Bee swarm moves from shoreline to a new, warmer home in Richmond

The Marina Way South bee swarm huddles on the hydrant to keep the queen warm.

Richmond had some uplifting and noteworthy events last weekend, including the long-awaited opening of the national park visitors center and the departure of the battleship USS Iowa on Saturday and a touching Memorial Day observance at the SS Red Oak Victory on Monday.
But for our money, the most heartwarming event of the weekend took place Saturday on Marina Way South, a block away from where a crowd was gathered for the dedication of the new visitors center.
A swarm of bees that had taken refuge for several days on an EBMUD hydrant near the end of Marina Way South by the Bay Trail was cordoned off by yellow police tape Saturday morning as two Richmond squad cars kept watch on the scene. A day earlier only a few traffic cones had marked the area where the bees were huddling together.
Would this be the end of the hiveless swarm that was clinging like magnetic particles to the cast-iron hydrant?
Fear not.

Only some traffic cones warned passersby last Friday of a swarm of bees that had taken refuge for several days on an EBMUD hydrant near the Bay Trail on Marina Way South.

Around noon on Saturday, a home beekeeper had been summoned to relocate the swarm.
Christine Bartlett, a Richmond resident who called herself “an amateur beekeeper,” was on the scene herding the queen and workers into a wooden hive. She
said the European honeybees would be taken “to my back yard by Alvarado Park.”
Bartlett is a member of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association, which maintains an online list of volunteers available to relocate bees during what is known as “swarm season.” Volunteers are available by area, ready to cnduct a relocation for a $50 donation to the association.
If people see a similar swarm, “Tell them to call us,” Bartlett said.
She noted the importance of bees for propagation of plants and crops and said that while bees are now in the spotlight as an irreplaceable part of the ecosystem, “We’ve been doing this before they became precious to the public.”
Bartlett said the Marina Way swarm was indeed huddling on the hydrant.
“They are because they’re cold,” she said. “They keep the queen in the middle, trying to keep her warm.”
As for why the swarm chose the hydrant, Bartlett said that was puzzling. The attraction wasn’t leaking water, she said, adding that the swarm needs the temperature to reach a certain level before it will move and “If anything the hydrant is colder,” she said.

Below is video of Bartlett at work collecting the bees for relocation.


Richmond and El Cerrito observe Memorial Day at the SS Red Oak Victory

El Cerrito and Richmond collaborated Monday to observe Memorial Day at a first-ever ceremony Monday at the historic ship SS Red Oak Victory in the Port of Richmond that included the dedication of a Blue Star Memorial By-way marker by the El Cerrito Garden Club and the Richmond Museum of History.
Officials from both cities, representatives of the local National Park Service and county Supervisor John Gioia attended.

Friends congratulate longtime El Cerrito resident Esther Sargent of the El Cerrito Garden Club as the Blue Star memorial marker is dedicated in her honor Monday at the SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond.

Jun Simundo leads the audience in singing “America the Beautiful” at the first-ever Memorial Day at the SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond on May 28, 2012.

The marker at the SS Red Oak Victory is the third dedicated by the El Cerrito Garden Club. The first was at City Hall in El Cerrito and the second was in that city's Arlington Park.


Events to celebrate a Rosie weekend in Richmond

A worker cleans the glass Thursday at the entrance to the new national park visitors center in Richmond.

Crews were busy working Thursday afternoon on the visitors center for the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park at the Ford Point building in Richmond when we came by to take a peek.
The center will be open for VIP guests Friday night before the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy show and gala at the Craneway Pavilion next door in the Ford building.
The general public can get its first look at the center at the grand opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The festivities Saturday will also include the 1 p.m. dedication of a new stretch of Bay Trail on Canal Boulevard in the Port of Richmond that will lead hikers and cyclers to the SS Red Oak Victory.
If you can’t make the opening, the center will be open daily at the Ford Point building, 1414 Harbour Way South, staffed by volunteer docents.
It will be worth repeat visits to the interim exhibits and gift shop now in place, and a return look next summer, when new interactive exhibits now being developed are put in place.
The National Park Service also envisions special programs, including new films under production about aspects of the war years that will be shown in the center’s downstairs theater, and classes for area students on the significance of the period.

