Engineer Grant Smith guides the #4 steam locomotive, known as "Laurel," through "Wet Neck Curve" on the Redwood Valley Railway, Thursday, July 20, 2006 at Tilden Park in Berkeley, Calif. (Staff photo by D. Ross Cameron)
If we weren’t busy reporting the news, the perfect weather today would have us thinking about heading to Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley hills.
Lake Anza just went to summer swimming hours on Monday (open daily with life guards on duty from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and is perfect for cooling off.
Also on summer hours are the Tilden Merry-Go-Round (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) and the little steam train at the Redwood Valley Railway ($2 a ride, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends).
Add free attractions such as the Botanic Garden and the Little Farm, not to mention the hiking trails and picnic areas, and it’s a low cost day out that’s hard to beat.
Looking ahead, circle Aug. 13 on the calendar, when there will be a celebration of the Tilden Merry-Go-Round’s 100th year.
View Larger Map
Posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Under: El Cerrito, Kensington | No Comments »
Yes, it was fairly cool in West County on Memorial Day, but nowhere near as chilly as the announcement board at El Cerrito High School was claiming at 5:40 p.m.
Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond | No Comments »
The Performing Arts Center at El Cerrito High School, 540 Ashbury Ave., has been a busy venue since it opened, hosting both student productions and companies such as the Berkeley West Edge Opera.
The theater is hosting events this weekend, starting with “Bollywood Comes to El Cerrito” from 6-7:30 p.m. Friday. The Bollywood festivities are hosted by the school’s South Asian Student Union and will include a student dance performance, a fashion show and a special performance students from by Albany High School.
Tickets will be $5 students, $6 adults at the door.
At 7 p.m. Saturday the theater will host the first ever talent show presented by the West Contra Costa School District’s Youth Commission, featuring skilled performers from around the district.
Tickets are $3 ages 12 and under, $5 ages 13-18 and $7 ages 19 and up, with proceeds benefitting student activities.
Still coming up is a year-end performance by students in the ECHS jazz program who will play with members of the beloved horn section from Tower of Power at 7:30 p.m. May 31.
“Take a nostalgic trip back in time to hear Tower of Power hits performed by the ECHS Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble alongside TOP greats like trumpeter Mic Gillette (remember the opening solo of ‘Your Still A Young Man’?) and baritone sax player extraordinaire Stephen ‘Doc’ Kupka.”
Organizers promise “Great music (and) sumptuous treats all to support the growing ECHS Music Program!”
Tickets are $20 for VIP seats and $15 for general admission and can be reserved by calling Lynn Chung at 510-236-5637 or Chungdc@aol.com.
Coming up this summer will be a presentation of “Les Misérables” performed by 36 young actors in Berkeley-based Stage Door Conservatory’s Teens on Stage program. Details on the production are available at 510-521-6250.
Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011
Under: El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »
As budgets tighten, these aren’t easy times to be a public employee or, for that matter, a public agency. Local educators and their unions are hoping to muster some support from passing taxpayers for their position with a Teacher Appreciation Celebration and Rally from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at Civic Center Plaza in Richmond.
Supporters are invited to join teachers, representatives of the United Teachers of Richmond and Mayor Gayle McLaughlin at the rally, themed “Great Teaching Lasts a Lifetime.”
If you can read their signs, thank a teacher. If you know someone being held back in life because they can’t, or can’t read the signs too well, put them in contact with LEAP, the city’s free Literacy for Every Adult program that teams tutors and learners individually or in small groups.
View Larger Map
Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »
Detail from a hand-drawn, “bird’s-eye-view” map of Berkeley circa 1909 shows Richmond and the future El Cerrito and Kensington.
This is a section of a map of Berkeley believed to be from 1909 and drawn from a viewpoint somewhere around what is now Grizzly Peak.
Note the sail- and steam-powered ships on the Bay, the large open area that was the remaining land of the Castro adobe (now El Cerrito Plaza) and the familiar plumes from the refinery at the right. Also, Point Isabel is depicted as an island.
This is the background for my Twitter page.
Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011
Under: El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond | No Comments »
A quick run down of things going on in and around West County this weekend that we didn’t cover in print:
BERKELEY: If you’ve never been to Cal Day on the, the annual open house UC Berkeley event for families and prospective students is worth a visit, with lectures, tours, labs, sports, museums, performances, activities for kids and much more from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
One of the highlights is the Biodiversity Roadshow in the courtyard of the Valley Life Sciences Building, where you can bring “leaves/plants, bugs, bones, feathers, eggs, fossils, seashells and other found natural objects and have them identified by representatives from the BNHM, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, the Essig Museum of Entomology, the University and Jepson Herbaria, and the UC Museum of Paleontology.”
Details: calday.berkeley.edu or 510-642-2294.
