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Winning students in annual Richmond Writes! poetry contest will be honored April 18

Students in Richmond schools selected as winners in the fifth annual Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest will be honored at a ceremony at 6 p.m. April 17 in the City Council chamber at 440 Civic Center Plaza. The public is invited to attend.

Below is the official announcement, including the names of the contest honorees who wrote poems on this year’s theme of Poetry in Motion.

Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest Announces Winners

Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest winners have been selected for 2015. The contest, conceived of by the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission (RACC) as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month, is in its fifth year.

Students from fourteen elementary, middle, and high schools in Richmond submitted both haiku and short poems. This year’s theme was Poetry in Motion and students wrote nearly 600 poems about it. The world is in motion, always moving and changing. They found motion in events, time, seasons, physical movements and activities, travel, music, and more.

Students from fourteen schools submitted nearly 600 poems this year! Poetry was judged by an eight-member selection panel: Susan Antolin, Lincoln Bergman, Donte Clark, Brenda Quintanilla, Maryann Maslan, Susan Anderson, Steve Early, and Connie Van Guilder. Three of them are Richmond’s own Poets Laureate (Quintanilla, Clark and Bergman); Antolin is a member of the Haiku Poets of Northern California; early is a published writer; Van Guilder is a professor and Liberal Studies Chair at JFK University in Pleasant Hill; and Maslan and Anderson are both commissioners on the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission.

Judges reviewed the contest entries in teams of two, picking favorites together in their packets. This method allowed for discussion and compromise, yet still accommodated individual taste. Poetry, for both the writer and the reader, is extremely subjective, and the judges made a point of honoring that in their final selections.

This year’s winners are:

Elementary Schools:

1st Prize: Anthony Alvarez, Washington Elementary
1st Prize: Ariella Benavides, Caliber Beta Academy
1st Prize: Clarissa Castro, Washington Elementary
1st Prize: Silvia Coca Cruz, Washington Elementary

2nd Prize: Amelie Banuelos, Washington Elementary
2nd Prize: Hannah Benavides, Washington Elementary
2nd Prize: Sania Kaleko, Wilson Elementary
2nd Prize: Citlali Mano, Washington Elementary
2nd Prize: Gloria Zearett, Washington Elementary

3rd Prize: Angel Abreau, Bayview Elementary
3rd Prize: Leah Ambernathy Saphon, Caliber Beta Academy
3rd Prize: Giselle Barragan, Washington Elementary
3rd Prize: Reiley Dillon, Washington Elementary
3rd Prize: Amitra Kellogg, Washington Elementary

Honorable Mention:

Alicia Acosta, Washington Elementary; Carlos Acosta, Washington Elementary; Mara Bravo, Coronado Elementary; Aaliyah Castillo, Washington Elementary; Rogelio Contreras, Washington Elementary; Selenah Corona DesSilva, Wilson Elementary; Gloria Diaz, Washington Elementary; Asia Jacobson, Coronado Elementary; Melvin Lopez, Jr., Coronado Elementary; Antonia Mason, Bayview Elementary; Parker Mina, Washington Elementary; Jacqueline Plascencia, Coronado Elementary; Maryanna Preciado, Coronado Elementary; Daniel Rodinson, Washington Elementary; Savannah Qualls, Washington Elementary; Daniel Rodinson, Washington Elementary; Kylie Alyssa Velazquez, Washington Elementary; Jimena Villarreal, Washington Elementary; and Tyrah Weems, Washington Elementary.

Middle Schools:

1st Prize: Teressa T. Bigbee, DeJean Middle School
2nd Prize: Jade Synott Brandow, Fred Korematsu Middle School
3rd Prize: Santiago Sixto, DeJean Middle School

Honorable Mention:
Juan Zamara, DeJean Middle School

High Schools:

1st Prize: Gabrielle Green, De Anza High School
2nd Prize: Yaritza Gomez, De Anza High School
3rd Prize: Angel Wiley, DeAnza High School

Honorable Mention:
Eugene O. Gaines, III, Kennedy High School
Jasmine Gill, DeAnza High School
Chandandeep Kaur, De Anza High School
Yajaira Sandoval, Kennedy High School
Austin Williams, Kennedy High School

LEAP

1st Prize: Teo Scura, LEAP

The Award Ceremony will be held at 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond in City Council Chambers on Friday, April 17th at 6:00 pm. All participants of the poetry contest will receive certificates of recognition from Mayor Tom Butt, and a copy of the chapbook containing all of this year’s poetry entries.

The Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest helps students learn how to write poetry as a way of expressing how they see the world. Each year their poems touch the hearts of the art commissioners, judges, teachers, parents, city staff, and all who read them. The public is welcome, and the poetry chapbooks will be available on a first-come first-served basis once the students have received their copies.

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Richmond: Bay Trail group seeks volunteers for user tally

Bruce Beyaert of the Trails for Richmond Action Committee has issued the following appeal:

Richmond Bay Trail Network,

Many of you have asked how you could help TRAC complete the San Francisco Bay Trail in Richmond. Here is an opportunity. We need volunteers to spend two hours counting and recording the numbers each of pedestrians and bicyclists on a key section of trail in order to determine the per cent of each trail user mode. This will take place on the spine Bay Trail between Marina Bay and Point Isabel at the S. 51st spur trail intersection. If you are willing to help, please go to http://doodle.com/37mi37cn9nyrquww and sign up for one or more of the two-hour time slots on Tuesday, April 14, Thursday, April 16, Saturday, April 18 and/or Sunday, April 19.

Why: TRAC is partnering with the City of Richmond to prepare a $700K+ grant application on the Goodrick Avenue Bay Trail Gap Closure Project. This requires data giving the split between pedestrians and bicyclists using an existing section of spine Bay Trail; however, East Bay Regional Park District’s trail counter data only yields total traffic, i.e. it can’t distinguish between pedestrians and bicyclists.

What to do to help: First, sign up for one or more two-hour time slots on http://doodle.com/37mi37cn9nyrquww . Then transport yourself to the spine Bay Trail between Marina Bay and Point Isabel at the S. 51st spur trail intersection. If driving, the S. 51st trailhead may be reached via Bayview exit. The spine Bay Trail is only 250 yards from the trailhead. You may wish to take a folding chair to sit on … or you can lean against the bridge railing or large Bay Trail sign panel at this intersection. Please record separately the numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists passing by and email the count data to tracbaytrail@earthlink.net giving the date and time period.rail

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Richmond: Learn about Fong Wan, Oakland’s forgotten entrepreneur, on Saturday

fong wan 1941
A 1941 ad for Fong Wan’t New Shanghai Club in downtown Oakland, featuring Mei Lan, the “original Chinese Sally Rand,” and the Fong Wan Acrobatic Troupe. Also note Samee Tong as the master of ceremonies. Tong, a San Francisco native, worked on bills at Fong Wan’s clubs for years and was frequently billed as “The playboy of Chinatown.” Tong had a long acting career dating back to 1934 and lasting into the 1960s. He had a regular role (as a Chinese houseboy) in the 1950s sitcom “Bachelor Father” and an appearance in the classic film comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” as a Chinese laundryman.

A program at 2 p.m. April 11 at the Richmond Museum of History will look at the life of Fong Wan, one of the greatest Oakland entrepreneurs you’ve probably never heard about.
Fong Wan was a savvy marketer — and heavy advertiser in newspapers around the Bay Area — who established an herbalist shop in Oakland and built on that with a diverse number of enterprises during the 1930s and ’40s that included night clubs in Oakland and San Francisco and a shrimp harvesting business based in Richmond.
Most importantly, Fong Wan successfully branded himself, putting the Fong Wan name — and usually his picture in advertisements — before the public at a time when Asians were largely kept on the margins of society.
The building where he had his herbalist shop and the family home on 10th Street in Oakland is still standing.
Here is the official announcement:

The Richmond Museum of History is pleased to announce an upcoming program about the Chinese experience in Richmond. Calvin Fong will speak on
Saturday April 11 at 2 p.m. about his Father, Fong Wan, and their experience owning the Fong Wan Shrimp Company (1934-1948) in Richmond.

