Fremont Unified buys 33-acre property for new campus

We’ll have more on this site in late June, after the purchase closes escrow, but for now:

FREMONT — The school district has bought a 33-acre parcel in the Brookvale neighborhood, where it hopes a new campus one day will ease crowding woes stemming from rising enrollment.

Now the question is: What type of school should go there?

The property at 35068 Fremont Blvd., near Decoto Road, runs between two housing tracts, connecting Fremont Boulevard to Paseo Padre Parkway.

District leaders are spending $52.8 million to buy the vacant land, which Superintendent James Morris calls “a once-in-a-lifetime asset,” key for Fremont schools’ long-term planning.

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Fremont: Park district set to start work on quarry area with sweeping views

Story by our parks reporter Denis Cuff:

FREMONT — A rare overnight campground along San Francisco Bay will be the centerpiece of a new, $12 million regional recreation area to be built at the site of an old rock quarry.

In a gain for public access to the Bay shoreline, the East Bay Regional Park District and Fremont are scheduled to break ground Wednesday on the Dumbarton Quarry Regional Area — an addition to Coyote Hills Regional Park.

Scheduled to open in 2017, the first phase of the 91-acre recreation area also will feature picnic areas, an amphitheater, and a small playground.

The hottest attraction, however, is expected to be a campground for 63 recreational vehicles in an area with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley.

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Fremont Symphony Orchestra and Mission Peak Chamber Singers set to perform

The Fremont Symphony Orchestra and the Misson Peak Chamber Singers are performing-arts institutions in these parts …

FREMONT — Two longtime classical musical groups will continue their performing-arts traditions in East Bay concerts later this month.

The Fremont Symphony Orchestra will pay tribute to the city’s large Indian community Saturday in a performance at Ohlone College.

A week later, the Mission Peak Chamber Singers will join the Brentwood-based Immaculate Heart of Mary Youth Choir in concerts in Brentwood and Fremont.

Conductor Michael Morgan will lead the Fremont Symphony Orchestra in “West Meets East,” a concert featuring several Indian-themed compositions. Morgan, conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, is one of several guest maestros working this year with Fremont’s musicians.

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Fremont: Citizen groups blast Caltrans’ Niles Canyon bridge replacement

One of those disputes that apparently will never end.

FREMONT — The yearslong debate over widening the highway through Niles Canyon has continued, as environmental groups this month blasted Caltrans’ Alameda Creek Bridge project.

Caltrans says that replacing the 87-year-old bridge would improve safety for drivers and bicyclists on a half-mile stretch of Niles Canyon Road, a winding highway that connects Fremont to Interstate 680 near Sunol.

But opponents, including citizen groups and environmentalists, say the project would damage wildlife habitat and reduce driving safety by increasing the speed limit in parts of the scenic canyon.

“(It’s) anything but a simple bridge replacement — it involves … removing hundreds of native trees and excavating along thousands of feet of the canyon, adding large retaining walls,” Alameda Creek Alliance director Jeff Miller said. “Caltrans’ overbuilt approach is simply not needed to make the bridge segment safer.”

The state agency says the $24 million project will increase the bridge’s total width to 42 feet, giving bicyclists and motorists more room to maneuver. Caltrans would widen the roadway’s two lanes and add modern safety railings and 8-foot shoulders on each side. Those changes “have been proven to provide improved safety benefits,” Caltrans spokesman Marcus Wagner said. “The project is not expected to increase speed in the corridor. The project … will allow a safe, consistent speed.”

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Fremont: Group sues over approved Niles district housing development

Newly formed citizens group says “not so fast” to Fremont and a developer trying to build 98 townhomes in Niles.

FREMONT — A lawsuit aimed at blocking the construction of nearly 100 Niles district townhomes claims the city did not comply with environmental law before approving the project last month.

The lawsuit challenges Fremont’s refusal to prepare an environmental impact report for a housing-retail development at 37899 Niles Blvd., near the historic neighborhood’s southern gateway.

Protect Niles, a newly formed citizens group, filed the suit Friday, claiming the project should have required an environmental review because it will affect the Niles district’s traffic, historic resources, parking, land use, soils and aesthetics.

“The group fully supports development of … the site,” Protect Niles member Julie Cain said, “but with a less dense, lower-profile, sustainable development complying with our adopted local plans and policies, responding to site constraints, and (remaining) compatible with our historic locale.”

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Former Fremont teacher sentenced for sexually abusing second-grader in 1990s

It’s always very disturbing to cover or read these types of stories. Hope the victim can get some kind of closure. It’s also disturbing to learn that there were prior chances to stop this convicted predator. Story by colleague Malaika Fraley.

OAKLAND — A former longtime teacher at Mission Valley Elementary School in Fremont was sentenced Friday to 16 years in state prison for sexually abusing a second-grade boy in the in the late 1990s when he taught children with learning disabilities.

Pleasanton resident Michael Schoop, 65, pleaded no contest in February to two counts of forced sodomy in a case spurred by his own 2013 attempt to get a 2001 child pornography conviction expunged from his record.

Neither Schoop nor his attorney made a statement about the conviction at the brief hearing where Judge Jeffrey Horner said that Schoop’s violent conduct with the boy shows that he “poses a serious danger to society” and that the student had been particularly vulnerable to Schoop in his position of trust as a teacher.

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ACWD to discuss rate increases, other issues at Saturday meeting

FREMONT — During a drought, perhaps the one thing that doesn’t dry up for water agencies and their customers is their list of challenges.

The Alameda County Water District will discuss those issues when it hosts a public meeting from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Los Cerritos Community Center, 3377 Alder Ave.

The public is invited to the meeting, where the statewide drought, conservation programs and other water-related issues will be discussed.


Fremont theater festival set at Ohlone College

Nothing better than seeing young artists begin to tap their potential:

FREMONT — In trying to engage younger audiences and expose his theater students to a range of writers, Michael Navarra has started a performance series he hopes will become a tradition.

The Ohlone College Playwrights Festival’s bill No. 1 runs Thursday and Friday and will feature students producing and acting in 10 plays, each about 10 minutes long, by authors from around the nation.

“We tried to get plays that connect more to a younger audience, and will get the students excited about doing theater,” said Navarra, assistant professor in Ohlone’s Theatre and Dance Department.

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Newark oil plant cited for wastewater discharge violation

NEWARK — An oil recycling company has been cited for discharging too much contaminated wastewater at its Newark plant, where it’s also seeking city approval to expand its truck unloading station.

The Union Sanitary District found that Safety-Kleen, Inc., last fall discharged “wastewater containing viscous oil with a strong volatile organic odor” into the district’s sanitary system, an agency report states.

The sanitary agency on Sept. 24 ordered Safety-Kleen to cease all discharges until it complied with regulations. Inspectors had found that the oil-bearing wastewater contained diesel and other organic compounds — pollutants that endangered employees’ health and safety, district leaders said.

No injuries stemming from the wastewater have been reported, district General Manager Paul Eldredge said Wednesday.

“The total amount of discharge was not determined,” Eldredge said.

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