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Archive for December, 2013

El Cerrito: A Christmas classic from the King Cole Trio, which played in town at the Kona Club in 1948

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A lot of top acts played El Cerrito during the city’s night club era, and among the best was the King Cole Trio, which came to the Kona Club for a one-week engagement in August of 1948. The trio, led by the smooth vocals of Nat King Cole, had a major hit in 1946 with “The Christmas Song,” which became a classic of the season. Listen to the song below, then click this link to read a great story by Mark Evanier about “The Christmas Song” and its co-author, sing Mel Torme.

(Thanks and a tip of the hat to Paul Hallaman for pointing us to the video.)

Posted on Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Under: Contra Costa County | No Comments »

El Cerrito police seeking robbery suspect

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El Cerrito police today issued an advisory and photos of the suspected perpetrator of a robbery on Kearney Street on Dec. 20:

Advisory: Robbery Suspect

On Friday, December 20th, at approximately 1330 hours, the pictured suspect followed a woman into the 400 block of Kearney Street. He then yanked her purse off her shoulder and fled on foot. The victim had just purchased a pot and began to strike the suspect numerous times in the upper body region. The suspect was able to wrench the victim’s purse free and flee on foot. The suspect may now have a contusion on his face. The El Cerrito Police Department is asking the public’s assistance in this case. If you can identify this suspect, please contact the ECPD (510) 215-4414 ext 40, reference case number 13-24069. You can always be an anonymous. Let’s solve this one together.

Posted on Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Under: Crime, El Cerrito | No Comments »

Overnight lane closures on Carquinez Bridge scheduled for Saturday night

Three of the four lanes on the eastbound Carquinez Bridge will be closed starting at 11:55 p.m. Dec. 21 and reopen no later than 6 a.m. Dec. 22, Caltrans announced Friday.
The closure is needed to repair a bridge deck joint and the project is being scheduled to minimize traffic disruption, but there still may be delays, the agency warned.

Posted on Friday, December 20th, 2013
Under: Crockett, transportation | No Comments »

El Cerrito: Specialized alphabet spelled out goals for boys at historic Chung Mei home

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The Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys was founded in Berkeley in 1923 and operated in El Cerrito from 1935 to 1954, but it was only this year that its historical significance received official recognition.
A reception tonight at El Cerrito City Hall celebrated the finding that the site of the former orphanage is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Also on display were bound copies of the home’s newsletters from 1928-44, recently donated to the El Cerrito Historical Society.
Several alumni of the home attended the reception and described their memories of life there to those in attendance, much of it involving the discipline and values stressed at the Baptist-sponsored Chung Mei.
In the video above, Paul Chan, now a Dublin resident, recites from memory the Chung Mei alphabet the boys had to repeat each day, each letter standing for a desired virtue.

Posted on Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Under: Berkeley, community, El Cerrito, History | No Comments »

Richmond firefighters raise funds for Doctors Medical Center

Richmond firefighters raised more than $8,000 this fall by selling pink “Richmond Fire” T-shirts. The money will go to funding breast cancer treatment programs at the Doctors Medical Center Cancer Center in San Pablo our center.

Fire officials will present the hospital a check at 1:45 p.m. Thursday in the cancer center’s parking lot.

A fire truck will be on hand, said DMC spokeswoman Remy Goldsmith.

Firefighters sold the T-shirt at community events to raise the money.

Posted on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Under: community, Contra Costa County, History, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

Mayor McLaughlin to hold annual memorial for Richmond homicide victims

RICHMOND MAYOR TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF 2013 HOMICIDE VICTIMS

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Gayle McLaughlin invites everyone to share this Friday in a moment of reflection to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost to homicide in Richmond in 2013.

To date there have been 16 homicides in Richmond this year, and the Mayor grieves the untimely loss of each of these lives. Last year, there were 18 homicides. The year before, there were 26 homicides and the year before that over twice as many homicides.

The Mayor is grateful for the increasingly downward trend, which she attributes to the collaborative work of the City with numerous community organizations and neighborhood groups, along with a growing number of positive activities and opportunities for our residents.

She also applauds the collaborations underway to provide comprehensive reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals as a way to further address the roots of the violence.

Police Chief Magnus has noted additional factors affecting this downward trend of violent crime in Richmond such as:  More effective crime reduction strategies, including focusing on hotspots and well as key individuals involved in criminal activity;  Community and neighborhood-based policing. We have more active neighborhood and community groups than ever before, all who work closely with the PD;  Data-driven policing, including our COMPSTAT program, that involves the ongoing analysis of crime data and crime trends.

This program also involves assuring this information is shared by the cops working in the neighborhoods and commercial areas of the City.  Increased focus on gun crimes, including more prosecution of gun crimes of any type and severity—as a way of getting guns and gun criminals off the streets.

What: Meet-with-the-Mayor session to honor the memory of 2013 homicide victims When: Friday, December 20, 2013, 5:30 – 6:30 pm Where: Whittlesey Room, Richmond Public Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza ###

Posted on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Under: Cities, Crime, History, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

El Cerrito: Watch a time lapse of Sundar Shadi display setup

El Cerrito resident Steve Crawford, one of some 60 volunteers who turned out to put the Sundar Shadi Christmas display in place on Moeser Lane at Sea View Drive on Dec. 14, also set up his camera and took this remarkable time lapse video documenting the work.
Crawford notes that it took 30-plus hours to upload the video.

Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2013
Under: Art and entertainment, community, El Cerrito, History | No Comments »

Richmond-El Cerrito fire and police ask for support helping needy families

PRESS RELEASE:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2013

Contact: Michelle Milam  (510) 837-9257

Richmond-El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Program Needs Santa’s Helpers

Description: Richmond-El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Program seeks help for needy families 

Richmond, CA —  December 4, 2013 –  First responders from Richmond and El Cerrito are asking the public for help to provide Food and Toy baskets to over 1700 families this coming holiday season.  The Richmond-El Cerrito Toy program is seeking to help needy families who have a hard time making ends meet.  Each year the program gets applications from the two cities from needy families hoping to receive a food basket and toys for their children under 12. This year 1700 families signed up for the program. Others were turned away because of the great need.

 “I think even the most jaded person will believe in miracles when they see these kids faces,” said Richmond firefighter Rod Woods, the brainchild of the 20 year old program, “We believe there are still good people in this world who will help us make this miracle happen.”  “This is not an easy season for many families, which is why we should all help one another when we can,” said Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus, “There are people who gave to this program in the past who will be in line this year due to a job lay off or illness. You always hope help will be there for you if you need it. Sometimes kids give to the program, which is really heartwarming. What better way for parents to show their kids the spirit of the season than to give as a family.”

The public can help donate to the program by visitingwww.toyprogram.org. The public can also help by getting their school, place of employment, or religious organization to make a donation. Sharing the information with friends online via social media also helps. This year every dollar donated up to $10,000 will be matched by Chevron Corporation, so the money goes even further.

The toy program was started 20 years ago when Richmond Firefighter Rod Woods parked his vehicle in a low income neighborhood and distributed toys to the local children during the holidays. A police officer saw that he needed help and assisted him in the distribution. Since then it has grown to serve thousands of needy people each year.

Contact Information: 
Richmond-El Cerrito Food and Toy Program 
Contact: Michelle Milam  (510) 837-9257 
www.toyprogram.org

 

Who: Richmond, El Cerrito Firefighters and Police

What: Toy and Food Program

When: Need online donations

 

Mission

The Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program exists to collect and distribute new, unwrapped toys to economically disadvantaged children in the western Contra Costa County area during the holiday season.

As professional firefighters, we see the ravages brought on by the loss of both homes and property. Our non-profit organization strives to brighten the lives of needy children in Richmond, San Pablo and the surrounding communities, particularly during the holidays. Both monetary donations and donations of new, unwrapped toys are accepted throughout the calendar year. With generous donations from both local corporations and individuals, the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program distributes toys to children ages 12 and under residing in western Contra Costa County. Also, in conjunction with staff from the Richmond Police Department, the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program distributes food baskets so that families can enjoy a holiday dinner.

The primary objective of the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program is to assist underprivileged children and their families in western Contra Costa County during the holidays.

Posted on Friday, December 13th, 2013
Under: Cities, community, Contra Costa County, Crime, El Cerrito, Richmond, Schools | No Comments »

5-year anniversary celebration for RYSE Youth Center

 

PRESS RELEASE:

RYSE YOUTH CENTER CELEBRATES FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY & Hosts 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Community Event

What: RYSE Center 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland and FiveYear Anniversary Community Event

Where: RYSE CENTER, 205 41st  Street (at Macdonald Avenue), Richmond, CA

When: Saturday, December 14, 2013, 12 noon – 4 p.m.

RICHMOND, Calif… The RYSE Youth Center will be celebrating five years of youth empowerment and community service by hosting its 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Community Event.

RYSE’s Winter Wonderland, a free community event, will include a toy giveaway for newborns and kids up to 12 years old, music, arts and crafts activities, tree decorating and more! The purpose of this event is to bring communities together, support youth and their families in celebrating the holiday season, and honor RYSE’s fiveyear anniversary and commitment to serving young people in the community.

The Center opened its doors to the community on October 18, 2008 after a string of youthrelated homicides near Richmond High School in 2000 mobilized students to take action to address the violence and lack of safety at school and in the community. Students organized vigils and community forums with more than 1,500 youth and community members, and met and worked with local officials and stakeholders on a comprehensive assessment of youthidentified priorities and solutions.

RYSE Youth Center

Grounded in social justice, RYSE builds youth power for young people ages 1321 living in Richmond and West Contra Costa County to love, learn, educate, heal and transform lives and communities.

Since 2008, more than 3,000 young people have participated in programs and activities. For more information go to www.rysecenter.org.

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Posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Under: Art and entertainment, Cities, community, Contra Costa County, Crime, development, History, Politics, Richmond, Schools | No Comments »

A working, old-style telephone booth survives in Richmond

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Each spring for the past few years Richmond has bestowed awards for historic preservation efforts. This isn’t one of them, but it deserves recognition.
It’s a functioning, old school phone booth that survives in the Richmond Memorial Auditorium at Civic Center Plaza. The auditorium and the rest of the plaza were renovated four years ago and a bank of phone booths (phones long since yanked) in the lobby were removed.
But a built-in booth at the end of one hallway remains, still with a phone, the little table underneath, and a folding door.
Even better, there is still a directory (the 2002 West Contra Costa phone book from SBC) attached to the wall inside an original Yellow Pages protective cover (below).

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Posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Under: government, History, Richmond | No Comments »