Fong Wan was a Chinese immigrant based in Oakland who ran many businesses including hotels, night clubs, restaurants, an emporium type store, and a shrimp harvesting and distribution business. However, Fong Wan is best remembered for his role as a noted herbalist, who was arrested and accused of being a fraud and ultimately acquitted each time.

Learn more about the fascinating history of Fong Wan and his time in Richmond on Saturday April 11, 2015 at 2PM. The program is free with general admission of $5 for adults and $3 for seniors/students. More information at the Richmond Museum website: http://richmondmuseum.org

This program is being held in conjunction with the temporary exhibit Shrimping on the Bay: A view from Richmond on view at the Richmond Museum of History from March 21 – May 21, 2015. For more information call 510-235-7387 or email info@richmondmuseum.org.

fong wan shrimp co 1930s

FONG WAN CLUB OAKLAND 1949
A 1949 ad for Fong Wan’s Club Oakland.

fong wan herbalist ad
A 1936 ad for Fong Wan’s herbalist practice notes that he has been in Oakland for 21 years.

fong wan exhibit

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Richmond: SS Red Oak Victory will mark 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War on April 9

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The Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond is joining other units of the National Park Service in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War on April 9.
In most NPS locations the surrender of the Confederacy to the Union will be marked by the ringing of a bell at 12:15 p.m. local time.
In Richmond, the moment will be marked by blowing the whistle on the SS Red Oak Victory for four minutes. The observance is open to the public.
The National Park Service is encouraging organizations and individuals to take part in the observance with their own bell-ringing. Below is the full announcement.

NPS Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of The End of The Civil War

For the past four years, the National Park Service and many other organizations and individuals have been commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and the continuing efforts for human rights today. On April 9, 1865, Union General Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate General Robert E. Lee to set terms of surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. In commemoration of this historic event, the SS Red Oak Victory Ship will blow the ship’s whistle for 4 minutes. Each minute represents the end of four years of bloodshed during the Civil War.

Join the National Park Service and participate in the ringing of the bell at 12:15 on April 9, 2015. Churches, temples, schools, city halls, public buildings, and others are invited to ring bells at that time as a gesture to mark the end of the conflict in which more than 750,000 Americans perished.

The SS Red Oak Victory Ship is the last remaining ship of the 747 ships built in the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards during World War II. The ship is owned and operated by the Richmond Museum Association and partners with the National Park Service in preserving the history of the American WWII Home Front. The ship is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and most Sundays, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Call (510) 237-2933 for more information.

The Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM and is located at 1414 Harbour Way South, suite 3000, Richmond, CA 94804. For more information and directions to the Visitor Education Center, please call (510) 232-5050 x0 or visit to http://www.nps.gov/rori/planyourvisit/directions.htm. Admission to the Visitor Center and all park sites and programs is free.

If you would like to receive information about upcoming park events, visit www.rosietheriveter.org and sign up for the email newsletter. The Rosie the Riveter Trust is the nonprofit association that is building a community of support for this national park

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San Pablo: Why Doctor’s Medical Center hasn’t closed yet — a commentary by Dr. Sharon Drager

Why DMC Hasn’t Closed Yet

By Dr. Sharon Drager

If money were the only consideration, DMC would have closed years ago. Its financial challenges are no different than they have been. Hospitals close all the time; however, except for rural hospitals, there are usually other hospitals in the community to pick up the slack. So when Los Medanos closed, Sutter Delta was just down the road; the community still had a hospital and most of the medical staff was intact. The situation in West County is different, and everyone knows it. That’s why there’s a reluctance to see it close. DMC is not just the only public hospital in West County, it’s the ONLY hospital except for a Kaiser facility that has to take anyone who shows up in the emergency room, but is not open to the public for anything else.

