Reunion on Saturday will celebrate golden age of Pacific Coast League baseball

Oaks Ballpark in Emeryville.

The 18th annual Dick Dobbins Pacific Coast League Player and Family Reunion, a celebration of the golden age of minor league baseball on the West Coast, is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ryan O’Connell Hall, 575 West Estudillo Ave. in San Leandro.

For details contact Mark Macrae at 510-538-6245 or mark_macrae@comcast.net.


Opinion: Reasons El Cerrito council should postpone early retirement incentive vote

El Cerrito resident Denise Sangster offers the following opinion piece on an early retirement incentive proposal that will be considered by the City Council this week:

On Tuesday night (August 21), the El Cerrito City Council is considering a proposal to offer 43 employees with an early retirement incentive of two year’s service credit.
I am concerned that our City is about to make a serious fiscal mistake, for which we all will be paying for in the future.
This two‐year service credit is colorfully named by CalPERs, the City of El Cerrito’s pension administrator, as the “Golden Handshake”.
In a nutshell, the Golden Handshake, which is authorized under California law, allows El Cerrito to offer employees a two-year service credit incentive based on age and minimum employment years’ requirements if the City is facing “impending mandatory transfers, demotions, and layoffs.” El Cerrito does not currently meet
these conditions.
A little background on the ‘Golden Handshake’ and 12 reasons this may be a bad idea:
1. First, El Cerrito already offers its employees the right to retire with full pension benefits as early as 50 age 50.
2. Any retirement incentives offered to employees will create extra pension costs for El Cerrito taxpayers. CalPERs charges El Cerrito for the Golden Handshake incentive based on the cost of two years, interest, and an expected return on investment, which it spreads (or amortizes) over a number of years. CalPERs’ return on investments has been under scrutiny for over a decade as it has generally failed to meet its projected investment returns, which has forced El Cerrito pension costs to rapidly increase.
3. This is the seventh time since 1992 that El Cerrito intends to offer a Golden Handshake to employees. It was first offered in 1992 because of severe City fiscal issues.
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How an Oakland Tribune news story is produced — in 1939

This multi-page photo feature from the 1939 Oakland Tribune Yearbook on the process involved in getting a story into the evening newspaper (which the Trib was at the time) looks straight out of movies “The Front Page” or “His Girl Friday,” from the reporters and photographers wearing fedoras, to the copy editors with eyeshades, to the kid on carrier route, to the lack of minorities and women.
Scroll down for a look at the entire process and how many people it took to put out an edition.


Remembering Kirby’s and Kirby’s Station at El Cerrito Plaza

A late 1980s exterior view of Kirby's and Kirby's Station at El Cerrito Plaza.

A week ago we shared a 1980s photo of the northeast corner of El Cerrito Plaza on the West County Times Facebook page that included a partial view of Kirby’s Restaurant and Kirby’s El Cerrito Station cocktail lounge.
There were dozen comments on the picture, mostly from people who remembered Kirby’s, so we thought we’d offer a closer look at the place that was once a mainstay of the original Plaza shopping center.
Kirby’s wasn’t an original tenant of the Plaza, which opened in 1958, but it became part of the center around 1961. The restaurant had an adjoining cocktail lounge that became known as Kirby’s El Cerrito Station after the El Cerrito Plaza BART station opened in 1973.
That gave the Plaza two cocktail lounges: Kirby’s El Cerrito Station on the north side and the Mel-O-Dee Lounge (which is still in operation) on the south side, an indication that many customers of that era were interested in more than shopping.

A 1961 ad from the Oakland Tribune for Kirby's and Kirby's Station, along with an ad for Billy Martin's (yes, that Billy Martin) Cerro Square, located where Burger King is today.

Judging from the ads, Kirby’s at the Plaza — which was opened by the same people behind Kirby’s Elegant Farmer and Kirby’s Merritt Bakery Restaurant and Bakery in Oakland — was originally intended to be a more upscale dining alternative.
But in its later years it was better known as a favorite hangout of senior citizens, who could get their coffee refilled endlessly while socializing.
In the late 1980s, the cocktail lounge was replaced by a Chevy’s Restaurant and in the early 1990s Kirby’s closed and a Chuck E. Cheese took over the space.
Here are some views of Kirby’s from the West County files and some memorabilia, courtesy of www.kookykitsch.com.

An early Kirby's matchbook courtesy of www.kookykitch.com.

An El Cerrito Station matchbook courtesy of www.kookykitch.com.

Someone's in the kitchen at Kirby's.

The restaurant's later owners, Veneta and Leon Pano, tend to a booth.

Veneta Pano talks to longtime patrons.

Chevy's later moved into the space formerly used by Kirby's Station.


