Above, is an early 1939 promotional aerial view/map of Richmond and its surrounding area. Much of the Richmond shoreline in the foreground has yet to be reshaped for the Kaiser shipyards, including leveling a large hill.
In the background (below) are the West County towns past Richmond on two-lane Highway 40 and San Pablo Avenue, including the forgotten heavy industry company settlements, such as Giant (dynamite manufacturing), Oleum (oil refinery) and Selby (metal smelting).
Click on each photo for a larger view.
The bell that summoned generations of students to class at Pinole-Hercules School #1 has been refurbished and will be dedicated at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Collins Elementary School, 1224 Pinole Valley Road in Pinole. Light refreshments will be served.
The bell is a remnant of the school that served children in Pinole and Hercules from 1906 to 1966. The school was demolished in 1968.
“The West Contra Costa Unified School District rescued the bell from its outdoor location at Pinole Middle School, where it had been subject to the elements
for several decades,” notes the Pinole Historical Society. “The bell, rusted and pock-marked, was placed in storage in several locations until mid 2013, when the WCCUSD authorized its restoration. The bell was sandblasted, power-coated with a satin black finish, and sealed.”
Police are circulating this flier explaining “skimming” and how to avoid falling victim to a thief when using a debit card at an ATM or a store checkout counter.
An incident involving a “shoulder surfer” was reported in Hercules last week.
Fairmount School crossing guard in front of Amerio Drugs on San Pablo Avenue.
Posted here are excerpts of home movies of El Cerrito in the 1940s and 1950s that the family of Arthur Lorenzo Hopkins shared with the El Cerrito Historical Society that show slices of life in a city was still early in its development and in many ways still rural. Living just a few doors north of El Cerrito High School, the Hopkins family raised crops and livestock in the double-deep back yard of their home on Pomona Avenue, including cows, chickens and turkeys.
A team of horses is seen plowing a vacant lot across the street (still there) to plant a World War II victory garden and student crossing guards from Fairmount Elementary School stop traffic on San Pablo Avenue (look for Amerio Drug Store and the old Bank of America location).
Home movies that seem to be of little interest to anyone outside the family that took them can be an invaluable to historical societies trying to record what life was like in different eras. They add a dimension different that complements still photographs and written records.
Maybe you have a reel of film or an old VHS or Beta tape tucked away somewhere that could be digitized and shared with future generations (the original returned, of course). Historical societies would love to find out.
Contact the El Cerrito Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org, the El Sobrante Historical Society at email@example.com, the Pinole Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Richmond Museum of History at 510-235-7387 or email@example.com.
Kennedy High in Richmond is looking for people from the community to discuss their jobs at its Career Fair on Jan. 24.
The event was selected to fall on the week of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as part of the “I have a dream” message, writes Jamie Myrick, who is lining up guests for the event.
Ninth grade JFK student Luis Calixto wrote the following for the Kennedy Eagle Eye:
Kennedy High school is hosting a career fair and looking for speakers to talk about their jobs on Jan. 24th. We want people to come in and motivate students to succeed in their high school years. Too many students are dropping out during their senior year based on failing classes in their 9th grade year. If someone were to come and speak to them about their struggles in school and how they managed to succeed in life maybe the dropout rate would decrease. That way our schools test scores will continue increase.
John F. Kennedy high school is designed to prepare us for life and college. We have many programs and academies to help students get ahead, including Saturday school and parent workshops. The test scores have gone up this year because of this and the quality of the school has improved. As I type this, there are workers outside renovating the science buildings. However we still need great speakers for the career fair.
President Kennedy once said “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Too often people talk about the government not doing things for youth, but today we are asking you to join in changing the youth of our community. When you give time to the Kennedy High school students you are helping them become successful in their academics. As the future leaders of America we need help and support from people who have made it in life. We ask you do send someone to Kennedy to speak to the 9th grade class and tell them how important it is to do well in school.
The careers that appeal to me are working in law as a Judge or medicine as a Doctor. They pay well and help people in need.
