El Cerrito city offices will take a one-week holiday break — almost

If you have pressing business to conduct with the City of El Cerrito, do it before Christmas Eve or wait until 2014.
Like most municipalities in the area, El Cerrito is shutting down between Christmas and New Year’s — with one exception. City offices will be open Dec. 30, because it was felt the downtime would be too long.
Here is the announcement from the city:

With the exception of Monday, December 30, 2013, City Hall and the Community Center Offices will be closed for the winter holiday period beginning Tuesday, December 24, 2013 through Friday, January 3, 2014 to facilitate the consolidation of employee vacation schedules and to save energy.

Other offices and facilities also have a modified schedule during this timeframe. Please refer to the City’s website, http://www.el-cerrito.org for full details about holiday hours for City offices and facilities.

Direct link: http://www.el-cerrito.org/winterbreakschedule
The El Cerrito Police & Fire Departments operate 365 days per year.
If you need immediate assistance from the police or fire department, dial 9-1-1.
If a Public Works emergency occurs while the office is closed, call the police non-emergency dispatch number at 510-237-3233.
Swim Center: Go to the Swim Center page for more details about the December Swim Center Schedule.
Holiday Break Camp: The Recreation Department offers a Holiday Break Camp for students in grades K-6. Pre-registration is required: Holiday Break Camp Information


Highway 4 connector ramp to Interstate 80 closed tonight

Caltrans issued an announcement this afternoon:

Interstate 80 Integrated Corridor Mobility Project
Ramp Closures Continue

Contra Costa County –The connector ramp from westbound State Route 4 to westbound Interstate 80 and the eastbound John Muir Parkway/State Route 4 on-ramp to westbound I-80 will be closed Monday night, December 9, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. This closure is necessary to replace striping.

Detour: Take eastbound Interstate 80 and exit at Willow Avenue. Turn right on Willow Avenue and turn left on the westbound I-80 on-ramp.

This work is weather dependent, and if delayed due to weather conditions will be rescheduled. Please 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.”

The I-80 Integrated Corridor Mobility project will provide safety improvements for the traveling public; mobility and efficiency during commute hours; automated, integrated technology to manage traffic efficiently; real-time traffic information for travelers; with tax dollars funding SMART solutions.

Follow us on Twitter @CaltransD4. Follow the project at #80ICM. For more information, please visit the webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/projects/80icm/


Oakland Tribune coverage of the repeal of prohibition 80 years ago today


The Oakland Tribune covers the repeal of prohibition on Dec. 5, 1933, enacted after an anxious nation waited to see if Utah would ratify the amendment. Not shown is the portion of the story assuring readers that local breweries are in operation on a 24-hour schedule to meet the expected demand. The federal government also prepared to release its supplies of “medicinal liquor.”




El Cerrito: Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame member Roy Trumbull dies at 73

The Broadcast Legends group announces that Roy Trumbull, a longtime El Cerrito resident and member of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, has died:

Roy Howard Trumbull Nov. 28, 1939 – Nov. 25, 2013 Resident of El Cerrito Roy died peacefully 3 days shy of his 74th birthday at his home. Family surrounded him with love and life in his last days. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Pat Trumbull. He is remembered as a loving father by daughter Erica Ilana Trumbull, and son David Ian Trumbull and as a loving grandfather by Loveday & Miles Harrison Trumbull and Isaac & Cedar Trumbull-Stearns. Roy was born in San Francisco to Lyman Barney Trumbull and Sue Helen Trumbull (nee Higgins) and lived most of his life in view of the Golden Gate Bridge. A broadcast engineering legend, he was honored by the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame just days before his final struggle to live a little bit longer in the shadow of a long battle with bladder cancer. As a testament to a life well lived, Roy will be remembered for the many stories he told and recorded as the Storyspieler (www.Storyspieler.net) and the folk songs he remembered and shared. A celebration of his life will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2pm, Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Center, Richarmond, CA (just off 80 at Hilltop). Please email memories and requests to be notified of the date and location to RoyTrumbullLife@comcast.net Donations in Roy’s memory may be made to the California Historical Radio Society www.californiahistoricalradio.com or Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond, Ca. or a charity of your choice.


El Cerrito/Kensington/Grateful Dead: When Phil Lesh and Sundar Shadi’s daughters performed in concert together

Note the highlighted names in this article from the Dec. 10, 1949 Berkeley Daily Gazette.

The degrees of separation between Sundar Shadi, who started El Cerrito’s most beloved Christmas tradition, and the Grateful Dead, the San Francisco band that left a cult of followers as part of its legacy, is shorter than you might imagine. And earlier.
All three of Shadi’s daughters — Zilpha, Ramona and Verna — performed in concert with Phil Lesh, the future bass player of the Dead, 64 years ago this month with the Kensington School orchestra at a holiday pageant. The four were in elementary school and 9-year-old Phil (the Lesh family lived on Edgecroft Road in Kensington at the time) was then playing violin and would not meet Jerry Garcia for another 13 years. (Someone, somewhere must have a snapshot of this performance.)
You won’t find this footnote in the new documentary “Sundar Shadi’s Gifts,” but you will learn more about the man who gave a lasting gift and message to his community. You’ll also learn about the family that indulged Mr. Shadi’s passion for elaborate displays.
“Sundar Shadi’s Gifts” can now be streamed from the city’s website and will soon be available to borrow from the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave., or rent at Silver Screen Video at El Cerrito Plaza. (Full disclosure: The author of this post was interviewed for the documentary.)
You can also get a copy when the display, now staged by a team of volunteers, opens from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly from Dec. 14 to Dec. 26. Or better yet, you can be part of the tradition by volunteering.

Mr. Shadi’s figures in their original location on the Arlington.

Staff Photojournalist

Grateful Dead guitarist and vocalist Phil Lesh, here performing during the band’s 2009 concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, got his musical start in Kensington. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)