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Trees in East Bay hills will be El Cerrito Historical Society program topic

The El Cerrito Historical Society is presenting a timely talk about the trees in the East Bay hills on at 7 p.m. July 30.

The announcement from the society:

History program about the East Bay Forest will illuminate current issues

Trees are big news these days in the East Bay. Plans by the East Bay Regional Park District, the city of Oakland and UC Berkeley to remove thousands of eucalyptus trees because they pose a fire danger have outraged many tree lovers.

Opinions have blazed across the pages of local newspapers accusing Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf of planning the murder of squirrels by proposing to take away their habitat.

“When chainsaws decimate the vast forests which create their homes, reducing public lands once blanketed with their habitat to barren, empty hillsides, where, exactly, are these animals supposed to go?” one blogger demanded.

Proponents of the tree removal plan say it falls well short of clear cutting. According to the successful application for federal funds, the project, “would provide more effective protection over a large area by creating a continuous firebreak along the most vulnerable wildland-urban interfaces.”

“(The park district, Oakland and the university) propose to reduce fuel loads and fire intensity, primarily by thinning plant species that are prone to torching, and by promoting conversion to vegetation types with lower fuel loads. In many areas the proposed and connected actions would preserve oak and bay trees and convert dense scrub, eucalyptus forest, and non-native pine forest, to grassland with islands of shrubs.”

El Cerrito too has groves of eucalyptus trees, some of which help visually define such areas of our landscape as the Hillside Natural Area. The city also shares a large border with the East Bay Park District’s Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. Our city has many other trees that also present issues. Many of our trees are 50 years old and nearing the end of their lives. The city has already removed many.

To cast light on these issues and to get a deeper background the Historical Society, in conjunction with the city’s Environmental Quality Committee, is hosting Jerry Kent, former assistant general manager of the East Bay Park District. Kent’s talk, ‘How the East Bay Got its Forest,’ will take place Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. It is free and open to all and wheelchair accessible.

Of his talk, Jerry Kent writes: “Bay Area hills were mostly open grassland, with fringes of native trees in valleys when European settlers arrived in 1769. Large scale tree planting began in the West Bay in 1877 to forest Golden Gate Park, military posts, schools, and mountaintops.

“In the East Bay, one man began planting trees in 1895 to forest 13,000 acres for home sites in the hills and 3,000 acres for timber plantations. What became of his dream, and how do we deal with his legacy today, amid dense development, drought, changing climate, and wildfire risks?”
Kent retired after a 41-year career with the East Bay Regional Park District. A history lover, he has collected maps and photographs and researched many aspects of Bay Area nature and history. He will describe the history of large-scale tree planting projects, and discuss the benefits and responsibilities of owning planted urban forests.

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El Cerrito: Former childhood home of rock greats Tom and John Fogerty is up for sale; open house on Sunday

fogerty house for sale

The earliest home where future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Tom and John Fogerty grew up in El Cerrito is on the market.
The three-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 7251 Eureka Ave. has an asking price of $729,000 according to the listing, but not because of its connection to music history, which isn’t mentioned.
The house has undergone extensive interior remodeling and exterior landscaping, including a backyard hot tub, since the Fogerty family lived there in the first years after the end of World War II and young John attended El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative.
fogerty 1947
Oakland phone book listing for the Fogerty family from 1947.
The family later moved in the early 1950s to a house on Ramona Avenue.
The Eureka Avenue location is scheduled for open houses on July 12 and 19, according to the listing.

johnfogerty1947

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El Cerrito: Learn about Del Norte BART station modernization plans

Bart Rendering 1

BART is holding an outreach event from 4-7 p.m. July 8 on plans for the Del Norte statio

El Cerrito del Norte Station Modernization Community Event

The community can hear about BART’s plans to modernize the El Cerrito del Norte station, view the conceptual redesign, learn more about the planned art for the station and the construction timeline at an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The open house will be held at the station, San Pablo Avenue at Cutting Boulevard.

