Hometown Heroes

Please help.

Since everyone loves happy, positive stories about wonderful, hard-working people, The Argus’ parent company and Comcast has started a program called Hometown Heroes. Every couple of weeks we feature someone who has really helped out their community.

Anyway, it looks like my turn to write one is going to arrive before the next round of layoffs, so I’ve got to get myself a story. If you know of anyone deserving, who would want to be interviewed by me, and have their answers broadcast for the whole world to see on public access television, please email me at martz@bayareanewsgroup.com.

If I get a lot of good ideas, I can write some as regular stories without the Comcast television crews around. If I don’t get any, I’m going to write nothing but posts about Minutemen rallies and public safety officer salaries until Christmas.

Also, that “Fremont Teen Rocks” blog entry about the superhuman Fremont teen was posted by our education/Union City/Sewer District reporter Linh Tat. You can usually tell a Linh post from one of mine by the lack of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.


Puppy Love update

The man who fell 15-feet from the roof of Puppy Love Boutique is Omid Mehdavi, 28, of Hayward. He is conscious, but fractured his ribs, clavicle and skull. Blood was pouring out of his ears after he fell.

He can move his head a little right now, said the store’s co-owner and Mehdavi’s cousin-in-law Joey Kakar.

Police think that the burglar or burglars were familiar with both the store and the puppy industry. They took the most expensive breeds and knew exactly what dog food to take for the puppies as well.

Police are trying to track down persons of interest who had worked for the store and were familiar with the store’s construction.

Kakar said someone, possibly one of the animal rights protesters, left a voicemail at the store saying that Mehdavi got what he deserved. That would be sad.

Below is an unedited update story that will be in the paper tomorrow and online shortly:

FREMONT — Police on Friday were still trying to locate persons of interest in the burglary of a Fremontpuppy store, Sgt. Jeff Swadener said. Continue Reading


Burglary and tragedy at Puppy Love

Puppy Love is the Fremont pet store that protestors have said gets its puppies from breeding mills.

According to police a burglar made off with lots of dogs last night. Then, this morning, as a store co-owner was showing police where on the roof the burglar entered the store, he fell through a skylight and landing about 15-feet below. He’s in critical condition.

Police don’t think the burglary is related to the protests. Here’s the story:

Pet shop co-owner hurt while reporting puppy thefts

By Ben Aguirre Jr.
The Argus

FREMONT — A man was in critical condition late Thursday after falling through the skylight of a pet shop from which burglars earlier had stolen 17 purebred puppies worth at least $11,000, police said.

The man, believed to be the 28-year-old co-owner of Puppy Love Boutique on Mowry Avenue, suffered head and chest injuries in the Thursday morning fall, police said. He had been showing investigators the spot from which he thought the burglars had entered during the previous night, Fremont police Detective Bill Veteran said.

The man fell about 15 feet through the skylight, the opening of which leads to the outside of the building. During the fall, the man may have hit an outside wall of the building before landing on the walkway in front of the business, Fremont Fire Acting Battalion Chief Ron Chaney said. Continue Reading


Fremont teen rocks

Not too long ago I wrote about Sejal Hathi, a Fremont teen who, at 15, founded an international nonprofit that aims to empower girls and women to become educated and self-reliant. Girls Helping Girls has reached thousands of girls in more than 15 countries and raised over $30,000 for computers, school supplies, scholarships and funding for start-up businesses.

Now 17, Hathi has been showered with numerous accolades, including the 2007 President’s Call to Service Award, as well as the MTV Teen Hero, Silicon Valley “It Girl” and Ellegirl.com’s Teen Hero titles.

Most recently, Hathi was featured on CNN’s “Young People Who Rock.” Check it out:


Not all of Fremont is pro gay-marriage

If you think some of the blog comments from a few months back were nasty, you should hear some of the voicemails I’ve gotten today about Fremont joining the petition to invalidate Proposition 8.

A few people have been cordial, but others are really mad. They’re talking about bestiality and calling people fags.

I remember around fifth grade or so asking my mother what a faggot was. My mom, whom I’ve never heard curse (that was my grandma’s department),  told me that it was a boy who acted like a girl. 

Not long thereafter, a girl at school got into an argument with a group of boys and one of them called her a faggot. Always one to revel in dispensing newly learned facts, I intervened and explained that actually she couldn’t be a faggot since she wasn’t a boy.

Then they started calling me one.

It was a good lesson that sometimes there is little solace in being technically correct, and that the majority doesn’t always know what it’s talking about.


Bob Brunton’s parting shot

After Thanksgiving, I’m planning to write a bit of a retrospective on Bob Brunton’s 12-year tenure on the Ohlone Board.  It was a rocky road sometimes, and Brunton went out last week with one last dissent.

He cast the lone NO vote last week on a proposal to give Ohlone College Trustees a 5 percent raise. Sure enough, I didn’t even know it was on the agenda until I got an email over the weekend from someone with Argus ties. No worries though, Brunton called me on Monday to tell me all about it and make sure I knew how he voted.

Brunton said the college just didn’t have the extra money for raises and that it was setting a bad precedent to take a raise in tough times.

At first, I considered writing a story about it, especially in light of the board being a major reason the college is having accreditation problems. But then I did a little math (always a struggle for me) and realized that the five percent raise penciled out to an annual stipend of $3,493. The annual increase is less than $180.

With Life Cereal now going for $4 on sale, I  just can’t get write a story about a raise that is equivalent to about 45 boxes of Life. They do get good medical benefits, though.


And a parting shot at Bob Brunton

With Bob Brunton losing re-election to the Ohlone College Board of Trustees, people can stop questioning whether he spends most of his time at his Fremont home or in Southern California, where he does a lot work.

But at Brunton’s final board meeting last week, Alan Kirshner, who is preisdent of Ohlone Faculty union, got in one last dig.

Kirshner, whose union has had its battles with Brunton, gave the following farewell to the Brunton and fellow departing trustee Trisha Tahmasbi:

“I would like to say we’re saddend for Trisha Leaving us,” Kirshner said. “And Bob, there’s not much I can say except good luck in Southern California.”

Brunton replied that he’s a Fremont resident, that he’s lived in Fremont for 20 years, and that he’ll still be attending meetings as a member of the public.

He later told me that he asked the Tri-City Voice about having a regular column.