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Views of the original El Cerrito Plaza, part II: The economy strikes back

This go-round has photos of the classic El Cerrito Plaza in its declining years, which, sadly, seems to be when the most pictures were taken as people debated the center’s future. You can learn about the original center at the El Cerrito Historical Society program on Thursday.
The Plaza added attractions such as Chevy’s and Chuck E. Cheese (which also attracted the highest number of police calls to the center) during this period, but many smaller merchants closed and a toy store literally packed up and disappeared overnight. The biggest blows came when the Emporium and Woolworth’s closed when their parent companies liquadated, leaving just Longs Drugs and the Lucky/Albertsons grocery as the two major anchors.

(You can click the photos to see larger versions)

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The old Plaza sign.

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The later Plaza sign, reflecting old and new businesses.

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Decorating for Christmas in the late 1980s.

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The Gaucho Marching Band leads the El Cerrito High homecoming parade through the Plaza parking lot about 1997. Emporium (Capwell) has already closed and there are portable outhouses next to the building.

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An empty storefront next to Betty’s Hallmark.

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The south side of the Plaza around 1989. What was still open at that time? See the next photo.

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Enlarging the photo we can see Woolworth’s, Mechanics Bank, the Mel-O-Dee, The Junket and a toy store.

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The space between Longs and Capwell’s, um, Emporium, looks lonely in this midday shot.

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Plaza security makes the rounds about 1989. Behind Kids Mart are Betty’s Hallmark and Beadazzled.

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David’s Hof Brau anchored a corner for a time.

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A view of the southside looking to the hills.

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A view of the south side looking toward Albany Hill and the site of the original Castro adobe that stood on the property for more than a century.

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Another lonely looking view of the interior corridor, though in fairness, the photographer waited until nobody was visible. Note the sign for McPhee’s Junior Bootery.

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Chevron launches major new round of Fuel Your School funding

PRESS RELEASE:

Chevron’s Fuel Your School Program Launch in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

In-person classroom delivery to kick off $1 million local public school funding

With intense budget cuts and an ever-growing list of needed supplies for teachers, Chevron has created an innovative approach to help local public classrooms through its Fuel Your Schoolprogram. Chevron is collaborating with DonorsChoose.org, an online organization that organizes funding for schools across the country, to supply Alameda and Contra Costa counties with materials – ranging from pencils to live spiders – to help make activities come alive for students this year.

 

On Wednesday, Chevron and DonorsChoose.org teams will deliver puzzles, counting trays, shopping simulation supplies and various math and science manipulatives to kindergarten students at Ford Elementary School in Richmond. 

       What: Classroom delivery of needed materials funded through Fuel Your School

·         When: Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9:15 a.m.

·         Where: Ford Elementary School [2711 Maricopa Ave., Richmond, CA 94804]

   How Fuel Your School Works: Beginning in September, teachers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties submitted projects/materials that need funding at DonorsChoose.org. In the month of October 2013, Chevron will donate $1, up to $1 million, when consumers purchase eight or more gallons of fuel at participating local Chevron and Texaco stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to help fund the eligible classroom projects. You can even track the progress of funded projects in participating counties at www.fuelyourschool.com

 

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Views of the original El Cerrito Plaza

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A 1962 aerial view of El Cerrito Plaza.

The El Cerrito Historical Society is hosting a program on the early days of El Cerrito Plaza on Oct. 10. Here are some photos of the shopping center many remember fondly.

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A 1970s postcard.

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In the 1980s.

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The entrance to Capwell’s.

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What commuters saw from the BART station.

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A later view after Chevy’s replaced Kirby’s Station.

Down in the corridors:

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The south side with the MelO-Dee Club.

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The rest of the south side.

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Richmond: More ramp and lane closures for I-580 work near bridge

Caltrans issued the following release today about lane and ramp closures for its Interstate 580 Scofield Avenue and Western Drive Bridge Decks Replacement Project:

Eastbound Lane and Ramp Closures Continue

Contra Costa County – Eastbound lane and ramp closures continue for the Interstate 580 construction project east of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

· Tonight, Friday, October 4th, Caltrans will close one eastbound lane from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
· The eastbound on-ramp from Western Drive to Interstate 580 will also be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Eastbound traffic is in a split lane configuration: one left lane, one right lane, and construction taking place in an island between the lanes. Due to this lane configuration, during construction, the left eastbound lane and Western Drive on-ramp will be closed to allow for staging of equipment. Those closures are essential for the safety of construction workers and the travelling public.

