Niles post office to stay in business

Here’s the unedited version of what will appear in the “Morning Report” section of tomorrow’s paper. A longer version, with reactions from locals, will run Friday. (We couldn’t get a full story into tomorrow’s paper due to early deadlines.)


The Niles post office branch will remain in business, U.S. Postal Service representatives announced Wednesday evening, to the relief of local residents who had campaigned for months to keep the Fremont branch open.

About 150 local residents gathered at Niles Elementary School to hear postal officials say that the approximately 7,000 letters they had written made an impact.

“When we looked at (the response), we just had to make a decision: We cannot close the Niles post office,” said Kim Fernandez, manager of the Bay Valley District, which oversees post offices from Napa south to King City, excluding San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

Fernandez said the district received more letters from Niles residents than any of the other five post offices that were under threat of closure.

As soon as Fernandez announced that the Niles branch would remain open, audience members erupted into cheers and a standing ovation.






Essanay Cafe

UPDATE: The owners have decided to keep the restaurant open and hope that the new Niles Town Square will boost business. They’re open for dinner Wed. – Sun and brunch on the weekends. On the other end of the food spectrum, I’m told the KFC on Fremont Boulevard in Irvington has closed.

The very tasty Essanay Cafe on Niles Boulevard could cease to be a full-time restaurant very soon. Owners of the white tablecloth establishment will meet tonight to discuss its future. They’re all locals who have put a lot of money into the place, but the economy has taken its toll. They still have more than a year remaining on their lease.

One idea is to keep the place closed most of the time, but open it for special events like the Open Mic night and for private bookings.

I don’t usually do plugs, but the restaurant will offer its Recession Dinner meal on Wednesday night — a three-course healthy organic meal for $12. Whether it will be open for business on Thursday is undetermined.



Joe’s Corner is going to close … again. Just heard that the rowdy Niles bar turned clean and sober community center will likely close by the end of the month. A volunteer said it just didn’t get the community support.

Too bad. It was a really great place. Click here to read how wonderful it was.


Niles gets the redevelopment money

Don’t forget to head over to City Hall tonight and give your two cents about the budget.

In addition to the operating budget which pays for police, fire and most other things, the council will also be considering the budget for the Redevelopment Agency, whose goal is to reduce blight and provide affordable housing in certain districts that include Niles, Centerville and Irvington.

Niles is the big winner when it comes to getting redevelopment dollars this coming fiscal year.

Of nearly $8.1 million in redevelopment funds not going toward affordable housing, Niles is projected to get $4.9 million. Centerville would get $1.8 million and Irvington would get $974,000.

Niles was the big winner this past year too. It is estimated to have received nearly $9 million in redevelopment agency funds by the end of this fiscal year on June 30. Compare that to $3.5 million for Irvington and $478,000 for Centerville.

BTW, the council will vote tonight on a $1.6 million contract to put the finishing touches on the Niles Town Plaza project, including the fountain.


Rock Slide in Niles Canyon Road

Here’s something similar to what will run in the paper tomorrow: 

Rocks the size of basketballs slid into Niles Canyon early Friday morning, causing two collisions and snarling traffic between Fremont and Sunol for two hours, Fremont police said.

Authorities closed Niles Canyon Road from about 6:44 to 8:19 a.m. after rocks fell onto the roadway near Palomares Road.

A motorist driving a Kia Spectra ran into the rocks, and a Saturn Vue was also involved in an accident caused by the slide, Detective Bill Veteran said. Neither accident resulted in injuries, he added.

Caltrans workers removed the rocks by 7:30 a.m., Veteran said. Caltrans reopened the road at 8:19 a.m. after determining that it was safe for traffic.

There are on average a couple of rock slides every year on Niles Canyon Road, which winds its way between Mission Boulevard in Fremont to Sunol, Veteran said. Usually, authorities are able to turn vehicles around during the closures so motorists aren’t stuck waiting for the road to reopen, he added.


Another Fremont parade in financial trouble

The Niles Festival of Lights Parade will go ahead rain or shine Friday.

But whether parade organizers at the Niles Merchants Association will have enough money to pay their vendors remains to be seen.

With the parade and Christmas tree lighting scheduled for Friday, the parade organizers are about $6,000 short of the $23,000 needed for the event. Event chairwoman, Marie Dear said that rising prices and decreased sponsorships account for the shortfall.

Excuse the pun, but helium prices are on the rise. And as the Fremont 4th of July and and Festival of India parade organizers learned this year, the city’s bill for staffing and policing parades has risen. Event Chairwoman Marie Dear was very diplomatic about that part. She wouldn’t even tell me the size of the increase.

It turns out that Niles businesses aren’t big contributors to the parade. Dear said she asked each business on Niles Boulevard to contribute just $25. Only 10 took her up on the offer. The biggest Niles contributors, she said, are The Florence, John Weed and the guy who owns the grocery store.

Fremont parades have been struggling this year. The A’s and Robson Homes helped bail out the July 4 parade, and the Festival of India Parade was cancelled due to lack of funds.

Anyway, anything in Niles is usually pretty fun, so if you want to help them out, call Dear at 792-8023


Niles Antique Faire/Flea Market seemed to go smoothly

UPDATE: Police say they can’t estimate how many people attended the faire. They said, “thousands.”

I saw the comment from the guy who soured on the Niles Antique Faire/Flea Market after the heavy code enforcement last year. It seemed a lot more mellow this year.
I saw regular folks freely selling lemonade and home-cooked munchies. No one complained to me at all, although this year I wasn’t carrying a notepad and asking people for their thoughts. Life is so much better when you’re not writing things down or soliciting opinions.

For our story on the flea market, click here.

Below is my sole purpose purchase. It’s Misha, the official mascot of the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. Only $3.
((UPDATE)) For the record, I corrected the boo-boo in this post more than 24 hours after posting it and exactly three minutes before reading Joe’s very funny comment.


Fremont: Niles Banquet Hall news

Niles Banquet Hall owner John Weed has canceled his appeal of new restrictions in the wake of two violent incidents this year. The Fremont Planning Commission last month forbade alcohol consumption at the hall and ordered to close by 10 p.m.
Weed wrote that those conditions make the hall economically unviable. However, instead of appealing the commission’s ruling, he wrote that he hopes to work with the city to make revisions to his permit.