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Archive for July, 2011

Richmond: A quick video of the evolution of the city’s marquee at Civic Center Plaza

The evolution of the marquee at Civic Center Plaza in Richmond, Calif. from analog to digital, delayed by wiring troubles but ready in time for the town hall meeting with officials on the city’s proposal for a second Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Posted on Sunday, July 31st, 2011
Under: Richmond | No Comments »

A change of venue for Albany town hall on its LBNL proposal

A change in the location for Wednesday’s town hall meeting on the city’s proposal for building the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory second campus on the Golden Gate Fields property in Albany and Berkeley was announced this afternoon by Albany City Manager Beth Pollard.

The meeting was moved from the Community Center and will now be held in the gymnasium at Albany High School , 603 Key Route Blvd., from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday “to ensure there is ample space for all who wish to attend.”

The meeting is one of a series being hosted by the lab on the six proposed locations for the site its second campus.
Albany meeting will record the meeting for later broadcast and webstreaming via Comcast Cable Channel 33, and www.albanyca.org/KALB.


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Posted on Sunday, July 31st, 2011
Under: Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond | No Comments »

A special event in El Cerrito celebrates the life of Richard Tuck, “master of fun”

A visitor walks past a mural celebrating amusement parks at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.

A visitor walks past a mural celebrating amusement parks at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.

Not just anyone could turn their office building into a weekend “museum of fun” attraction, but Richard Tuck wasn’t just anyone.
The life of Tuck, who died in April at 64, was celebrated in and outside Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, the attraction he founded with the considerable help of volunteers.
The day included performances by members of the Oakland Magicians Circle, a tribute from the American Coaster Enthusiasts group (Tuck was a member), a recognition of volunteers, a musical tribute to Tuck by by Bob Lesoine, author of the multimedia musical show “Last Night at Playland” and Doggie Diner heads towed in for the occasion.
Here are some images of the celebration by Times staff photographer Dean Coppola.

Volunteer Margaret Williams watches a video remembrance of Richard Tuck.

Volunteer Margaret Williams watches a video remembrance of Richard Tuck.

Bob Lesoine of Santa Monica performs a song remembering Richard Tuck

Bob Lesoine of Santa Monica performs a song remembering Richard Tuck

Bill Theobald of Berkeley leans in for a closer look at a Doggie Diner head.

Bill Theobald of Berkeley leans in for a closer look at a Doggie Diner head.

Parents Scott and Amy Craig of Sacramento watch son Ian Craig, 7, reacts to winning on the Bowler Roller game.

Parents Scott and Amy Craig of Sacramento watch son Ian Craig, 7, reacts to winning on the "Bowler Roller" game.


Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Under: El Cerrito | No Comments »

Caltrans announces more ramp closures for work in Hercules

A late announcement from Caltrans:

On Thursday night, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Friday night, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., there will be various lane closures on eastbound I-80, between State Route 4 and the Crockett off-ramp.

Ramp Closures for Landscape Activities
· On Wednesday, July 27, and Thursday, July 28, Caltrans will close the eastbound I-80 Hercules off-ramp from 10 p.m. to 6.a.m. Detour: exit at the eastbound I-80 Willow Avenue off-ramp
· The eastbound State Route 4 to eastbound I-80 connector ramp will be closed Wednesday night, July 27, and Thursday night, July 28, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Friday night, July 29, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Detour: Continue north on San Pablo Avenue to Willow Avenue and turn right. Continue on Willow Avenue. Take the on-ramp to eastbound I-80.
· The westbound SR 4 to eastbound I-80 connector ramp will be closed Wednesday night, July 27, and Thursday night, July 28, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Friday night, July 29, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Detour: Continue on John Muir Parkway. Turn right on San Pablo Avenue. Continue on San Pablo Avenue to Willow Avenue and turn right. Continue on Willow Avenue. Take the on-ramp to eastbound I-80.
· Friday night, July 29, the eastbound I-80 Hercules off-ramp is scheduled to be closed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. In addition, the eastbound I-80 Willow Avenue off-ramp is scheduled to be closed from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Note: the eastbound Hercules and Willow Avenue off-ramps will not be closed at the same time. As the contractor completes work at the Hercules off-ramp, work will proceed to the Willow Avenue off-ramp. Detour: During the Willow Avenue off-ramp closure, drivers may reach Willow Avenue by taking the State Route 4/Hercules exit (right lane), then turn left on Willow Avenue.