PINOLE: An e-waste collection event is set outside the Safeway at 1421 Tara Hills Drive at Appian way in Pinole 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
EL CERRITO: The Swim Center and Splash Park at 7007 Moeser Lane will be open for recreational swim from 1:15-3:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
* The Barnes & Noble store at El Cerrito Plaza will be presenting awards and prizes to Harding Elementary fourth grade teacher Anne Marie Pine at 2 p.m. Saturday for winning the favorite teacher contest based on an essay submitted by one of her students.
* Playland Not-at-the-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito, which last week lost its founder and guiding light Richard Tuck, is hosting a Sherlock Holmes Weekend from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with “mysteries galore, hidden clues, treasures” and a different magician performing each day.
Admission is $15 general, $10 youth and seniors.
RICHMOND: The monthly Bridge Art Space Swap Meet is 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, at Bridge Storage, 23 Maine Ave. Bicycle guru Slimm Buick will be doing free & sliding-scale repairs from 8-10 a.m.
* This week’s comedy show at the Boilerhouse Restaurant, 1414 Harbour Way South at the Ford Point building, will feature Yayne Abeba, Chris Ayag, Matt Beagle, Danny Dechi and Duat Mai starting at 9 p.m. Saturday.
* The North and East neighborhood is holding its second annual Spring Celebration and Egg Hunt from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at the Solano Playlot, at 38th Street and Solano Avenue. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will attend and the day will include the egg hunt, temporary tattoos, crafts, games, and a visit by firefighters. Buy a raffle ticket and something at the bake sale to benefit the park’s refurbishing.
Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011
Under: El Cerrito, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond | No Comments »
Photo credit: Pak Han
Ashkon Davaran of Kensington landed the lead role in the Shotgun Players original production "Beardo," playing at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley through April 24.
Ashkon Davaran is kind of busy these days, what with the play he’s starring in, the web-based series he’s making for Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, a new baseball related video and other projects.
Davaran, the El Cerrito High grad and Kensington resident who made the San Francisco Giants theme song video that became a YouTube sensation during the team’s run through the playoffs and World Series, has a new lead role.
Davaran, a theater arts graduate from UC Santa Cruz, has the lead in the Shotgun Players production of “Beardo,” an original production based on the life of Russian figure Rasputin.
No wonder that Davaaran passed up the chance to spend Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum for the final game of the Giants-A’s preseason series.
Instead, he helped host a baseball season kickoff event at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Then it was back to the play, which runs through April 24
Posted on Saturday, April 2nd, 2011
Under: El Cerrito, Kensington | No Comments »
If you were planning on going to a county library branch in Contra Costa on Thursday, well, don’t. The county library advises that “Due to Countywide budget cuts, all Contra Costa County Libraries will be closed on Thursday, March 31. During the closure, the book drops will remain open. Renewals may be requested online or by phone. Each community library will reopen on their next regularly scheduled open day.”
The main branch of the Richmond Library at 325 Civic Center Plaza isn’t part of the county system and will be open for its regular hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday.
View Larger Map
Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, Crockett, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo | No Comments »
Photo of unemployed man by Flickr user jronaldlee used under Creative Commons attribution license
The latest unemployment figures are out.
California released its jobless report today for the month of February. Have a gander at the West County numbers:
- Crockett: 21.4 percent
- El Cerrito: 9.8 percent
- Hercules: 7.9 percent
- Kensington: 4 percent
- Pinole: 7.7 percent
- Richmond: 17.6 percent
- Rodeo: 15.7 percent
- San Pablo: 21.5 percent
For some context, Contra Costa County’s unemployment rate is 11 percent. Statewide, it’s 12.2 percent. The numbers really haven’t changed all that much from 2010, although there have been some gains in the job market. Here’s hoping they will in 2011.
I’m eyeballing the report and there are cities in other counties including Fresno, Merced and Tulare counties with staggering unemployment rates approaching or exceeding the 40 percent mark. Yikes.
Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, Crockett, El Cerrito, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »
[/caption]Last Monday a story appeared about the first known color photographs of the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. That same day, an e-mail was circulated by the El Cerrito Emergency Preparedness Network seeking more people to sign up for the city-sponsored disaster training program that started classes on Thursday.
The cover of a magazine published a month after the great 1906 earthquake and fire leveled much of San Francisco. The event prompted a migration to the East Bay, which is just as vulnerable to the movement of fault lines.
“If you are interested in taking the CERT class, now is the time! They are in need of more students for the session starting this Thursday,” read the appeal.
Now is the time, indeed.
We don’t know if there were enough registrations for the El Cerrito class, but the first day of class was also the day the massive earthquake struck across the Pacific in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Saturday, March 12th, 2011
Under: El Cerrito, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond | No Comments »