Park ranger Betty Reid Soskin, 90, also toured the building Thursday and offered these observations:

Just returned from the Visitors Education Center next to the Ford Building.
We’ve had all hands from all of our 4-park consortium doing all of the last minute things (assembling borrowed exhibits, painting temporary walls, getting instructions for the operation of the facility, etc.) and are you going to be pleased!
It’s a magical space, far larger than at first perceived, and more than adequate than I’d thought possible even a week ago.
Listened to the contractor and inspectors as they gave instructions on the various operating systems and tried to imagine at what point I’d hear the words — “there’ the flashing red light — the water’s rising! — someone call Betty! Nevah hoppen. I figure this ranger’s call button is a long way down the list in the event of emergencies.
But you know what? I still wield a mean hammer and can call up a straight line when required.
Hope you’ll all be on hand on Saturday when we cut the tape, salute the flag, and officially give birth to this amazing new Richmond park site.

A look at the reception area of the new visitors center.


High school education programs will be topic of El Cerrito Democratic Club meeting

A special event on high school education programs is being hosted by the El Cerrito Democratic Club and members Pam Mirabella, president of the Contra Costa County Board of Education, and Councilwoman Janet Abelson, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second floor library at El Cerrito High School Library, 540 Ashbury Ave.

Guest speakers will be Mike Aaronian, discussing linked learning programs, and Janet Haun, discussing ROP programs.

Two current ROP students will also discuss their experiences.

A social period at 6 p.m. precedes the presentations.


Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League game reports for May 12

Here, better late than never, are the Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League game reports for May 12, compiled by Bora Reed

    Younger Division

North Berkeley Investments Sparkling Penguins 16, Strategic Economics Ruby Robbins 8
The Ruby Robbins started out strong with Saskia Knight’s hard single into left field. The Penguins answered back, nabbing 3 outs early in the top of the first inning. The Penguin’s Loren Breidenbach led off the teams batting with an unstoppable single. The Ruby Robbin’s Noa Teiblum closed the first inning with a third out to stop the Penguin’s from scoring more runs. The Penguin’s Gabriela Lerman and Katie Hennig helped cut the Ruby Robbin’s batting short, making a third out in the top of the second. In the third inning, Robbin’s Olivia Eknoian hit a run scoring single into Center Field. Katie Hennig hit a big double and kept the Penguins scoring in the bottom of the third inning. The Penguin’s Aniyansi Qunitero closed the game with a single and RBI, her second of the game.
Dr. Brehnan Lightning Bolts 12, Alliance Graphics Purple Dragons 11
On Saturday, as the Alliance Graphics Purple Dragons met the Dr. Brehnan Lightning Bolts, the Dragons’ Taigah Brown was the first to wow the crowd when she grabbed a grounder at second base and through to first. The Lightning Bolt runner was safe, but it was a great play all around. In the second inning Taigah hit a pitch down the third base line to score two Purple Dragons, Norrie White and Magda Eros. But the Lightning Bolts came back, with Taylor Hillgardner throwing out a runner from third base and then knocking in a run the next inning. Summer Salas and Cigan Valentine also had hits for the Lightning Bolts, and the winning run was knocked in by Tess Flinchbaugh

    Middle Division

Five Little Monkeys Black Lightning 3, Prin Chiropractic Yellow Jackets 0

With Sydney Taylor pitching for the Lighting, the Yellow Jacket’s Layla Souza started the game with a solid hit to center, but a force at second and two strike outs ended the inning. In their half of the inning the Lightning recorded back-to-back singles by Kieran Sinnott and Danielle Kitaoka, but also failed to score, with the Yellow Jackets’ third base Kira Williams’ throw to the catcher PB Fross catching the lead Lightning at the plate for an out. The second inning was quieter, with five strike outs, and an out at first, Lightning second base Sara McIntosh to Elka Saaf covering the bag for the out. The third inning started quietly as well, with Elka pitching for the Lightning, and allowing only one runner, the Yellow Jackets’ Fross, who was stranded at third after a double and steal. In the bottom of the third, the Lightning’s bats finally came out: after a solid single by Sydney, Asia Brantley made the team’s first bunt attempt of the year, advancing the runner and beating out the throw for a single. Kieran also singled, and all three scored before Yellow Jacket pitcher MacKenzie Andrew caught Sara’s infield pop-up to end the inning.
Woohoo Fit Awkward Monkeys: 7, Adobe Enchiladas: 0
The visiting Monkeys climbed to a two run lead in the top of the first on hits by Hannah Lane-Goldstein and Kaitlyn Bailey. Enchilada Grace Schafer Perry at second base closed the inning with a pair of outs. In the top of the second, the Monkeys swung into action for three runs. Violet Marshall and Ellie Dischinger hit singles and Lane-Goldstein added a booming triple. Defensively, an alert tag-out at first by Sonya Love and solid pitching by Jaelin Brun retired the side. The Enchiladas spiced things up in the bottom of the second with singles by Taylor Kempf and Genelise Hazen, but were held scoreless by the tight grip of the Monkey defense. In the top of the third, the Monkeys scratched out one run. Great defensive back-up by Enchilada right fielder Emma Chamberlin held Monkey runners on overthrows at first base. In the bottom of the third, Chamberlin and Schafer Perry hit singles, but Monkey pitcher Lane-Goldstein worked the strike zone to hold the Enchiladas scoreless. In the top of the fourth, the Monkeys drove in one run on a single down the left field line by Lucy Elser. Enchilada pitcher Avery Rasband settled into a rhythm and three consecutive strikeouts closed the top of the fourth. The Monkeys chewed through the Enchilada order in the bottom of the fourth holding them scoreless on one infield hit and three strikeouts.