Like many 9th grade students, I haven’t really thought seriously about what I want to be when I get older but I am leaning towards these jobs and hearing about how the classes we take relate to employment, careers and starting businesses will help each of us. We would love to meet people from a wide variety of fields, hear about how to succeed in high school and college. Many people celebrate
Dr. King’s holiday by giving time to their community, we hope you will spend time with the students of Kennedy High.
The career fair is scheduled for January 24th. Speakers may talk in 30 minute increments for more information call Ms. Myrick at 510-333-1306
WriterCoach Connection is seeking volunteers for its upcoming training:
Volunteer Writing Coaches Needed for Teens: Free Trainings Start January 14
WriterCoach Connection volunteers help teens develop confidence and gain
competence in their thinking and writing skills. Our volunteers work with students
on their classroom writing assignments providing one-on-one support for every
student in a participating class.
No prior experience is necessary; you bring the commitment and we’ll provide the
training and ongoing support that you need to work effectively with students,
including your own.
If you can commit to a regular 1-2 hour time slot, 2-4 times per month during the
school day–we especially need coaches for 8:00 and 9:00 am class periods in some
locations– we invite you to join over 600 volunteers, many of whom feel this is
”the highlight of my week!”
We currently need coaches at: Albany Middle School; Life Academy and Fremont High
in Oakland; El Cerrito High and Portola Middle School in El Cerrito; Berkeley High
and King and Longfellow Middle Schools in Berkeley.
New coach trainings begin January 14. Join us now for the best opportunity you’ve
ever had to learn to help teens think critically and find their voice.
For more information about our program, and to register online, please go to
In the run-up last week to a possible BART strike (which has happened) and an AC Transit strike (which hasn’t happened — yet), a Bay Area broadcast outlet erroneously announced on social media that WestCAT, was also facing a strike.
Not so, emphasizes the agency, which issued the following statement:
WestCAT Buses Keep On Keepin’ On
July 1, 2013, Pinole, CA – Despite several unsubstantiated rumors of a possible WestCAT driver strike, which have been circulating since early last week, WestCAT drivers rolled out bright and early this morning as scheduled. In fact, additional transbay service to San Francisco was included with the morning rollout. WestCAT and MV employees woke up early this morning ready, willing and able to add their assistance to the thousands of commuters displaced by the BART work stoppage.
Everyone at WestCAT has been gearing up for the possibility of a BART strike for several weeks now. As confirmation came in, dozens of staff began arriving early at key locations from Hercules to San Francisco to assist displaced commuters, provide directions or just reassurances to those who might be unfamiliar with bus operations.
“A special thank you goes out to the WestCAT drivers, dispatchers and maintenance crew who are doing an incredible job today given the very demanding conditions, which are likely to continue for the duration of the strike,” said WestCAT General Manager, Charles Anderson.
It will not be known for at least a few days the impact the additional riders will have made to WestCAT’s overall ridership, but staff expects that it will be significant.
WestCAT will continue to place frequent updates to its strike contingency plan on the agency’s official website http://www.westcat.org/bart.html for the duration of the BART work stoppage. Customers can also call WestCAT information at 510-724-7993. For access to all of the Bay Area transit contingency plans go online at alert.511.org or call 511 for more trip planning options and travel needs.
WestCAT serves a West County area of just over 20 square miles that includes Pinole and Hercules and the unincorporated areas of Montalvin Manor, Bayview, Tara Hills, Rodeo, Crockett, and Port Costa.
NEW REPORT SHOWS $3.3 BILLION HIT TO COMMUNITY WEALTH FROM IMPENDING WELLS FARGO FORECLOSURES IN CALIFORNIA
Report provides first-ever look at a major bank’s current foreclosure pipeline in California’s cities and the impact of these foreclosures on the State’s economy.
WHAT: Press conference and call to discuss new state-of-the-art findings regarding Wells Fargo’s current foreclosure pipeline and consequences for California’s economy in 2013.
Photo opportunity: homeowners protesting at bank that is foreclosing on them.
