs, he was given an anonymous gift. On a Monday morning, workers arriving at Bell Plastics found a package left out in front. Inside was a 104-inch ax for Big Mike.

“It looks brand-new,” Kennedy said.

Sadly, Big Mike has not been able to hold onto his new gift. The ax handle is too wide for one of Mike’s hands, Kennedy said. So the ax has been relegated to the custom plastics’ front office, at least for now, where it shares space with 6-foot-tall human statues from China.

If you want to see the big dude, he’s at 2020 National Ave., off Clawiter Road.

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Larry and the ducks

HAYWARD — The Hayward Rotary Club, like its counterparts throughout the country, playfully fines its members during its weekly meetings to help raise money for the organization.

Fines are routinely levied for birthdays and vacations. But the club gets creative, customizing fines for targeted individuals.

One of those “lucky” individuals at Monday’s meeting was Larry Lepore, Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District parks superintendent.

Hayward Rotary President Brian Schott noted that Lepore had closed a bathroom at the Duck Pond, aka the San Lorenzo Community Park.

“Where are the poor ducks going to go to the bathroom now?” Schott asked.

“Where they’ve been going for 40 years,” Lepore replied, trying to defend himself by adding that the district had installed portable toilets.

Schott countered that the poor little ducks were not taught how to use them, and fined Lepore $10.

HARD is replacing the old restrooms with ones that meet ADA standards. Lepore said later that the new restrooms could be open as early as this weekend.

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Hayward park district is hiring fishing naturalist

HAYWARD – If you like to fish and are good with people, especially children, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District may have a job for you.

The district is hiring a naturalist to coordinate its popular shoreline fishing program, including leading summer fish camps for youth and weekend fishing programs for adults and families.

Application deadline is April 19. Applications can be picked up and delivered to the HARD office, 1099 E St., Hayward, CA 94541, attention: Adrienne De Ponte. They also can be downloaded at www.haywardrec.org. For more information, contact De Ponte at 510-670-7270.

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Historical society honors individuals, organizations

HAYWARD — The Hayward Area Historical Society is honoring five people and organizations for preserving the area’s past.

Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley is being given the historic business award. Called Eden Hospital when it was founded in 1954, it is being honored for its years in the community and for renewing its presence with a new facility, which opened late last year.

Rowell Ranch Rodeo of Castro Valley is the winner of the historic organization award. Rancher Harry Rowell held the first rodeo on his Dublin Canyon property more than 90 years ago, but for several years, the rodeo was held at Burbank School in Hayward. It is now back at the ranch, along Interstate 580.

A historic preservation award is being given to Michael and Julie Sundita for maintaining their early 20th-century home on Pinedale Court in Hayward.

Cheryl Gerard of Lea’s Christian School in Hayward is the society’s teacher of the year. Lea is being recognized for her efforts to make history come to life, and taking part in the society’s tours of McConaghy House, downtown walking tours, and discovery kits and online classroom resources.

Betty Moose of San Lorenzo is the recipient of the John Sandoval Award, which is given for outstanding volunteer service. Moose is president of the San Lorenzo Heritage Society, which strives to preserve and document the historic community.

Personal comment: Betty, as she seems to prefer being called, is an amazing, cheerful, energetic person. She’s in her 80s, but her mind is sharp, and she’s always at meetings, looking out for the best interests of her community.

The awards will be given at the society’s gala April 26 at Stonebrae Country Club. Tickets are $85 for historical society members, $95 non-members. Tables of eight are available for $650 for members, $730 for non-members.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Alison Wenz at 510-581-0223 or alison@haywardareahistory.org.