As part of the Station Modernization effort, BART plans to upgrade and modernize the station’s function, safety, capacity, sustainability, and appearance, and improve the customer and employee experience.

More details: http://www.bart.gov/about/planning/contracosta/elcerritodelnorte

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UPDATED: El Cerrito hillside grass fire quickly contained — vegetation maintenance made a difference, official says

Mop-up

Neighbors look on as crews from the El Cerrito and Richmond fire departments knock down a small grass fire that broke out behind houses on Seaview Place in El Cerrito. Photo by Steve Crawford.

The El Cerrito and Richmond fire departments quickly extinguished a grass fire at 7:40 p.m. today on the hillside to the rear of houses on Sea View Place at Moeser Lane.
Steve Crawford, who took this photo, said it “only burned a patch about 100-150 feet across.”

A resident of the area tweeted, “Five minutes after the #MoeserFire is out, I hear more illegal fireworks going off. Really? Let’s protect our dry hills, folks!”

Here is the report on the fire from El Cerrito Battalion Chief Michael Pigoni:

Tonight at approximately 7:40 pm, E71, E64, E66, E65, T64, B71 and B64 (E72 was committed to a medical) were dispatched to a vegetation fire behind the houses in the 7400 block of Seaview Place off Navellier. A full structure response was sent based on the reports the fire was near the houses.

B71 arrived on scene first and could view the fire to the north of Seaview Place on the PG&E right-away. The extent of the fire was not totally visible from Navellier Street, but it appeared to be burning slow and not threatening the homes. B71 established Seaview Place IC and assigned E71 to Seaview Place to find access through the houses and establish a line on the upper portion of the fire and evaluate conditions. Initially E64 was assigned to make access through the gate to the PG&E right-away and stretch a hose lay up to the bottom of the fire. E65 actually arrived at the gate first, cut the lock and made access up the dirt road to the head of the fire that was slowly backing down the hill. They initiated fire attack with a pre-connected 1-1/2” hose line. E71 was able to made access with another 1-1/2” hose line from Seaview Place. E66 was assigned to assisted E71 and E64 was assigned to assist E65. T64 was cancelled on scene.

Captain 71 reported the fire was contained and that they could handle with E65. E66 gave E71 their water and then both E66 and E64 returned to service. The fire was contained to approximately a 50’ x 100’ area under the high voltage lines in mowed grass. FPO 7130 was in the area and was requested to start investigating the origin of the area. He spoke with the residents and the person that tried to extinguish the fire and then searched the area thoroughly but was unable to locate any source of the fire. He will return in the morning to look again in the daylight.

The cool evening and mowed grass contributed to the slow fire spread.

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Volunteers sought for Albany Hill work party on Saturday

Friends of Five Creeks sent this appeal:

Join Friends of Five Creeks and Friends of Albany Hill Saturday!
Sat., June 27, 9:30 am – 12:30 PM, F5C partners with Friends of Albany Hill to care for the wonderful urban wildland that reaches from creek to hilltop. Meet at El Cerrito’s Creekside Park, south end of Santa Clara Avenue (map here). Tools, gloves, water, and snacks provided.

All ages welcome — there’s a play structure for young kids at the park. If you want to work on the hill, wear long pants and long sleeves, due to poison oak.

You’ll have a choice of tasks — we need light work along the shady creek as well as work uphill removing invasive passion vine, that could smother the beautiful oaks!

No RSVP needed — just show up. Questions? Email f5creeks@gmail.com.

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El Cerrito dining and game events on Thursday will support annual Relay for Life fundraiser

panda

A pair of kickoff events for the upcoming Relay for Life in El Cerrito will be held on Thursday.

The Relay for Life team from Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is sponsoring a fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. June 25 at the Panda Express at El Cerrito Plaza. Print and show the flier above and a “20% of your purchase (with flyer) will go toward Playland’s fundraising efforts to support the American Cancer Society.”