WHO: Members of the Community Group ACCE including struggling homeowners
WHEN: Press Conference: Tuesday, March 12 at 1:30pm
WHERE: Wells Fargo Branch,1374 Fitzgerald Dr., Pinole, CA
WHY: The foreclosure crisis continues to damage California’s economy. On Tuesday, policy experts will release a state-of-the-art report documenting the number of homes currently facing foreclosure in California and the economic consequences of these foreclosures for neighboring homeowners, local and state governments, investors, and the families who will lose their homes. The data is broken out by city for the largest 21 cities in California for tailored local reports. The report was written by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).
Although Wells Fargo recently announced a record $19 billion in profit in 2012, the bank continues to resist a comprehensive program of mortgage principal reduction, despite the fact that economists from across the political spectrum believe principal reduction is the key to generating a robust recovery for California. If Wells Fargo carries through on its current foreclosure threats, California homeowners
– primarily neighbors of foreclosed homes – will see a $3.3 billion reduction in their property values.
The West Contra Costa Science Fair has announced the results of this year’s competition:
The West Contra Costa Science Fair held an Awards Ceremony on Thursday, February 28, in the Knox Performing Arts Center. Dr. Donna Floyd, Interim Vice President of Contra Costa College, told the audience the first WCCSF was held 55 years ago on this site. Dr. Bruce Harter, Superintendent of the West Contra Costa Unified School District and former secondary science teacher, described some of the projects that caught his eye such as the one about texting on a keyboard vs. a flat screen and another on how to shut down WiFi. Dr. Mayra Padilla, Direct of STEM & METAS Program at Contra Costa College encouraged the students to look into the opportunities for high school students at CCC.
A total of 96 awards were presented to 85 students in grades 7 through 12 from eight West Contra Costa Unified schools: Crespi, DeJean, Helms, and Portola Junior High Schools; Mira Vista and Stewart K-8 Schools; as well as El Cerrito and Pinole Valley High Schools.
Of the 152 projects on display in the Gym Annex Room 40 from Monday, February 25, until just after the Awards Ceremony, 90% came from 7th and 8th graders. However, of the 10% that came from the high schools, 93% were winners of first- through fourth-places and special awards while only 51% of the 7th and 8th grade projects won the awards. There were no 9th grade projects.
Of the four categories, 57% of the projects were in Physical Science; 24% were in Biological Science; 16% in Behavioral Science and only 3% in Mathematics.
Portola Junior High students won the most awards with 29 garnered from the 32 projects submitted. Their awards included two 1st places, six 2nd places, eight 3rd places, ten 4th places and three special awards.
Overall there were 6 first-place winners, 14 second-place winners, 23 third-place winners, 42 fourth-place winners and 11 special awards.
The first-place winners also each received a Bio-Rad cash award: seventh-grader Colm Hayden (“Can Redwood Absorb and Release Fog?”) from Portola; seventh-grader Nicole Stokowski (“How Do Differences in Mass Affect Conservation of Angular Momentum?”) from Mira Vista; eighth-grader Jacqueline Rojas (“What Abilities Does Your Brain Have?”) from Helms; eighth-grader Nora Gest (“Which Nuts Have the Most Calories?”) from Portola; tenth-grader Andrew Brodsky (“The Effects of Barrel Size on Projectile Velocity”) from El Cerrito High;and eleventh-grader Sydney Gallion (“Natural Frequency and Length”) from El Cerrito High.
Other special awards included math puzzle books Dennis Claudio presented to the seventh-graders Minahil Khan (“Reverse the Multiplication”) and Paulo Del Rosario (“Switch or Stay?”) both from Crespi; as well as a book on graph theory presented to Mark Ohlmann (“Can You Run Out of Luck?”) from Pinole Valley High, The Hal Magarian Memorial Award went to seventh-grader Julia Walker (“Rosemary’s pH Preference”) from Portola Junior High. The Bill Tobin Award was given to Mark Ohlmann from Pinole Valley High. Read the rest of this entry »