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Under:
Hercules, Rodeo | No Comments »

Richmond Council members call each other out for grandstanding

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After serving on the City Council off and on since 1967, Councilman Nat Bates finally lost his cool during a particularly fluffy City Hall meeting last night.
Richmond has a policy which requires the Council to either end their meetings after four an a half hours or vote to extend them at 11 p.m. The Council votes to extend every time, but last night Bates wasn’t having it. He voted against extending the meeting with this disgusted explanation, which echoed the grumbles that often go around the audience:
This Council has to get some awareness of time. We drag things on too long and then we get to the business aspect of it and we don’t have time. This is ridiculous. I’ve never seen a Council that takes so much time, talk so long, but say so little and do so little.
A half hour later, Bates again refused to vote for an extension, telling Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, “You talk too much and say so little, and that’s why we never get anything done.”
Councilman Tom Butt convinced the rest of the Council to limit discussion on remaining agenda items to two minutes each.
A few quick votes later, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin tried adjourned the meeting– the last until mid-September– by telling her colleagues that their behavior had been “unacceptable” and urging them to do better in the Fall.
But the normally quiet Jim Rogers had a bit of scolding of his own, which he delivered with frequent interruptions from McLaughlin :
I think that we need to address the issue that we have presentations that go on for 30, 40 minutes at a time and then we have items where we’re spending $2 million, and we’re setting new policies on transportation, and we’re trying to do it in a two-minute time limit. I  think we need to take a look at this, and I think it’s crazy to be dealing with $2 million contracts in a two-minute time period. It is in my opinion a crazy way to run a city.
It was Councilman Corky Booze who had the last word, calling out Councilman Jeff Ritterman, who had walked out a few votes earlier,  for “stomping out of this place.”

After serving on the City Council off and on since 1967, Councilman Nat Bates finally lost his cool during a particularly fluffy City Hall meeting last night.

Richmond has a policy which requires the Council to either end their meetings at 11 p.m or vote to extend them. The Council votes to extend every time, but last night Bates wasn’t having it. He voted against extending the meeting with this disgusted explanation, which echoed the grumbles that often go around the audience after hour three of these meetings:

This Council has to get some awareness of time. We drag things on too long and then we get to the business aspect of it and we don’t have time. This is ridiculous. I’ve never seen a Council that takes so much time, talk so long, but say so little and do so little.

A half hour later, Bates again refused to vote for an extension, telling Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, “You talk too much and say so little, and that’s why we never get anything done.”

Councilman Tom Butt convinced the rest of the Council to limit discussion on remaining the agenda items to two minutes each.

A few quick votes later, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin tried to adjourn the meeting– the last until mid-September– by telling her colleagues that their behavior had been “unacceptable” and urging them to do better in the Fall.

But the normally quiet Jim Rogers had a bit of scolding of his own to do, which he delivered with frequent interruptions from McLaughlin.

“I think that we need to address the issue that we have presentations that go on for 30, 40 minutes at a time, and then we have items where we’re spending $2 million, and we’re setting new policies on transportation, and we’re trying to do it in a two-minute time limit,” he said. “I  think we need to take a look at this. It is in my opinion a crazy way to run a city.”

It was Councilman Corky Booze who had the last word, calling out Councilman Jeff Ritterman, who had walked out a few votes earlier,  for “stomping out of this place.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County | No Comments »

An afternoon of political theater in Richmond

The tale of a small, undercapitalized political theater company, its temptation by corporate greenwashing dollars and the alternative it discovers brought a good turnout to Nicholl Park in Richmond on Sunday at the return appearance by the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
The company, which has played the Bay Area for 52 years, made its first appearance in Richmond last year and added the city to the newest season based on the response.
The troupe’s touring production of “2012 — The Musical!” debuted July 2 and the current schedule has it making stops around the Bay Area and Northern California through September.
The Richmond date was the lone SFMT appearance in Contra Costa County.