Beginning Sunday night, October 6th, one eastbound lane will be closed according to the following schedule:

· Sunday night, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
· Monday through Thursday night, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In addition, the eastbound on-ramp from Western Drive will be closed Sunday night through Thursday night, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. These closures are expected to continue through October.

Caltrans has observed that during the day, some drivers are confused about the eastbound lane configuration. Please be aware that when both lanes are open, either lane will take motorists through the construction zone. They will remain on eastbound I-580.

This is an active construction site and the 45 MPH speed zone will be enforced by the California Highway Patrol. Drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Please remember to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

For more information about the project, call the message line at (510) 286-5820 or visit the Caltrans webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/580scofieldave/

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West County: Red flag warning tonight through Saturday morning

It’s red flag weather and the El Cerrito Fire Department issued the following notice:

The National Weather Service has declared that there will be a Red Flag Warning in place from 1800 hours (6:00 pm) tonight through 0600 hours (6:00 am) Saturday morning. This is the most dangerous point in the fire season when cool temperatures and sparse amount of rain can lead to complacency. A north wind (off shore) event with the predicted wind conditions, critically low humidity and low fuel moisture is a very serious condition.

The Fire Department will be placing signs in the Parks to notify the public against the use of the BBQ’s or any open burning. Please report any signs of smoke and in the event of any type of fire or downed trees, assume a power line is involved until proven otherwise. Insure all your co-workers and personnel maintain their Situational Awareness, keep a lookout in the hills and surrounding areas when outside, call or report any problems and maintain a safe distance from any incident.

The following weather report is from the National Weather Service:

EAST BAY HILLS AND DIABLO RANGE-…RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING (Thursday) TO 6 AM PDT SATURDAY FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY FOR THE EAST BAY HILLS ABOVE 1000 FEET…

* AFFECTED AREA: FIRE ZONE 511 EAST BAY HILLS AND DIABLO RANGE. THE HILLS OF CONTRA COSTA…ALAMEDA AND INTERIOR SANTA CLARA COUNTY ABOVE 1000 FEET INCLUDING MOUNT DIABLO AND HENRY COE STATE PARKS.

* TIMING: THE STRONGEST OFFSHORE WINDS WILL DEVELOP TONIGHT INTO FRIDAY MORNING WITH VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES FRIDAY AFTERNOON. CONDITIONS WILL ONLY SLOWLY IMPROVE OVER THE WEEKEND.

* WIND: NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH WITH FREQUENT GUSTS 35 TO 45 MPH AND LOCAL GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 50 MPH ABOVE 2500 FEET.

* HUMIDITY: 20 TO 30 PERCENT TONIGHT…DRYING TO 10 TO 20 PERCENT BY FRIDAY AFTERNOON

* IMPACTS: THE COMBINATION OF DRY FUELS…STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY WILL CREATE CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS WHERE ANY NEW IGNITIONS COULD SEE RAPID FIRE GROWTH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND WARM TEMPERATURES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR.

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Federal shutdown hits Rosie the Riveter visitors center in Richmond

The following announcement was made Tuesday by the Rosie the Riveter Trust:

Dear Trust and Park supporters,

Due to the government shut down this morning, we must announce that the Rosie the Riveter/WWII National Historical Park Visitor Education Center is closed until further notice.

The park offices are also closed. A limited number of sites, such as the Rosie Memorial, located in a city park, are still accessible. Since park staff have all been put on furlough, programs scheduled for this period will be cancelled as will tours of the Maritime Childcare Center and other sites throughout the city. Our gift store is also closed.

We will alert you to changes as they happen. Please check our website at www.rosietheriveter.org for updates.

As you may know, shutdowns impact our revenue from the gift store and other sources. We thank you for your generosity this year and we are hopeful that public programs will continue soon. We appreciate your support.

Marsha Mather-Thrift
Executive Director