Fremont police volunteers, American Red Cross to co-host blood drive

FREMONT — The American Red Cross will co-host a blood drive next Thursday at the Fremont Police Department.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the police station, at 2000 Stevenson Blvd., on the north end of Central Park, police said.

Fremont police’s Volunteers in Patrol Services is co-hosting the drive.

To schedule an appointment, go online at www.redcrossblood.org, or call 800-733-2767 and use the following sponsor code: POLICE.

For more, click here.



Fremont residents leading Alameda County’s electric vehicle parade

FREMONT — The East Bay city most closely tied to Silicon Valley has the most electric vehicles in Alameda County, sending a positive charge through city leaders who say their commitment to high-tech businesses has followed residents onto the road.

Fremont, where 14 percent of the county lives, has nearly 30 percent of its electric vehicle owners, according to the California Center for Sustainable Energy, a nonprofit agency that tracks buyers and gives them rebates worth up to $2,500.

Fremont electric car owners have received 1,039 rebates since the program started in 2010, outpacing those in Oakland, Berkeley and even San Francisco. San Jose, the Bay Area’s largest city, has the most, at 3,158.

For more, click here.


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“All 42 of our (campuses) are aging, out-of-date and need significant repairs,” board President Lara Calvert-York said in a news release.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.”

For more, click here.



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.

For more, please click here.


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.

For more, click here.


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.





Tri-Cities Interfaith Council to hold celebration Saturday

A press release form the Tri-Cities Interfaith Council:

Tri Cities Faith Traditions Come Together to Forge a Deeper Understanding

The Tri-Cities Interfaith Council is thrilled to announce that on Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 1 -4 PM they will host Tri Cities first World Interfaith Harmony Celebration. World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, in a resolution that states: “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace” and so they “established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.”

The local lead organizer of the event, Moina Shaiq, is a member of the Alameda County Human Relations Commission and founder of the Muslim Support Network.  She said she wanted this event to happen in the Tri Cities area, “To build bridges of understanding, respect and support among diverse people of faith through education, dialogue and socialization and to strengthen family and community in solidarity with others across lines of race, class and religion.”

The afternoon event will give space for many different faith traditions to be represented by their local communities.  Participants from local communities of Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist and more will have booths showcasing their beliefs, traditions and sacred objects.  There will also be an hour long moderated discussion between leaders of the faith communities that is sure to be entertaining and enlightening.  The event will take place at the Fremont Veterans Memorial Building in Niles, which is located at 37154 2nd St. in Fremont, California.

“Fremont is an incredible community, and a big part of what makes it so special is its diversity.  With more languages spoken in the homes than in any other city in the world, we are truly living the American dream.  This event intends to bring all of our traditions together to look for common understandings and shared values.  The differences we find can also be exciting and educational if we approach them non-judgmentally,” said co-planner Rev. Jeremy D. Nickel, the local Unitarian Universalist minister at Mission Peak UU in Fremont.

Anyone is welcome from any or no faith at all!



Fremont: Developer reviving $200 million Asian- and European-themed mall that stalled in ’07

Anybody remember when this very same mall idea on Stevenson Boulevard, next to Newark, was on the verge of being built back in 2007? It’s back. Story by colleague George Avalos.

FREMONT — A stalled $200 million retail mall here is being revived by a development group that wants to turn the retail, restaurant and high-rise hotel complex into a shopping and dining magnet for the Bay Area, the realty firm handling the Asian- and European-themed project said Thursday.

The Globe mall in Fremont will eventually total 450,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and cultural spaces, plus a 12-story, 248-room hotel that will have views of San Francisco Bay and be visible from Interstate 880. The mall will consist of a series of “villages,” each a building incorporating themes associated with a certain part of Asia or Europe.

For more, click here.


Alameda County Water District paying $280,000 for history books celebrating its centennial

From earlier this week:

FREMONT — To celebrate its centennial, the Alameda County Water District is spending about $280,000 to publish two books on its rich history, just as it raised water rates for the 12th consecutive year.

The district board president said the expenditure is right in line with the agency’s mission to educate the community about its valuable water resources. “People are always surprised to learn that ACWD is California’s first and oldest county water district and it’s the oldest government agency in southern Alameda County,” said Paul Sethy.

But Fremont resident Eric Tsai sees things a bit differently. “It’s a waste of ratepayers’ money,” he said, suggesting the district would do better spending the money on “replacing pipes or paying off its debt.”

The district has assembled an experienced team to develop the books: It will pay $219,000 to the Water Education Foundation, a Sacramento nonprofit organization that specializes in state water issues and history, to produce the publications, and another $60,000 to Paul Piraino, the district’s ex-general manager, to research agency history and serve as the main author. Piraino, a district employee for 27 years, receives an annual pension of about $250,000.

Formed in 1914, the Alameda County Water District today serves 336,000 people in Fremont, Newark and Union City, and has an annual budget of $119 million. It employs 238 full-time workers, whose future pension and health costs, estimated at nearly $130 million, are partly why the agency has raised rates each year since 2003.

For more, click here.