Fremont school board places $650 million bond measure on June ballot

It would be Fremont Unified’s largest bond measure. Do you plan to vote for it?

FREMONT — The school district’s aging facilities are in such need of major repair that board members have placed Fremont Unified’s largest bond, a $650 million campus-improvement measure, on the June ballot.

The five-member board’s unanimous decision came last week in response to a report that found the district’s renovation wish list could cost as much as $1.6 billion, Superintendent James Morris said.

The bond money would be spent to remove asbestos, renovate deteriorating classrooms and science labs, update technology infrastructure and repair faulty electrical wiring in a district with 33,000 students using facilities nearly a half-century old, he said.

“All 42 of our (campuses) are aging, out-of-date and need significant repairs,” board President Lara Calvert-York said in a news release. “Upgrading our schools and classrooms will protect the quality of academic instruction in core subjects.”

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Union City: Hazardous waste shipments lead to arrests of two former execs

From last week:

UNION CITY — Two former executives of a Union City waste disposal company have been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy for illegally disposing of hazardous waste.

Kirk Hayward and Charles Seaton are accused of using Clearwater Environmental Management to dispose of hazardous waste after the company lost its transport license in 2007 following a state investigation, the Department of Toxic Substances Control said Tuesday in a news release.

That case culminated in the felony conviction of Hayward, who was sentenced to 60 days in jail and a $70,000 fine.

In July 2011, investigators found evidence of new wrongdoing when they served a search warrant at Clearwater’s facility, in the 33200 block of Western Avenue, the state agency said. There, they discovered that Hayward and Seaton illegally transported hazardous waste, used another transporter’s name on official industry records, and defrauded some of their customers.

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Fremont, Hayward restrict e-cigarette sales, temporarily ban new vapor lounges

Coming up for air today after an especially busy few weeks. Getting back into the swing of things, here’s what will be in tomorrow’s Argus (and Oakland Tribune and Daily Review) …

FREMONT — The opportunity for e-cigarette entrepreneurs to open new vapor bars and hookah lounges in Fremont and Hayward has gone up in smoke — for now, anyway.

Both East Bay cities temporarily banned new such businesses earlier this month, while allowing existing retailers to stay open pending further study of the trendy smoking products’ health effects.

Fremont’s City Council added e-cigarettes to its list of prohibited smoking products on Feb. 11, Community Development Director Jeff Schwob said. It also placed a 45-day moratorium on new retailers and vapor bars, where customers use the smokeless devices.

The battery powered devices heat a small amount of nicotine — sometimes flavored — to create a vapor that users inhale. The method avoids cigarette byproducts such as tar and chemicals.

“People might think they’re not harmful because they’re not regulated,” Schwob said, noting that the city will err on the side of caution. “Basically, we’re treating e-cigarettes the same as we treat regular cigarettes.” But are they the same? The Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule soon on that question, and some states and cities have held off enacting regulations until then.

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Fremont police ask public for help finding bank robbery suspect

Fremont police announcement released today:

Date:  Thursday, February 6, 2014

Time Reported:  12:18 p.m.

Incident:  Bank Robbery

Location:  Wells Fargo Bank, 39265 Paseo Padre Parkway (Central Downtown area)

Earlier today, a bank robbery occurred at the Wells Fargo Bank located at 39265 Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont.  Just before 12:20 p.m. an unknown suspect entered the bank and handed a robbery demand letter to one of the employees.  The employee complied with the note and the suspect fled the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Multiple officers and robbery detectives responded to the area, but the suspect was not located.

The suspect is described as a black male adult in his late 20’s to early 30’s, 5’10” – 6’01,” thin build, wearing a black beanie with a white bandana under it, black framed sunglasses with green neon on the sides, a brown jacket with a gray hooded sweatshirt and a visible orange color “A” on the chest,  jeans and was carrying a black backpack. Video surveillance of the robbery was obtained and we are making several photos available in an attempt to identify the suspect.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Fremont Police Department’s Robbery Unit at 510-790-6900, email Detective Bryce Loughery directly atBloughery@fremont.gov or submit an anonymous tip via Nixle.

Thank you for your assistance.

For more (including photos of the suspect), click here.


Fremont-based water district urges conservation, offers water-saving program as drought persists

FREMONT — Uncertain about its traditional water sources, southern Alameda County’s water district has urged residents to conserve and is offering some homeowners free plumbing service to help save.

As the state’s water shortage worsens, those measures might be the beginning of a long, complex effort to manage dwindling water supplies amid California’s third consecutive dry year, Alameda County Water District leaders said.

Even with some rain over the weekend, this is California’s driest year since rainfall record-keeping began in the 1840s, district leaders said.

“It’s uncomfortable to be an urban water agency and not be able to make better predictions about our future water supply, but that is where we are,” said Walt Wadlow, the Fremont-based district’s general manager.

Some 40 percent of the district’s supply comes from Alameda Creek watershed, and it buys 20 percent from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Hetch Hetchy water system.

The district’s remaining 40 percent of water usually comes from the State Water Project, but that agency last week cut off the supply for cities and farms statewide for the first time in its nearly 54-year history. That announcement put already challenged local water suppliers on the hunt for alternative sources.

For more of the story, click here.