Hospitals are ecosystems, not just inpatient facilities. In West County a medical community rich in specialists has grown up around DMC and cares for a community that has a high burden of chronic illness. So, when the hospital closes, so does the Cancer Center (radiation and chemotherapy), a busy Wound Care Center, advanced heart attack care, advanced comprehensive care for dialysis patients and comprehensive care for surrounding nursing homes, among other services.

Physicians won’t practice for long in offices surrounding a dead hospital. Many surgical specialists cluster around hospitals, which are their work places. They will disappear form West County and won’t be replaced.

The Hospital Council’s assertions that an Urgent Care Center will fulfill the needs of the community are disingenuous. Yes, many patients visiting any ER can be treated as outpatients, but many require advanced imaging, consultations and fairly aggressive treatment to allow them to go home. Urgent Care centers associated with hospital systems do can work like this but not small stand-alone units attached only to primary care clinics.

West County is in a relatively isolated position for an urban community as far as heart attack care is concerned. Without DMC, heart attack patients whether they’re Kaiser members or non-Kaiser members and whether they live in Richmond or Kensington have to be transported to Concord or Oakland. A 10-minute trip becomes an eternity.

The new hospital model for West County residents will be strictly 20th century, not up to date. Patients who require inpatient care will be treated episodically at whatever institution has room for them, often with a new set of specialists every admission. Kaiser has a vaunted coordinated care system, which applies only to its members. The default mode for non-members at Kaiser hospitals is “treat and street.” Pat Frost can argue that no one has yet died in an ambulance, but I know complicated patients who died because they were shipped to unfamiliar hospitals.

Finally, while I hope the community will consider a parcel tax, it is grossly unfair to tell West County residents that they don’t merit a hospital because they didn’t support another parcel tax. No one, including the editorial board of the Contra Costa Times, has ever suggested that residents of Walnut Creek or San Ramon or Antioch don’t deserve a hospital because they don’t pay a property tax. I guess those people are just luckier.

Dr. Sharon Drager is a vascular surgery doctor in San Pablo.

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El Cerrito: PG&E explains cause of this week’s power outage and the reason bright lights are being used overnight

El Cerrito residents have inquired about bright lights being used all night at the PG&E substation on Schmidt Lane and the utility has an explanation.
The lights are needed to replace equipment at the substation that was damaged at the substation on Jan. 20, which in turn caused a power outage to more than 30,000 customers from Berkeley to parts of Richmond.The lights allow crews to work safely at night.
Crews will continue work at the substation 24/7 through the weekend, said a PG&E spokeswoman, which may not help nearby beighbors rest any easier, but at least provides an explanation.

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Richmond: Students invited to free screening of “Selma” on Monday

Students will be admitted free to the 10:50 a.m. Jan. 19 showing of the film “Selma” at the Century Hilltop 16 Movie Theater, 3200 Klose Way, in celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Admission is on a first-come, first-serve basis and the ticket price for adults will be $7.
All other screenings that day will be at the regular ticket price.
Free bus transportation to the showing, leaving at 10 a.m., will be available at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 684 Juliga Woods St.
The shpwing is sponsored by Richmond Cease Fire/CCISCO and Cinemark Theaters.

selma

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Pinole Historical Society seeking photo of former miniature golf course

If you have a snapshot of the miniature golf attraction that was once on San Pablo Avenue in Pinole, the Pinole Historical Society would love to hear from you.
Society Vice President Jeff Rubin sent out the following appeal on Jan. 6:

Hi all,

There used to be a miniature golf course on the north side of San Pablo Avenue, near The Embers.

The Pinole Historical Society is preparing a new book called “Pinole Through Time.” It will feature photos of buildings from the city’s past and what is on those sites today. The book will be similar to our “Pinole Then and Now” exhibit at the Pinole Library.

We are looking for an exterior photo of the miniature golf course. If you have one, we will scan it and return it to you.

Please let me know by January 31. The book is due at the publisher’s office on March 1.

Thanks.

Jeff Rubin
Vice President

The Pinole Historical Society can be contacted by email at info@PinoleHistoricalSociety.org, by phone at 510-724-9507, or by mail at P.O. Box 285, Pinole, CA 94564.