Organizers note that “It’s the perfect dinner for Playland’s After Dark evening from 6pm-10pm for Grown-Ups only ($10 per person)” that same evening at the amusement park tribute attraction at 10979 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito. Playland After Dark will feature board games, skee-ball, carnival games, arcade games and free play on more than 30 new and vintage pinball machines.

These and other events lead up to the annual Relay For Life of El Cerrito 24-hour walking fundraiser, set this year for 10 a.m. Aug. 1 to 10 a.m. Aug. 2 at Cerrito Vista Park, 950 Pomona Ave.

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UPDATED El Cerrito: Air evacuation of injured bicyclist by CalStar helicopter from Cerrito Vista Park

CalSTAR One

A 25-year-old man riding a bicycle on the Ohlone Greenway received “moderate” injuries just after 6 p.m. this evening when he crossed Lincoln Street and was struck by a pickup truck that was unable to stop in time, an El Cerrito Fire Department official said.
The bicyclist was treated by fire Battalion 71 and then taken to Cerrito Vista Park, where the CalStar helicopter was summoned and flew him to John Muir Medical Center, said Battalion Chief Larry Carr.
The cyclist was not wearing a helmet, he said. The driver remained at the scene.
Carr said the injuries were such that treatment at a trauma center was justified, and that the lack of a hospital in West Contra Costa after the closure of Doctors Medical Center was not a factor in the decision.

Photos are by El Cerrito resident Steve Crawford.

CalSTAR One

CalSTAR One

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El Cerrito store grand opening Saturday to feature former Oakland Raider Raymond Chester

A new store selling batteries and light bulbs will hold its grand opening on June 20 with former Oakland Raider tight end Raymond Chester as the featured guest.
The Batteries Plus Bulbs store at 10770 San Pablo Ave. will host the Chamber of Commerce at the ribbon-cutting and invites the public to the festivities — including food, product giveaways, promotions and a raffle — from noon to 5 p.m.

According to a news release, “Gordon Messer, age 53, decided to launch a new career in franchising after working over 30 years in the food industry. A UC Santa Barbara graduate with a mechanical engineering degree, he held several managerial and senior-level positions at Quaker Oats and Fleischmann’s Yeast. In 2006, Messer became a consultant to national wholesale bakeries and formed his own company, Yeast Systems LLC. This job demanded extensive travel, which grew tiresome as it kept him away from his family, which prompted him to use his retirement savings to open the El Cerrito Batteries Plus Bulbs store.”
The store offers more than 50,000 battery and light bulb products, along with battery rebuilds and installation, in-store recycling and local business assistance programs.

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El Cerrito announces road closures on Fairmount and Manila avenues

El Cerrito has announced road closures on Fairmount and Manila avenues this week for paving work.
Fairmount will be closed between Richmond Street and Colusa Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Manila will be closed between Richmond and Kearney streets from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Traffic will be detoured around both work sites.
The announcements from the city:

Fairmount Ave – Temporary Road Closure & Detours
Thursday, June 18
The City of El Cerrito, Public Works Department is completing a paving project on Fairmount Avenue between Colusa Avenue and Richmond Street. On Thursday, June 18th, this section of Fairmount will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Vehicles will be detoured to Colusa Avenue, Eureka Avenue, Ashbury Avenue, Central Avenue and Richmond Street. Garbage, Recycling and AC Transit, as well as, local traffic will be allowed through the work zone with minor delays. Emergency vehicles will always have access. Please expect minor delays. Thank you for your patience during this construction work. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact the Public Works Department at (510) 215-4382.

Manila Ave – Temporary Road Closure & Detours
Friday, June 19

The City of El Cerrito, Public Works Department is completing a paving project on Manila Avenue between Richmond Street and Kearney Street. On Friday, June 19th, this section of Manila will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Vehicles will be detoured to Richmond Street, Schmidt Lane and San Pablo Ave. Garbage, Recycling and AC Transit, as well as, local traffic will be allowed through the work zone with minor delays. Emergency vehicles will always have access. Please expect minor delays. Thank you for your patience during this construction work. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact the Public Works Department at (510) 215-4382.