Share the Spirit: Tri-City Volunteers give food, hope to thousands

If you’re a Fremont resident looking to give time, money or food this holiday season, a good place to start would be Tri-City Volunteers, a longtime Centerville district charity:

FREMONT — When Mary Aguirre lost her job in 2009, she also lost her home, surviving only by turning in desperation to a Fremont food pantry.

 A half-decade later, Aguirre’s finances are on stronger footing. But she has returned to the Tri-City Volunteers Food Bank & Thrift Store, anyway — this time as an employee helping others down on their luck.

Aguirre signs up clients at the Centerville district charity to receive food and social services.

“People tell me their troubles and I try to help,” said Aguirre, 61. “I find the work very rewarding because I’ve been through it on both sides. This work touches my heart.”

Tri-City Volunteers serves about 6,000 families and 16,000 individuals each month but those numbers rise during the holidays, said Manager of Agency Operations Sara Govea.

It tries to connect clients with as many social services as possible, helping them battle homelessness, substance addiction, domestic abuse and other issues.

For more, click here.


Fremont vigil honoring shooting victims scheduled on Sandy Hook anniversary

FREMONT — A candlelight vigil will be held Sunday in honor of the 26 people slain in the Sandy Hook School shooting, as well as the thousands nationwide shot to death each year.

 The event will begin outside Mission San Jose Church at 5 p.m. Sunday — Sandy Hook’s two-year anniversary. An interfaith service will start at 5:15 p.m., said vigil organizer Toni Shellen.

“We want to honor and pray for the victims and survivors of gun violence,” said Shellen, a Fremont resident. “We also want to keep the issue on the front burner. We don’t want to keep waiting for another shooting.”

Shellen said she founded the Tri-City chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and 6 adults were killed on the Sandy Hook campus.

“I’m a retired teacher and I feel that a classroom is one of those places where you should always feel safe,” Shellen said. “It should be like your home.”

For more, click here.



Union City project would put 243 apartments, retail near BART

Like other East Bay cities, Union City is adding more housing:

UNION CITY — A developer wants to build 243 apartments and ground-floor retail next to the BART station, taking another step toward fulfilling the city’s vision for higher-density homes and commercial space within a thriving transit district.

The mixed-use project would be built on a 2.5-acre parcel at 34588 11th St. in Union City’s Station district.

It would feature market-rate, multifamily housing units in a four-story building, 3,000 square feet of retail, and a five-level parking garage.

“We’re very excited about this project because it will continue that mixed-use theme for the Station district,” said Union City Economic and Community Development Director Joan Malloy. “And it will capitalize on public transit.”

The City Council will consider approving the project in January, she said.

For more, click here.


Fremont: No Indian-Americans on City Council or school board

Back in the Tri-City Beat saddle here. I found this topic especially interesting, especially given the city’s large Indian-American population. [Some say "Indo-American" ... our newspaper's style is "Indian-American."] Anyway, I always find it fascinating when people do NOT  want to discuss identity — whether it be racial, ethnic, religious, gender, etc. To each his/her own. Either way, here’s a story from Thursday’s print edition:

FREMONT — Anu Natarajan left City Hall on Tuesday night with mixed emotions.

Natarajan, Fremont’s first Indian-American council member, had finished her final public meeting after 10 years on the council, but her excitement for future challenges was tempered by sadness, knowing that a major life chapter had closed.

“I have not shed tears yet,” she said the next day. “But I know they’re coming.”

Indian-Americans in Fremont might feel the same after last month’s election, which produced no winning Indian-American candidates in City Council and school board races. When the new council meets Tuesday, it will not have an Indian-American for the first time in a decade. Fremont’s school board, meanwhile, has never had one.

That is surprising in a city where 1 in 5 residents are Indian-American.

Did the election signify a political backlash toward South Asians? Or were the results, in which each of four Fremont Indian-Americans lost, a ballot-box fluke?

The latter option is the most likely, said several Indian-American leaders interviewed for this story.

For more, click here.


Newark tweeting teacher will not be charged with crime for ‘inappropriate’ remarks

NEWARK — The teacher whose Twitter messages expressed violent thoughts about students will not be charged with a crime, police said Thursday.

Investigators found that Krista Hodges — whose tweets said she wanted to “stab some kids” and wished two students “would get hit by a car” — did not rise to the level of criminal threats, said police Cmdr. Mike Carroll.

“The tweets, while inappropriate and unprofessional, did not meet the elements (required) to establish a violation of the code,” Carroll said in an email.

Police said they spent three weeks interviewing students, teachers and other school district employees.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges after reviewing the probe’s findings.

For more, click here.


Fremont energy saving program pays off for libraries

Residents have until the end of the month to join an energy conservation program that has yielded $1,000 for Fremont libraries.

The Fremont Energy Challenge, an Alameda County program, gives participating PG&E customers access to the home energy analyzer, a free online tool that helps people track and monitor their energy use.