Friedman Brueggemeyer Fantastic Flying Pans 15, Albany Rotary Cyclones 9 (Older Division)
At fabled Fielding Field, the Pans and the Cyclones held a well-matched and well-hit game. For the hard-hitting Cyclones, Tara Steckler, Sydney Handler-Vosen, Clem Mitrani-Bell, Natalie, Francesca, and Rachel all sprinkled key hits throughout the game. For the slugging Frying Pans, Zoey Horowitz, Robyn Wampler, and Maeve Gallagher and others hit a medley of singles and doubles. The Cyclones’ Erin Cain pitched two strong innings, and the Frying Pans even recorded “four” outs in the 5th inning (with two down) as Rachel hit a screaming line drive to Pans’ pitcher Kaili Meier who caught and doubled-up the runner at first.


Here’s your Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League update

Team Zonta Garbanzos

The Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League season is well under way, with girls grades 1-8 building skills, learning teamwork and having fun. Below is a report of the Older Division’s mid-season tournament on Saturday, April 28, 2012, along with a few reports from games in the Middle and Younger Divisions. Special thanks to the team of embedded reporters for the game write ups.

Zonta Garbanzos Win Mid-Season Tournament
Zonta Clubs’ Garbanzos girls softball squad jumped to an early commanding lead from the get-go in their 1st game on Saturday against the Friedman-Brueggemeyer Fantastic Flying Frying Pans with 1 run each scored by Zinnia Thewlis, Grace Rusin, Dylan Kurzgul and Anne Mugler. The 4 run lead was held throughout the 4 inning game thanks to sharp pitching from Zinnia and Grace and deft fielding skills of Claire McNally and Griffen Campbell.

The Garbanzos hosted their 2nd game versus the Albany Physical Therapy Cyclones. The Cyclones opened the top of the 1st with a couple runs sparked by a Jane Xu double and Haley McDermott RBI. A quick response in the form of a 3-run rally got the ‘bonzos back in control with the go-ahead run scored by Griffen stealing home during a Camila Rice drawn-out at-bat. Mugler on the mound kept the ‘bonzos in control with a one-point lead. The 2nd half of the game featured Griffen pitching for the Garbanzos allowing the Cyclones only one more run on a sacrifice fly. Two more runs earned by the ‘bonzos’ hustlin’ Dylan with Anne’s RBI assured victory and the honor of competing in Game 3…

. . . The Championship Round:

Ready to be challenged by the Impact Heat, the Garbanzos lead off with a Dylan Kurzgul base hit ripped down the 3rd base line and through the defender’s glove for an additional base. Dylan’s speed and a solid base hit provided the ‘bonzos a 2-point lead to defend. The Heat promptly put it on the ‘bonzos; with a 3-hit/3-run response to go ahead 3-2.

Inning 2 for the ‘bonzos got going much how the 1st inning started, this time with an Emma Rusin single off the Heat’s Isabelle Lavrov, whose generosity helped walk in a few runs for the ‘bonzos. The pitching prowess of Zinnia Thewlis preserved the Garbanzo’s 5-3 lead through the 2nd inning. Isabelle’s attempts to curb her generosity were futile as Claire and Emma’s walks were advanced with swift base stealing and an RBI single by Clara Bekeny. A ripped-with-vengeance RBI single by Isabelle gave her and the Heat a brief sense of redemption.

With the Garbanzos firmly ahead 7-4 at the top of the 4th, Quinn Lewis took to the mound for the Heat. The good-eyes and swift feet that put Dylan and Cami on and around the bases elevated Claire’s bloop single into a 2 RBI hit!

The Heat staged an earnest effort to come back from its 9-4 deficit with pitch patience shown by Bella, Quinn, Isabelle and Jessica walking to fill the bases and eek out a few more runs to a score of 9-7. . .assured final by Cami Rice’s hustle to achieve the last out.

Younger Division

Alliance Graphics Purple Dragons 15, Berkeley Investments Sparkling Penguins 13

The Sparkling Penguins hit well throughout this exceptionally well-played game, with Lilah TK driving in 3 runs, and Ellena Fry knocking in an RBI double in the first inning. The Dragons countered with strong hitting from Amalina Lambert-Mullin (3 RBIs), Magda TK (2 RBIs) and Taigah Brown (2 RBI’s). Playing third base for the Penguins, Loren TK and Gabreiella TK each made outstanding fielding put outs. The play of this evenly-matched game came in the 3rd inning, as Purple Dragon shortstop Mira Knowles (5 RBIs) caught a fly ball, stepped on second and threw to Lila Marish-Roher (3 RBIs) at first, completing a rare triple play.

Berkeley Children’s Dentistry Blue Angels 22, Strategic Economic Red Ruby Robins 18

Jamie Cronin started the 1st inning with a strong hit, advancing runners. This was followed by double by Peyton Moore. In the second inning Bella Nathan hit a double and brought Eva Intoci in to score. Angels outfielder Naomi Birenbaum also threw to Peyton on 1st base for two outs and in the 3rd inning, there were a number of RBIs with Aviva Branoff hitting a double. For the Ruby Robins Zoe Exter was the hitting star with an RBI double in the first and a run scoring single to left in the 2nd. In the third inning Saskia Knight hit a hard single up the middle to start a rally. Viola Coty-Moran did a terrific job stopping grounders from going up the middle from the pitcher’s mounds.

Middle Division

Arkin Tilt Architects Purple Panthers 6, Five Little Monkeys’ Black Lightning 6
Elka Saaf pitching for Black Lightning recorded two strikeouts, and the Purple Panthers stranded two runners in the scoreless top of the first. The Lightning opened its half of the first with a burst of hits: singles by Asia Brantley and Nora Galvan-Carty, then a double into the outfield by Chloe Stapleton-Gray. Camille Kobelin drove Chloe home with a single of her own, but was then forced out at second on a fielder’s choice off Elka’s infield grounder. The second inning brought out the Panthers’ bats, with back to back singles by Abigail Cain and Georgia Thomsen. Two outs later, four Panthers in a row—Alyssa Hampton-Merina, Madline Kaneko, Uma Navarro and Jazmin Terry—singled. Jazmin’s liner to left drove in the fourth, inning-ending run. The Lightning battled back in their half of the second, with Kieran Sinnott reaching first on an infield hit, then going all the way to third on an overthrow while making a play for second. Asia rapped a single to score her, before Georgia, pitching for the Panthers, closed the door. After two quick outs in the top of the third, the Panthers racked up two more runs, with Abigail’s single followed by Georgia’s triple to right. On a full count, Annie Davenport punched a single to center, scoring Georgia. In the bottom of the third, down by two, the Lightning dug in and evened the score, with Elka and Sara McIntosh singling, then scoring on a single by Kieran, and a fielder’s choice by Asia.

The Prins Chiropractic Yellow Jackets 8 – Hot Studio Tigers 1
It was a glorious day for softball at sunny Gilman Field. In the top of the first, Solia Valentine threw to Eleven Thewlis for a great put out at 2nd base after the batter tried to turn a single into a double. In the top of the 2nd inning, Sophie Shean made a great snag at third of a sharply hit ball. In the third, pitcher Daisy Paige was on fire, striking out the first two batters, while her battery mate, catcher Audrey Dowling, caught everything that came her way. In the bottom of the third, the Tigers finally got their batting mojo working, as Solia smoked a single up the middle, Daisy drove one to center field and Eleven drove in the Tigers lone run.

Yellow Jacket’s Helen Ross pitched a strong first two innings, with great catching by PB Fross and Mia Syren. Claire Conners in right field made a nice play with a quick run in to first and throw to Mackenzie Andrew at second base for a solid out. Yellow Jacket’s hitters were on fire with several solid hits by Claire Conners, Helen Ross, MacKenzie Andrew, Mia Syren, and also Layla Souza’s screamer to left field in the top of the third inning. Yellow Jackets pitcher MacKenzie Andrew and catcher Camille Lussier led the team in the third inning, with a nice middle field stop by Lila Blue Pond. Mia Syren brought in the most runs with three RBI’s for the game.