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1940s El Cerrito home movies offer glimpse of life during wartime and after

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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 elcerritohistoricalsociety@yahoo.com, the El Sobrante Historical Society at eshistory@gmail.com, the Pinole Historical Society at info@pinolehistoricalsociety.org, or the Richmond Museum of History at 510-235-7387 or info@richmondmuseumofhistory.org.

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Under: Albany, community, Contra Costa County, Crockett, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, History, Kensington, Pinole, Port Costa, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo | No Comments »

JFK High in Richmond is seeking Career Fair speakers to inspire students

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

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Under: community, El Cerrito, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Schools | No Comments »

Richmond: Free program will look at 1944 explosion at Port Chicago

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“What kinds of questions were sailors and civilians asking after 1 million pounds of explosives blew up in Concord?”
Find out why the World War II explosion at the Port Chicago naval installation on July 17, 1944 continues to have reverberations, which will be discussed at a free program at 3p.m. Jan. 12 and 26 at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, 1414 Harbour Way South.

Posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014
Under: Contra Costa County, History, Richmond | No Comments »

Writing coach program puts out call for volunteers

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
www.writercoachconnection.org.

Posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014
Under: Albany, Berkeley, community, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo, Schools | No Comments »

UPDATE: Dismantling of historic former Richmond tugboat has started

John Stashik of El Cerrito sends this update on the tugboat Edward J. Engel, part of the Santa Fe Railway barge-moving fleet for 25 years and now meeting its demise at a shipyard in Alameda:

Two days after I snapped that photo the shipyard began cutting it up. Here’s a photo snapped by Amtrak Engineer Phil Gosney showing the wheel house gone.

You can read more about the Engel and its history, with related links, in this post.

Engel_3Jan2014_PhilGosneyPhoto

Posted on Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Under: El Cerrito, History, Richmond | No Comments »

Outlook gloomy for historic Richmond tugboat salvaged in Oakland Estuary

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An artifact of Richmond’s railroad and maritime history remains afloat in an Alameda boat yard, but faces a future that is uncertain at best. The tugboat Edward J. Engel, built in 1945 and named for the Santa Fe Railway president at the time, was once part of a fleet that moved barges from Richmond to points around the Bay from 1945 to 1969, when the railroad discontinued service as trucks became the preferred way to move freight.
These are photos and a bit of background on the Engel from John Stashik of El Cerrito, who knows about such things:

A bit of Richmond history here. This tug boat was built for the Santa Fe Railway and was part of their San Francisco Bay “navy” that moved car barges from Ferry Point in Richmond to San Francisco (Fisherman’s Wharf and China Basin), Alameda, Oakland, and Tiburon.

Two photos: at work in 1946 in San Francisco, and 1-1-2014 at Bay Ship & Yacht in Alameda snapped as I motored on by. Partially submerged since 2007 in the Oakland Estuary it was refloated and moved to the shipyard. I don’t know what will happen next.

This article describes the raising of the Engel from the Oakland Estuary in December after it was found to be leaking oil into the water and impeding boat traffic.
In another era, it would have simply been turned into a floating restaurant.

Engel_2014

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Posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Under: Richmond | No Comments »

Richmond firefighters raise funds for Doctors Medical Center

Richmond firefighters raised more than $8,000 this fall by selling pink “Richmond Fire” T-shirts. The money will go to funding breast cancer treatment programs at the Doctors Medical Center Cancer Center in San Pablo our center.

Fire officials will present the hospital a check at 1:45 p.m. Thursday in the cancer center’s parking lot.

A fire truck will be on hand, said DMC spokeswoman Remy Goldsmith.

Firefighters sold the T-shirt at community events to raise the money.

Posted on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Under: community, Contra Costa County, History, Richmond, San Pablo | No Comments »

Mayor McLaughlin to hold annual memorial for Richmond homicide victims

RICHMOND MAYOR TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF 2013 HOMICIDE VICTIMS

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Gayle McLaughlin invites everyone to share this Friday in a moment of reflection to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost to homicide in Richmond in 2013.

To date there have been 16 homicides in Richmond this year, and the Mayor grieves the untimely loss of each of these lives. Last year, there were 18 homicides. The year before, there were 26 homicides and the year before that over twice as many homicides.

The Mayor is grateful for the increasingly downward trend, which she attributes to the collaborative work of the City with numerous community organizations and neighborhood groups, along with a growing number of positive activities and opportunities for our residents.

She also applauds the collaborations underway to provide comprehensive reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals as a way to further address the roots of the violence.

Police Chief Magnus has noted additional factors affecting this downward trend of violent crime in Richmond such as:  More effective crime reduction strategies, including focusing on hotspots and well as key individuals involved in criminal activity;  Community and neighborhood-based policing. We have more active neighborhood and community groups than ever before, all who work closely with the PD;  Data-driven policing, including our COMPSTAT program, that involves the ongoing analysis of crime data and crime trends.

This program also involves assuring this information is shared by the cops working in the neighborhoods and commercial areas of the City.  Increased focus on gun crimes, including more prosecution of gun crimes of any type and severity—as a way of getting guns and gun criminals off the streets.

What: Meet-with-the-Mayor session to honor the memory of 2013 homicide victims When: Friday, December 20, 2013, 5:30 – 6:30 pm Where: Whittlesey Room, Richmond Public Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza ###

Posted on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Under: Cities, Crime, History, Politics, Richmond | No Comments »

Richmond-El Cerrito fire and police ask for support helping needy families

PRESS RELEASE:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2013

Contact: Michelle Milam  (510) 837-9257

Richmond-El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Program Needs Santa’s Helpers

Description: Richmond-El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Program seeks help for needy families 

Richmond, CA —  December 4, 2013 –  First responders from Richmond and El Cerrito are asking the public for help to provide Food and Toy baskets to over 1700 families this coming holiday season.  The Richmond-El Cerrito Toy program is seeking to help needy families who have a hard time making ends meet.  Each year the program gets applications from the two cities from needy families hoping to receive a food basket and toys for their children under 12. This year 1700 families signed up for the program. Others were turned away because of the great need.

 “I think even the most jaded person will believe in miracles when they see these kids faces,” said Richmond firefighter Rod Woods, the brainchild of the 20 year old program, “We believe there are still good people in this world who will help us make this miracle happen.”  “This is not an easy season for many families, which is why we should all help one another when we can,” said Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus, “There are people who gave to this program in the past who will be in line this year due to a job lay off or illness. You always hope help will be there for you if you need it. Sometimes kids give to the program, which is really heartwarming. What better way for parents to show their kids the spirit of the season than to give as a family.”

The public can help donate to the program by visitingwww.toyprogram.org. The public can also help by getting their school, place of employment, or religious organization to make a donation. Sharing the information with friends online via social media also helps. This year every dollar donated up to $10,000 will be matched by Chevron Corporation, so the money goes even further.

The toy program was started 20 years ago when Richmond Firefighter Rod Woods parked his vehicle in a low income neighborhood and distributed toys to the local children during the holidays. A police officer saw that he needed help and assisted him in the distribution. Since then it has grown to serve thousands of needy people each year.

Contact Information: 
Richmond-El Cerrito Food and Toy Program 
Contact: Michelle Milam  (510) 837-9257 
www.toyprogram.org

 

Who: Richmond, El Cerrito Firefighters and Police

What: Toy and Food Program

When: Need online donations

 

Mission

The Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program exists to collect and distribute new, unwrapped toys to economically disadvantaged children in the western Contra Costa County area during the holiday season.

As professional firefighters, we see the ravages brought on by the loss of both homes and property. Our non-profit organization strives to brighten the lives of needy children in Richmond, San Pablo and the surrounding communities, particularly during the holidays. Both monetary donations and donations of new, unwrapped toys are accepted throughout the calendar year. With generous donations from both local corporations and individuals, the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program distributes toys to children ages 12 and under residing in western Contra Costa County. Also, in conjunction with staff from the Richmond Police Department, the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program distributes food baskets so that families can enjoy a holiday dinner.

The primary objective of the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program is to assist underprivileged children and their families in western Contra Costa County during the holidays.

Posted on Friday, December 13th, 2013
Under: Cities, community, Contra Costa County, Crime, El Cerrito, Richmond, Schools | No Comments »

5-year anniversary celebration for RYSE Youth Center

 

PRESS RELEASE:

RYSE YOUTH CENTER CELEBRATES FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY & Hosts 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Community Event

What: RYSE Center 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland and FiveYear Anniversary Community Event

Where: RYSE CENTER, 205 41st  Street (at Macdonald Avenue), Richmond, CA

When: Saturday, December 14, 2013, 12 noon – 4 p.m.

RICHMOND, Calif… The RYSE Youth Center will be celebrating five years of youth empowerment and community service by hosting its 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland Community Event.

RYSE’s Winter Wonderland, a free community event, will include a toy giveaway for newborns and kids up to 12 years old, music, arts and crafts activities, tree decorating and more! The purpose of this event is to bring communities together, support youth and their families in celebrating the holiday season, and honor RYSE’s fiveyear anniversary and commitment to serving young people in the community.

The Center opened its doors to the community on October 18, 2008 after a string of youthrelated homicides near Richmond High School in 2000 mobilized students to take action to address the violence and lack of safety at school and in the community. Students organized vigils and community forums with more than 1,500 youth and community members, and met and worked with local officials and stakeholders on a comprehensive assessment of youthidentified priorities and solutions.

RYSE Youth Center

Grounded in social justice, RYSE builds youth power for young people ages 1321 living in Richmond and West Contra Costa County to love, learn, educate, heal and transform lives and communities.

Since 2008, more than 3,000 young people have participated in programs and activities. For more information go to www.rysecenter.org.

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Posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Under: Art and entertainment, Cities, community, Contra Costa County, Crime, development, History, Politics, Richmond, Schools | No Comments »