The program, which started in June, donates $5 to Fremont libraries each time a resident signs up.

About 200 Fremont residents have signed up, making themselves eligible to receive discounts and gift cards from home improvement stores, city leaders said.

The deadline to sign up is Sept. 30.

“Making Fremont more energy efficient is one of the city’s priorities, and it’s an effort that every resident can contribute to at home,” said Rachel DiFranco, Fremont’s sustainability coordinator.

To participate, go online at www.homeenergyanalyzer.org, or www.fremont.gov/1983/Fremont-Energy-Challenge.


Newark Unified accepting applications for board vacancy until Sept. 19


To the Newark Community,

On Wednesday, August 20, 2014, Governing Board Member Gary Stadler filed a letter of resignation with the Alameda County Superintendent of School, effective immediately.

The Governing Board vacancy will be filled by Board appointment. Beginning today and ending at noon on Friday, September 19, 2014, the Board will be accepting applications to fill this position. Please click here for a copy of the application or you can pick up a copy at District Office.

On Wednesday September 24, 2014, the Board will meet in open session at 6:00 p.m. at the District Office to review all applications and to interview the candidates. Candidates should make themselves available for this meeting. The Board anticipates making the selection at this meeting. The appointment will become effective immediately.

Applications will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the District Office,
beginning Monday, Sept 9, 2014. To be considered as a candidate, the application must be received in the District Office by noon on Friday, September 19, 2014. Any
application received after noon of Friday, September 19, 2014 will not be accepted.
If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to call Board President
Nancy Thomas at 510-792-4835 or email at nthomas@newarkunified.org.


Newark Unified School District Governing Board Members



Or go online at NewarkUnified.org.


Fremont: Road closures this weekend for Festival of India

A Nixle announcement from the Fremont Police Department on road closures this weekend for the Festival of India:

The City of Fremont has issued a special event permit for the 22ndAnnual Festival of India.  The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday (8/16 & 8/17) from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Please be advised that several roads will be closed in the Downtown area.

Saturday, August 17, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 17, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

  • Walnut Avenue – between Paseo Padre Parkway and Liberty Street in both directions:

Sunday ONLY, August 17, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. – PARADE

  • Paseo Padre Parkway – between Mowry Avenue and Stevenson Blvd. in both directions
  • Walnut Avenue – between Paseo Padre Parkway and Liberty St.
  • Liberty Street – between Capitol Avenue and Beacon Avenue in both directions
  • Capitol Avenue – between State Street and Paseo Padre Parkway in both directions
  • State Street – between Beacon Street (mid-block) and Capital Ave.
  • Kearny Street – between Stevenson Blvd. and Liberty Ave.
  • City of Fremont Development Services parking lot at 39550 Liberty St.

Roads to remain open:

  • Beacon Ave.
  • Liberty St. (between Beacon Ave. and Stevenson Blvd.)
  • Walnut Ave. (between Liberty St. and Fremont Blvd.)

Please feel free to contact Special Events Manager Maya Williams if you have any questions regarding the special event permit process.  Maya can be reached at 510-790-6967.

For more, click here.


Advocate: Newark school board violated Brown Act after vote

NEWARK — The school board is negotiating a new superintendent’s contract this week as a question arose over whether the board violated the state’s open meeting law.

On Friday, board members rejected Superintendent Dave Marken’s attempt to rescind his resignation, then refused to reveal how each member voted. That refusal violated state law, an open meetings expert said this week.

But the district’s attorney, Lou Lozano,¿ said his view “at the time” was that trustees only need to report votes on motions that pass.

However, the board’s attempted secrecy violated state law, said Terry Francke, founder of Californians Aware, a nonprofit organization dedicated to open government. The Brown Act says local government boards must report how each member voted on any action taken, Francke said.

“What (the board is) saying is it’s all in how you formulate the motion, and I don’t believe the Brown Act puts up with such exercises in semantics,” he said. “The public has a right to know who did what on that issue, no matter how the motion was framed.”

For more, click here.



Fremont school district delays adopting controversial health book, will work with publisher to change it

FREMONT — The use of a health textbook some deemed inappropriate for students has been delayed, giving school district leaders time to consult the book’s publisher over its chapters on sexual education.

The Fremont Unified school board held off on adopting “Your Health Today” on Wednesday night, after parents complained that its discussion of bondage, prostitution and other frank sexual topics was unfit for teaching ninth-grade students.

At the board meeting’s outset, Superintendent James Morris recommended that trustees choose among three options. Two choices involved revising “Your Health Today” to varying degrees. A third option would create two different health courses, including an honors health class using the new textbook.

The five-member board decided that the district should work with the publisher to make changes to the book, creating a high school edition that will be age-appropriate for 14-year-olds.

The motion passed on a 3-2 vote, with trustees Larry Sweeney and Lily Mei dissenting.

For more, click here.