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Brats

bart.jpgThere are some real prepubescent bad apples in this town.

Today, for instance, a few skateboard punks told an Argus employee, who is also a grandmother, to bleep off when she motioned at them through our big glass window to stop skating in our parking lot. I was so mad, I got out of my chair and took a full step toward the window before sitting down again.

Now I read in my favorite Niles chat group that someone, who I’m unfairly assuming is a teen, drove down 2nd Street with a paintball gun and hit a bunch of cars.

Think how bad things will get when there are no more batting cages or mini-golf in town.

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Almost there …

The City of Newark is this close to wrapping up street repairs that were due to end today but actually will trickle into Thursday.

Here’s the rundown of what’s left on the official list for Thursday:

  • Abington Court, from Abington Drive to the end.
  • Abington Drive, from Portsmouth Avenue to Blackburn Drive.
  • Cedar Boulevard, from Dupont Avenue to Edgewater Drive and Central to Roberston avenues.
  • Lake Boulevard, from Channel Drive to Jarvis Avenue.
  • Newark Boulevard, from Jarvis to Thornton avenues.
  • Potrero Drive, from Parada Street to Buena Vista Drive.

Trang Tran, associate civil engineer for the city, said Cedar, Newark and Potrero are the primary roadways that need lingering touch-ups.

She also said additional work is planned next week on Cherry Street, so stay tuned for the details.

Check in with Tri-City Beat for continuing updates, or call Newark’s engineering division from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 510-578-4298.

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Union City could have to refund millions to residents

In a decision that could really put a dent in Union City’s finances, an appeals court ruled Tuesday that the city’s $3.22-a-month 911 charge was implemented illegally, according to a story in today’s Chronicle.

The 3-judge panel determined that the charge, implemented in 2004,  is a tax that required a two-thirds vote of city residents. The city had maintained that the charge was a fee and could simply be approved by the council.

The city had been netting about $2.7 million a year from the charge, as of two years ago, and now faces the prospect of having to return millions to city residents.

The tax was challenged by telephone companies who argued that they made service less affordable to potential customers, and in the case of Union City’s law, made the companies liable if customers refused to pay.

“Obviously, we’re going to have to appeal,” Councilman Richard Valle said. 

The city currently has a budget reserve fund of about $7 million, he said.

We’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s paper.

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Cat fight

You might have noticed that comment from Hayward superstar reporter Matt O’Brien inviting TCB readers to switch over to his blog at the Daily Review’s web site and check out an admittedly pretty cool map tracking wildcat sightings.

You could do that, but since we’re all one big happy corporate family here at MediaNews Group, I figured I’d just steal his map and put it on our blog. That way no one has to sift through the Review’s ho-hum posts to get to the good stuff and Mr. O’Brien can now publish my posts about the cutest vegetarian competition, which I’m sure he was following religiously.

Here it is:


View Larger Map

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Down in New Orleans

Group photo with Mrs. Lewis

Rabbi Avi Schulman of Fremont’s Temple Beth Torah recently returned from a trip to help rebuild a home in New Orleans, and he brought back photos by another volunteer to help share the experience.

Schulman said the group he worked with, Adult Mitzvah Corps, helped out a Mrs. Lewis, 82, who is raising her 16-year-old great grandson at her house in the St. Roch neighborhood. The volunteers are shown above with Lewis at her house.

St. Roch, like many areas, was hard hit by flooding after Hurricane Katrina and still has a long way to go to recover more than two and a half years later.

Still, Schulman said one lesson he has been imparting since his return is that while trouble in the world can seem overwhelming and can lead to despair, every act of help counts toward the greater goal.

“If each of us makes an effort to repair a part of the world — it can be our homes, our community, our country,” he said, “then we are moving the world closer to a time of healing.”

In his case, he said his sole job in the week he spent working on Lewis’ house was scraping and priming.

“I literally didn’t put a single drop of paint on the house,” he said. “The next week, someone would come and carry on the work. It’s a collective effort.”

Shown below are (left to right) a dilapidated house in New Orleans, Lewis at her house, a view of the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, a house with post-Katrina markings by rescuers, another distressed house and an Adult Mitzvah Corps worker at Lewis’ house (click on the thumbnails for larger views).

The photos were taken by Robin Einstein, another volunteer.

broken-down-house-nola-3.jpg  mrs-lewis.jpg  lower-ninth-ward.jpg  house-with-markings-in-nola.jpg  dilapidated-house-2-in-nola.jpg  ams-solo-working-on-house.jpg

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Woman charged with vehicular manslaughter

In the process of writing the short version, but here’s a nugget for you TCB loyalists. Prosecutors have just charged Teresa Ann Martinez with gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with a weekend crash on Interstate 680. I’d link to the story that appeared in today’s paper, but our Web site server was down overnight. So I’ll paste it below. Continue Reading

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Crossing Guards

crossingguard.jpgFremont Councilman Steve Cho didn’t just raise hackles at last week’s council meeting by asking to cancel a trade mission to China. He also pitched using volunteer cross walk guards at city elementary schools and giving Fremont Unified School District the roughly $175,000 a year the city spends on professional crossing guards.

Council members didn’t seem too enthused and City Manager Fred Diaz was displeased to say the least.

For more details, click here for the story by Wes Bowers in the Fremont Bulletin, which is owned by the same company as The Argus.

I asked Cho — who, by the way, is running for mayor – about the proposal late last week, and he said he would pitch it again during a joint school board/council meeting next week. However, he didn’t seem too optimistic that either board would embrace it.

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No Fremont Road Work Today

It looks like all of the repaving that’s been going on around town is coming to a close.

The roadwork originally scheduled today for Kato Road has been completed, and no more work is scheduled until Saturday, May 3rd when the following work is scheduled:

  • Palm Avenue from Mission Boulevard to Mission Creek Drive.
  • Paseo Padre Parkway (Northbound lanes only)from Eggers Drive to Peralta Boulevard.
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More illegal immigrant issues at Fremont Home Depot

You might have seen or heard this yesterday:

Labor Leaders Upset Over Immigration Raids in Fremont

FREMONT, Calif. (KCBS) — Immigration activists claim that three weeks ago day laborers in Fremont were arrested for loitering outside of Home Depot as they waited for work.

”They detained many of us, leaving only a couple of us behind. From what we know, most of them were deported,” said one worker, speaking through a translator.

Local union leaders are drawing attention to the raids.

It is unknown whether Home Depot called the sheriff’s department or it may have been local contractors demanding the men work for a lower wage.

”You’re going to work for $4.00 an hour, or you’re not going to work at all,” said Frank Martin DelCampo with the San Francisco Labor Council.KCBS’ call to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was not returned. The Home Depot manager also refused to comment.

Unlike some Bay Area cities, Fremont does not have policy of keeping immigration information from the feds.