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Under: Richmond | No Comments »

Successful Relay for Life in El Cerrito raises funds for cancer programs

Latin rock the band En Vivo (top) performs a nice version of Santanas Samba Pa Ti on Saturday at the El Cerrito Relay for Life at Cerrito Vista Park. A second band, The Vibe Project, performed in the evening. Tents and canopies dotted the park turf (above) as walkers took turns circling the Cerrito Vista track at the 24-hour benefit for programs and research of the American Cancer Society. The event had 121 participants, 13 teams and raised $31,083.60.

Latin rock the band En Vivo (top) performs a nice version of Santana's "Samba Pa Ti" on Saturday at the El Cerrito Relay for Life at Cerrito Vista Park. A second band, The Vibe Project, performed in the evening. Tents and canopies dotted the park turf (above) as walkers took turns circling the Cerrito Vista track at the 24-hour benefit for programs and research of the American Cancer Society. The event had 121 participants, 13 teams and raised $31,083.60.

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, El Cerrito | No Comments »

Update on the Point Richmond sinkhole and damaged wig-wag

This view of the downed wig-wag signal was taken by El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce member and train fanatic John Stashik.

This view of the downed wig-wag signal was taken by El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce member and train fanatic John Stashik.


Here is an update in the current City Manager’s report on the July 16 water main break that created a sinkhole that toppled one of the district’s historic train signals.

The wig-wag signal was taken by BNSF and is being stored in their yard pending completion of the road repair.
The City will file a claim with EBMUD and coordinate the reinstallation of the wig-wag and repair of its damaged concrete structure. EBMUD’s risk management office will determine how to proceed in selecting a contractor to restore damaged property by either acting as the prime contractor or entering into a contract agreement with BNSF for the reconstruction of damaged property. EBMUD will also be recommending how to proceed and notify the City on their approach in restoring the damaged structures.

As for the cost of repairing the road and reinstalling the signal,

The City will file a claim with EBMUD and coordinate the reinstallation of the wig-wag and repair of its damaged concrete structure. EBMUD’s risk management office will determine how to proceed in selecting a contractor to restore damaged property by either acting as the prime contractor or entering into a contract agreement with BNSF for the reconstruction of damaged property. EBMUD will also be recommending how to proceed and notify the City on their approach in restoring the damaged structures.

Posted on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County | No Comments »

Eastshore Highway played a role in the creation of Albany’s original city motto

<em/>Aerial photo from 1944 of the Eastshore Highway with the Bay Bridge/Oakland interchange in the foreground. Completion of the four-lane road in 1937 seems to have been the catalyst for Albanys original slogan.” width=”450″ height=”341″ /><p class=Aerial photo from 1944 of the Eastshore Highway with the Bay Bridge/Oakland interchange in the foreground. Completion of the four-lane road in 1937 seems to have been the catalyst for Albany's original slogan.

We know the when and why of the new city motto “Urban Village by the Bay” for Albany.
But what about its predecessor, “Northern Gateway to Alameda County”? When and why was it chosen?

The deposed slogan had reigned for decades and had gotten some negative reviews in recent years, including being called “As bland as you’d
expect” in 2007 by The Cougar, the student newspaper at Albany High School. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Under: Albany | No Comments »

Another closure set at Willow Ave. off-ramp in Hercules

Caltrans has announced that the eastbound Interstate 80 Willow Avenue off-ramp will be closed from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, for construction work related to the eastbound I-80 constriction project.
The HOV lane opened to traffic May 24, but according to the agency, “there are still some additional construction activities on ramps (to be done) in the project area.”
Caltrans asks motorists to show caution through the construction zone.


Posted on Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Under:
Hercules | No Comments »