Newark: San Jose man who shot at police faces assault and gun charges

I meant to post this yesterday but did not get to it. It’s interesting that the suspect did not come out firing at Newark police until after the armored vehicle showed up. Here’s a story on it by colleague Kristin Bender:

A 50-year-old San Jose man is facing assault and gun charges after he fired 30 rounds inside a Newark home and then shot at officers as he walked out of the home earlier this month, police said Wednesday night.

Police in an armored vehicle fired back, hitting Kevin Rhoades and severely wounding him on the night of May 17.

No officers were injured.

Rhoades remains in stable condition in police custody at an unnamed area hospital. He was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney’s office on Wednesday with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm, said Cmdr. Mike Carroll.

He will be transported to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin when he is well enough to be released from the hospital, Carroll said.

The shooting followed a 45-minute standoff with police, who were called to a home in the 5500 block of McDonald Avenue in Newark after a relative called police concerned about Rhoades being depressed, suicidal and possibly in possession of several firearms, police said.

Police on the scene called the man on the telephone, confirmed he was despondent and then heard several rounds of gunshots from inside the home. Police blocked the area around the home and crisis negotiators spent about 45 minutes trying to convince him to surrender. He refused and threatened to shoot police, breaking off contact, police said.

As an armored vehicle arrived, the man unexpectedly came out of the house and shot at the officers in the vehicle. Officers fired back, striking Rhoades at least once.

Police are continuing to investigate and anyone with information should call Newark police detective Sgt. Manuel DeSerpa at 510-578-4247. Information can also be left anonymously on the “silent witness” hotline at 510-578-4965.



Fremont teachers vote to ratify tentative contract agreement

Members of the Fremont Unified District Teachers Association has ratified the tentative contract agreement it recently reached with the district, according to an announcement emailed to The Argus on Thursday night.
The Teachers Association ratified the tentative agreement with 84.7% of the 1,115 ballots cast, said Brannin Dorsey, the teachers union’s president.
“We are pleased to announce that our members have ratified our tentative agreement,” Dorsey said. “It is our first three year contract since 2004 and is our first pay increase since 2007.”
“Over the past five years our members have sacrificed so much to ensure that the students in Fremont Unified received the best education possible.  This is the first step in regaining what we’ve lost.”
Next, the Fremont Unified School Board is expected to ratify the contract agreement at a June 12 meeting.



Elderly Fremont couple victims of home invasion robbery, police say

All gun-related crime is scary, but home invasions usually stir more emotion and fear than others. This one from Wednesday night is no different. (Story by colleague Natalie Alund.)

FREMONT — An elderly couple was held at gunpoint and robbed by three men inside their home in a residential neighborhood Tuesday night, police said.

Officers were called at 10 p.m. to the 3100 block of Mountain Drive to investigate a report of a home invasion robbery that had just occurred, said police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques.

The homeowners, a man and a woman, told police that three men broke into their home, pointed a gun at them and left with valuables.

The couple was not injured.

For more of the story, click here.


Festival honoring Chaplin, Fremont’s silent film history to be held this weekend

It’s going to be a sunny, summer-like weekend with plenty to do. Topping the list for some will be the annual Charlie Chaplin Days festival, held in Niles. Here’s some more info about it:

Charlie Chaplin Days, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will feature movies, art exhibits and carnival games on the same streets where the screen legend honed his craft 98 years ago.

The event will focus “on what he did best — making movies and making people laugh,” said Rena Kiehn, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum spokeswoman and store manager.

Niles was the center of Bay Area filmmaking from 1913 to 1916, when the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company made silent movies. Meanwhile, the British-born Chaplin started his film career in 1914 at Keystone Studios in Hollywood, where he earned $150 a week while working alongside Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and other silent film notables.

Essanay executives lured Chaplin to Niles by offering him an 800 percent raise and a $10,000 signing bonus, according to the museum. He filmed a handful of movies in Niles in 1915 before heading back to Los Angeles at the end of the year, once again for a bigger paycheck. Essanay closed its studio doors for good a few months later.

The festival aims to celebrate that short-lived but historically significant era. On Saturday and Sunday, five movies that Chaplin filmed in Niles will be screened.

For more of the story, click here.


No charges filed after arrest of vocal Newark City Hall critic

I’ve been meaning to do a profile on John Henneberry for quite some time:

NEWARK — A vocal critic of City Hall arrested in a dispute over seating at last month’s State of the City address was held for 32 hours in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin before prosecutors declined to file charges.

John Henneberry, known for his blistering critiques at council meetings, said the prosecutor’s decision shows that his arrest might be political payback for being a thorn in the city’s side. “The whole thing was wrong for a number of reasons,” he said. “I was just participating in government. I was not breaking the law.”

Henneberry, 45, learned of the decision to drop the case Wednesday when he arrived at the Fremont Hall of Justice for his arraignment. The District Attorney’s Office “declined to prosecute based on a review of all reports and evidence,” spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said.

The incident occurred April 18, as Henneberry sat in the gallery section of a ballroom at the Hilton hotel in Newark, shortly before Mayor Alan Nagy was to deliver the State of the City address.

The event flier, created by the Newark Chamber of Commerce, states that gallery seating would be open at no charge after 12:20 p.m., which is when Henneberry said he sat there. Within minutes, though, chamber officials asked him to leave. He refused, so police removed him, Henneberry said.