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Berkeley in the 19th century, part 3: San Pablo Avenue and other early roads

college avenue 1885 b
College Avenue was unpaved in this view from 1885, but had separate pathways for carriages and pedestrians.

In 1941 the Berkeley Daily Gazette ran a series of articles for the city’s 75-year jubilee by Charles Colin Emslie reminiscing about life in the young town and the greater area in the late 19th century.

“As a special feature, tying the 75th birthday of the city in with the Diamond Jubilee events extending through May and into June, the Gazette tonight published on page two the first of a series of articles on the early history of Berkeley. They have been compiled and written by C.C. Emslie, whose family have lived here since the middle “seventies.” Emslie, now a veteran among local realtors, was a local newspaperman in his early days,” the Gazette noted in introducing the series.
“Today’s special edition of the Gazette is intended to give impetus to the Berkeley celebration which already has attracted national attention. The idea of an annual observance of Berkeley’s birthday was started by the Gazette. Overnight the suggestion was taken to heart by civic leaders.”

This installment is about the city’s early streets, including San Pablo Avenue, with the author citing no less an authority than Richmond schools superintendent Walter Helms as saying San Pablo took a different route north of the county line at what is now El Cerrito. Tom Panas of the El Cerrito Historical Society theorizes that there may have been seasonal wetlands in that area that would have forced early travelers to detour inland (see illustrations below).
Panas adds, “I recall that I once found in County Supervisors minutes from the early 1850’s (Victor Castro was a supervisor at the time if I recall correctly) that there were multiple requests for rock to be dumped along San Pablo Avenue at the County Line because it was so wet.”

emslie 1944
Charles C. Emslie in 1944.

Pioneer Discusses Early
Roads Through Berkeley

(Editor’s Note: This is the sixth article of a series on early Berkeley
written by Charles C. Emslie, who grew up here.)
By C. C. EMSLIE
San Pablo Ave. has an interesting history, too long to be told here.
It is usually considered to be Berkeley’s first highway but this is open to discussion. It was laid out as a public highway from Oakland to the old Spanish village of San Pablo in 1852 when the Berkeley region was a part, of Contra Costa County. There is some evidence that a roadway existed prior to that time, along part of the present route.
I am told by School Superintendent Walter Helms of Richmond, who is well versed in Contra Costa County history, that originally part of the road ran northerly along the foot of the hills from the entrance of Sunset View Cemetery to a point on the present highway near the northern boundary line of Richmond. This route was used to avoid the marshy ground which at that time made impassable a large part of the low country between El Cerrito and Richmond.
This is confirmed by Arthur A. Gray, head of the history department of the Berkeley High School, who was acquainted with a Mrs. Woolf whose father had settled in San Pablo in 1835. Mrs. Woolf, who died some 18 years ago at the age of 90, told Mr. Gray the same story. Unfortunately we have no information as to the southerly route from-the Contra Costa line.
OLD PERALTA ROAD
However, it is possible that the road through Berkeley to Oakland joined the old Peralta Road, whose history is also obscured in the mists of time.
When a small boy I heard occasional mention of an old road running northeasterly across Berkeley which was in use when our first settlers came but had long since disappeared. With one exception, Andrew Poirier, none of our oldest residents, some of whom were born here over 80 years ago, have any recollection of the road.
While gathering data for this sketch I found among the Poirier papers, of which more later, the original deed to the ranch which had been filed on in 1851 but the title to which had not been cleared until 1857, the date of the deed.
In this document the eastern boundary of the land was given as Peralta Road. This is now Racine St.
This street, which starts at Telegraph Ave. and 58th St., and runs northerly to Alcatraz Ave. is all that is left of the ancient Spanish highway.
In the office of the county engineer I found a helpful soul in D.H. Davis, who delved back to the Kellersberger map drawn in 1857.
This map showed that the Peralta Rd. ran from the homo of Vicente Peralta at 55th and Vicente Sts. just, north of Temescal Creek on a straight line to a point about 200 feet north of Addison St. just west of Shattuck Ave. and thence angling northwesterly, still on a straight line, to the home of Domingo Peralta, which stood at what is now the corner of Hopkins St. and Albina Ave., and ended at the old Castro home at El Cerrito.
Domingo Peralta settled in Berkeley around 1840. The road we are discussing was the direct route to his hrother Vicente’s house, from which the home of the other Peralta brothers, at San Leandro, was reached by following Telegraph Ave. to some point in Oakland and thence to San Leandro. Is it not reasonable to assume that the road dates back to the building of Domingo Peralta’s house?
San Pablo Ave., if it were in existence in 1840, would provide an easier road to Temescal and beyond than the Peralta Rd. It was but a short distance from Domingo’s home to the avenue which, if it then existed, he could follow it down to Temescal Creek, along which ran road from the mouth of the creek to Temescal. Near the foot of the creek was the landing place for boats bearing passengers and freight between San Francisco and Vicente Peralta’s home.
This route would provide the advantage of an established road the greater part of the way and the distance would be only about a mile longer than by way of the Peralta Rd., a large part of which ran through a swampy territory.
Does it seem likely that if there were a road where San Pablo now runs Domingo Peralta would go to the expense and trouble of building another highway to his brother’s house?