San Francisco magazine looks at Bay Area radio in February 1965

When San Francisco magazine ran a piece in its February 1965 issue assessing Bay Area radio stations it couldn’t foresee the changes that were on the horizon.
At the time, KEWB and KYA were the two Top 40 stations, while KFRC was still trying to compete with market leader KSFO for the adult audience and had yet to become the Top 40 powerhouse known as “The Big 610” that would bring an end to KEWB.
KGO was experimenting with talk radio, but only for nine hours daily and not to good reviews, at least in the magazine piece.
KCBS, meanwhile, was still three years away from moving to an all-news format and KDIA was broadcasting from downtown Oakland.
And what about FM radio? Basically, nobody but audiophiles listened to it in 1965 and certainly nobody heard it on their AM-only car radios.


El Cerrito extends deadline for non-incumbent council candidates to file

El Cerrito has extended the deadline for non-incumbent candidates to file for a City Council seat to Aug. 15.
The seats held by Mayor Bill Jones and council members Ann Cheng and Greg Lyman are up for election in November, and under the Section 10225 of the state election code, “Notwithstanding Sections 10220 and 10224, if nomination papers for an incumbent officer of the city are not filed by or on the 88th day before the election, during normal business hours, as posted, the voters shall have until the 83rd day before the election during normal business hours, as posted, to nominate candidates other than the person who was the incumbent on the 88th day, for that incumbent s elective office.”
City Clerk Cheryl Morse said Lyman submitted his petition today.

The announcement sent Friday afternoon:


Pursuant to Election Code Section 10225 the nomination period for non-incumbent candidates running for City Council in the City of El Cerrito is extended through 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Nomination paperwork must be filed with the City Clerk, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, no later than 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

The nomination period is extended for non-incumbents running for City Council in the City of El Cerrito only.

If you would like more information regarding running for City Council and what is required to qualify for the November 6, 2012 ballot or a list of persons who have taken out and returned nomination papers please contact the City Clerk at 10890 San Pablo Avenue, (510) 215–4305, cmorse@el-cerrito.ca.us.


Berkeley turns to ‘America’s Most Wanted’ for help in finding suspect

Police are turning to "America's Most Wanted" for help in finding suspect Omar Sosa Arenal.

An unsolved 2010 Berkeley sexual assaultcase will be featured this weekend on the long-running television show “America’s Most Wanted.”
The announcement from the Berkeley Police Department:

Berkeley, California (August 10, 2012) – America’s Most Wanted (AMW) will be featuring a stranger sexual assault case that occurred in Berkeley. The episode will air August 10, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. on the Lifetime Television Network.
During the early morning hours of November 10, 2010, the suspect entered the minor victim’s bedroom window. The suspect then sexually assaulted the victim, but evaded capture by fleeing to Mexico.

The suspect was identified as Omar Sosa Arenal, DOB: 6/22/1983 and currently has a no bail warrant for his arrest. He is wanted for various sexual assault charges.
Detectives have been actively pursuing leads and trying to locate the suspect. Detective Alan Dunn stated “with the help of America’s Most Wanted, we are hoping the suspect will be captured and face justice for his brutal crimes.”
BPD is urging anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts to please call the BPD Sexual Crimes Unit at (510) 981-5735 or (510) 981-5900 (non-emergency line.) If a person wishes to remain anonymous, he/she can call Bay Area Crimes Stoppers (BACS) at (800) 222- TIPS (8477).


Albany auto dealer’s promotion Friday will benefit hunger-relief organization

Show up at Albany Ford, 718 San Pablo Ave., from 5 to 7 p.m. today (Aug. 10) to see the 2013 Ford Escape and the dealership and Ford Motor Co. will will provide 40 meals to Feeding America, described as the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
“Event attendees will have the exciting opportunity to see the all-new 2013 Ford Escape, as well as the chance to enter in a sweepstakes to win one,” goes the promotional copy.
Participants must be 18 or older, but no test drive is necessary.
The local event is part of a national summer promotion by Ford Motor Co, and Feeding America that hopes to provide more than 1.2 million meals to the needy.
Details: 510-528-1244



Hercules council candidate holding campaign kickoff Saturday

Bill Kelly is starting his campaign for Hercules City Council this weekend, announcing the following event:

Fire District Director Bill Prather is hosting the Kick Off of my run for City Council on Saturday, August 4th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at his home located at 292 Violet St.
I want to hear what each of you has to say about the direction our home town should be taking in the future.
There will be light refreshments, good company and a chance for me to try to separate each of you from a small amount of your money. This campiagn is going to be run without any big money backers but campaigns do cost money.
I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you.

Host Bill Prather adds that “We may have candidates seeking the position of Director of the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District in attendance and the citizens need to be aware of what has happened to our Fire District these past 3 1/2 years.”