Update: Ducks at The Lake in Newark

Spoke to Sue Carey of the City of Newark Maintenance Department today and she said crews cleaned up The Lake over the weekend and found only one additional dead duck. As you may recall 15 ducks were found dead at The Lake last week. Tests done by the state Department of Fish and Game showed that they died from avian botulism, a paralytic diseased caused by toxins in the water. Apparently the high temperatures last week activated elements in decaying brush already in the water, which then turned into toxins. The death toll is now 16. I stopped by The Lake on Tuesday morning and everything looked normal.


Update: Cause of death for fowl in Newark

Just got word from the City of Newark’s Maintenance Department that the ducks that are dying at The Lake in Newark are dying from a paralytic disease called Avian Botulism. Apparently this has to do with the heatwave and decomposing plant matter that is in the water. Some 15 ducks have been recovered from the water this week, some of which have been tested by the California Department of Fish and Game. Apparently the botulism that is causing these deaths is of no danger to humans.


Dead ducks in Newark

We’ll have a story about this in tomorrow’s paper. Below is a summary written by one of our reporters. On the left is a photo of a dead mallard floating in the lake taken today by our photographer Bea Ahbeck.

Something is killing the ducks in Newark. At least 10 ducks have been found dead in recent days at the lake in Newark. Maintenance workers were out there Thursday picking up at least four dead ones. City maintenance supervisor says there have been at least 9 found in recent days, but Thursday was the first report from the public. An investigation is ongoing. The Ohlone Wildlife Rehab and Refuge center is involved.


Deadline reminder

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following our coverage of local elections that the candidate filing period is tomorrow.

Just a reminder that while the deadline is 5 p.m. Friday for most candidates, the deadline is 4 p.m. for those planning to run for the Union City City Council.

Union City’s City Hall is closed every other Friday, including this week. But because of the filing deadline, the city clerk’s office will stay open tomorrow for special hours.

A reader called me yesterday to ask where people need to go to pull papers. Basically, if you want to run for a school board, Washington Hospital board or pretty much any race other than city council, you can file through the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office in Oakland.

Fremont and Union City City Council candidates can file through their city halls.

image from Joseph Dath's site at flickr.com

Newark contemplates tax

A story in today’s paper talks about a proposal to charge Newark residents a utility user tax for the first time in the city’s history.

The tax, if approved by voters next year, would plump up city coffers during a time when the city has eliminated 50 full-time equivalent positions, forced non-public safety employees to take a 5 percent pay cut and shut down City Hall on alternate Fridays.

The City Council also recently approved a new contract with police officers  that offers no raise to the the public-safety employees this year, a 1 percent raise in July 2009 and a 2 percent salary increase in January 2010.

As part of last week’s discussion about whether to proceed with a tax measure (the final verdict isn’t in yet), the Newark City Council considered the results of a survey that asked voters to rate their satisfaction with city services. You can view the results by clicking here.


County Grand Jury cool to Dumbarton Rail project

One month after the Santa Clara County Grand Jury issued a mostly critical report on the Dumbarton Rail Project, the Alameda County Grand Jury has issued its own report. The grand jury didn’t say the project should be scrapped, in fact it didn’t really say much at all. It did express concern that “funding projections for this project were significantly understated in the voter guide.”

If it is ever built, the rail line would send trains from Union City’s BART station across the Bay to the Redwood City Caltrain Station and then to San Jose and San Francisco. With money tight, the plan is now to complete a rail line from a future station in Newark to San Mateo County.

The Grand Jury didn’t think that would accomplish much, and said that turning Union City’s BART station into an intermodal transit hub (BART, Dumbarton Rail, ACE, Capital Corridor) should be a county priority. That is already Union City’s top priority.

To see the grand jury report, click here. The Dumbarton report starts on page 35.



Union City and Newark to study combining fire departments


UPDATE: City managers in Newark and Union City say that that the possible fire department merger is geared more toward providing better service, not reducing costs.

I’ll have a full-length story on this in tomorrow’s paper. Union City’s council is being asked to approve a study on combining its fire department with Newark’s. Both cities have some budget issues and this would them help save money.

Union City, you may remember, had contracted out its fire services to Fremont several years back, but then reclaimed its department when its finances improved. Fremont was furious because it had put a lot of resources into serving both cities only to have Union City pull the plug before its contract expired. At the time, then-Union City Manager Mark Lewis said Union City could provide fire services for less than what Fremont would charge it. He was wrong, and the divorce is still a touchy subject for both cities.



Disabled Newark vet still denied promotion

Last July 4 we ran this story about disabled Newark WWII Vet Eugene Erickson, who said the armed forces never recognized his promotion to sergeant, which has cost him thousands of dollars in lost benefits.

His buddy Dawson Pryor called the paper Thursday to report that the Army recently rejected his claim, so he is still recognized as a private first class, and still getting the less generous pension benefits that come with it.


Newark, the tourism capitol of the Tri-City Area

And, I guess, Union City is the city where no one wants to sleep.

With Fremont considering an increase to its hotel tax, the city released figures on how much cities make from the tax. In these parts, little Newark came out on top.

In 2007, Newark’s 10 percent hotel tax generated $3.18 million — fifth highest in the county.

That same year, Fremont’s 8 percent tax generated $2.86 million.

Meanwhile in Union City, the 10 percent tax generated just $681,000 — second lowest after San Leandro.

During the height of the dot-com boom, Fremont was the tourist capital. Its hotel tax generated $4.2 million in 2001, compared to $2.5 for Newark and $824,000 for Union City, known in motel circles as Oakland South.


Any good finds at Newark city-wide garage sale?

img_1694.JPG I know some of you ventured into Newark yesterday for the city-wide garage sale. Any success stories? Could be a vintage sewing machine bought for good price, a sleek electric guitar that was hiding in someone’s closet, or even a deal on an antique desk that needed a new home. We want to hear your stories. I’m sure some of you scored. There’s a reason there are so many antique shops in the area. Personally I uncovered these. Nothing too special (they’re really not worth that much), but now they’ve got a new home.