For more of the story, please click here.


Fremont skate park set to open soon after being beset by delays

A skate park may seem like a small thing but not to Fremont’s kids, who have gone without one for four years. And give how long of a road it took to get this one built, something tells me this isn’t the last story we’re going to do on it.

FREMONT — Construction of the city’s new skate park has been as challenging and unpredictable as riding a skateboard on one of its advanced-level ramps.

The good news is, after delays stemming from a lawsuit and construction issues, the long-awaited facility is just days away from opening on the southwest corner of Central Park, city officials said. The $1.4 million construction job is nearly complete, as employees and city inspectors are finishing work on the area’s fencing, irrigation and other small but important details, said Kelly King, Fremont’s recreation superintendent.

“We’re as excited as anyone to get it open,” he said. “But we want to be sure our i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, so that when we do open we’ll be ready to go without interruption.”

The grand opening is scheduled for June 19. But a soft opening may come as early next week and, after years of waiting, local skateboarders are chomping at the bit, said Donna Wies, member of Friends of the Fremont Skate Park.

“It’s like a mirage right now. It looks like a finished skate park, but it’s not done yet,” said Wies, who got involved in advocating for the park to support her son’s love of skateboarding. “You can imagine how tempting it is for kids to climb that chain-link fence, but we’ve asked them to be patient.”

For more, please click here.


Fremont Unified School District and teachers reach tentative contract agreement

The Fremont teachers’ labor union (Fremont Unified District Teachers Association) and the Fremont Unified School District have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. The two sides have been negotiating on a new deal for 14 months, and teachers declared an impasse in negotiations in March (two months ago). If ratified by both sides, as expected, the deal expires June 30, 2015.

According to a joint press release, the deal includes the first salary increase for Fremont teachers since 2007. The Teachers Association will hold a ratification vote May 22-29, while the School District board members are expected to ratify the agreement at their June 12 meeting.




Tesla Motors fully repays $465 million federal loan nine years early

After the Solyndra debacle, Fremont was starting to become one of President Obama’s political liabilities and it would have only gotten worse if the Tesla Motors loan didn’t work out. Fortunately for all involved parties, Tesla — which is HQ’d in Palo Alto but does its manufacturing in Fremont — is the ‘anti-Solyndra.’

Read the story by Dana Hull:

In a boost for the Obama Administration and controversial federal cleantech programs, electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors (TSLA) announced Wednesday it paid back its $465 million government loan nine years early.

The U.S. Department of Energy oversees $34 billion in taxpayer-funded loans for 33 clean energy projects, and Tesla is the first American car company to pay back its loan. The DOE loans came under fierce criticism from Congressional Republicans in the wake of the high-profile 2011 bankruptcy of Fremont solar manufacturer Solyndra, with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney calling Tesla a “loser” in a presidential debate last fall.

“This is another important contribution to what the Obama Administration has done to preserve and promote America’s auto industry,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement Wednesday. “This announcement is also good news for the future of America’s growing electric vehicle industry.”

Moniz noted that sales of electric vehicles in the United States tripled last year and said “Tesla and other U.S. manufacturers are in a strong position to compete for this growing global market.

For more, click here.


1st of 2 public meetings: Warm Springs/South Fremont Community Plan Open House scheduled Wednesday

The first of two public meetings this week on the Warm Springs/South Fremont community will be held from 6 to 7:30pm Wednesday evening. Here are the details, according to city officials:

The City of Fremont is holding an Open House and public information meeting for community members to learn more about the Warm Springs/South Fremont Community Plan and its current schedule.

The meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Warm Springs Community Center, at 47300 Fernald St. in Fremont.

The open house and meeting will include information stations covering the following topics:

  • Public infrastructure—including transit and roads.
  • Warm Springs/South Fremont BART Station and extension plans and schedule.
  • Economic development goals.
  • Planning for jobs and potential parks, schools, and housing.

There will be a short presentation at 6:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. to help orient participants to the meeting’s format and to provide additional information on the community plan process; this same presentation will be shared at each of the noted times so community members can attend the presentation that works best for their schedule.

The information stations will be open from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Community members are encouraged to stop by and learn about the project and speak with City staff and team members.

NOTE: A second public meeting, covering construction projects in the area, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, at South Bay Community Church, Multi-Purpose Room, 47385 Warm Springs Blvd.


Public meeting on south Fremont construction & community update slated Thursday night

A meeting has been scheduled Thursday night in Fremont to discuss future construction projects in or near the Warm Springs district.

The City of Fremont, BART Silicon Valley, BART Warm Springs Extension Project, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), and Caltrans are partnering to share information about simultaneous construction projects occurring in the Warm Springs/South Fremont area.

WHEN:  6 - 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23
WHERE: South Bay Community Church, Multi-Purpose Room, 47385 Warm Springs Blvd., Fremont
INFO: www.fremont.gov
At the meeting residents can:
  • Receive project presentations, meet project staff, and view visual display.
  • Hear about construction activities, traffic constraints, detours and project schedules.
  • Learn detailed information about the Mission/Warren Area Improvements Project 12-month road closure beginning Monday, June 17 on Warren Avenue between Mission Falls Court and Kato Road.