Watkins 1861 - Lkg w from Kens at Fleming Pt, Albany Hill,  Pt Isabel & Brooks Is - 300dpi
An 1861 photo Albany Hill and San Pablo Avenue, with what could be a pond-like area crossing the road. (Courtesy El Cerrito Historical Society)

berkeley 1909 b
Detail from a 1909 panoramic map showing Albany Hill and San Pablo Avenue. Many more streets had been added by this time, but the area west of San Pablo and north of Albany Hill appears darker than the surrounding land.

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Folk art Christmas display pieces by El Cerrito’s Sundar Shadi were made from recycled materials

shadi figure

A small exhibit at this year’s display shows how Mr. Shadi constructed the figures from recycled and repurposed materials.

The volunteers who set up and restore the beloved Sundar Shadi Christmas display on Moeser Lane in El Cerrito are offering a look at how the figures were made in a small exihibit.
It turns out Mr. Shadi, who fashioned and cared for the collection of homemade folk art figures and pieces for almost years, was what could now be considered a “green” or “eco artist,” making his pieces from recycled materials and items around his house.
Materials included scraps of wood, wire hangers, boxes, milk cartons and the like, said Dee Amaden, one of the volunteers with the Sundar Shadi Holiday Display group that now oversees the collection. “He made them out of found things,” she said, “and would repurpose them.”
Costumes for the human figures were made from oilcloth (water resistant) by Mr. Shadi’s wife, Dorothy, Amaden said.
A new addition to the display is a plywood figure of Mr. Shadi himself, as so many saw him when he was tending his garden or setting up the display.
The display, which has upgraded light and sound systems this year, is down the hill from Mr. Shadi’s home on the Arlington at Moeser Lane at Sea View Drive. It is illuminated nightly through Dec. 26.

shadi 2014 c
Angel figure originally made by Sundar Shadi and restored by El Cerrito artist Mark Canepa.

shadi 2014 d
Shepherd and sheep figures. Mr. Shadi experimented with different materials for the exterior shell of the sheep, including concrete. But he preferred plaster.

shadi 2014 b
Camels and the “Peace be with you” sign.

shadi 2014 k copy

shadi 2014 j
Instructions for making a figure.

shadi 2014 e
Volunteers placing the figure of Mr. Shadi, the newest addition to the display.

shadi boys life 1985
A 1985 article from Scouting magazine Boy’s Life shows one of the elaborate floral displays Mr. Shadi used to design and grow on his Arlington property.

WCT Shadi Series 01
A 1980s shot of the buildings made by Mr. Shadi at their original location next to the family home on Arlington.

shadiyoung3
Mr. Shadi as a young man. A native of India, he came to the United States and enrolled at UC Berkeley in 1921. Mr. Shadi died in 2002.

Time-lapse video by volunteer and El Cerrito resident Steve Crawford of this year’s display setup: