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Interstate 80 overnight ramp closures at San Pablo Dam Road in West County next week

Caltrans announced upcoming ramp closures on Interstate 80 in a new release Friday afternoon:

Interstate 80 Integrated Corridor Mobility Project Ramp Closures Continue

Contra Costa County –Caltrans has scheduled ramp closures on eastbound and westbound Interstate 80 for construction activities for the Interstate 80 Integrated Corridor Mobility Project.

· The eastbound I-80 San Pablo Dam Road on-ramp will be closed Monday night, June 10, and Tuesday night, June 11, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Detour: Travel east on San Pablo Dam Road, left on El Portal Drive, and right on eastbound I-80; or travel west on San Pablo Dam road, left on San Pablo Avenue. Follow detour signs. Turn left on Barrett Avenue, right on San Pablo Avenue, and take the eastbound I-80 on-ramp.

· The westbound I-80 San Pablo Dam Road on-ramp will be closed Wednesday night, June 12 through Friday night, June 14, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Detour: Travel west on San Pablo Dam Road, left on San Pablo Avenue, left on Solano Avenue and take the westbound I-80 on-ramp; or, travel south on Amador Street, turn right on Solano Avenue and take the westbound I-80 on-ramp.

This work is weather dependent, and if delayed due to weather conditions will be rescheduled. Please drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

The I-80 Integrated Corridor Mobility project will provide safety improvements for the traveling public; mobility and efficiency during commute hours; automated, integrated technology to manage traffic efficiently; real-time traffic information for travelers; with tax dollars funding SMART solutions.

Follow us on Twitter @CaltransD4. Follow the project at #80ICM. For more information, please visit the webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/projects/80icm/

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The forgotten bowling alleys of West County: San Pablo

Lucky Lanes in San Pablo, with its distinctive A-frame entrance, was one of the most beloved of the area’s bowling alleys. According to this post it opened in 1958 and, of course, had a pool room.
Lucky Lanes hosted many grad nights and the Lighthouse restaurant was right across the street.
Lucky Lanes met its end when San Pablo approved construction of what is now the San Pablo Lytton Casino.

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West Contra Costa Science Fair results

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.
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San Pablo: Announcement says Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith will appear Saturday

Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos

Slightly less than 50 years (1964) after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the campus, Contra Costa College (2640 Mission Bell Drive in San Pablo) will apparently be welcoming another figure in black history.
Our reporter received this announcement today:

This just in. 1968 Olympic Gold Medal Champion Dr. Tommie Smith is flying out from his home in Atlanta Georgia to host a Track and Field Clinic Saturday (3-9-13) at Contra Costa College’s Gym Annex building from 8:00 to 12:00 noon. Please come out and join us is saluting and embracing this iconic historical figure.

Smith was one of the greatest athletes of his era, winning a gold medal in track at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He is best remembered, however, for giving the “Black Power” salute while standing on the center podium with bronze medalist John Carlos giving the salute alongside.

Smith, a track star who won the gold medal in the 220m, has been a lifelong advocate for athletics, education and human rights and his appearance could be inspirational to a new generation.

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Coverage of speech given 49 years ago today by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.in San Pablo

mlkccc1964

The Richmond Museum of History notes online that it was 49 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.

Here is the Oakland Tribune’s coverage of his talk, in which he declared that segregation was in its final throes, had praise for the (Byron) Rumford Fair Housing Bill and the national Civil Rights Bill being debated, and said that “We have come a long way and we still have a long way to go.”

‘Segregation Is On Its Deathbed’

SAN PABLO-’Segregation is on its deathbed, but it remains to be seen how costly the segregationists will make the funeral.”

In an address before 2,300 at Contra Costa College, Dr. Martin Luther King, the Southern integrationist, called for “legislation, non-violent direct action and love” to enhance “the American dream.”

His talk was highlighted by accolades for California’s Rumford Fair Housing Law, which he termed “a great step forward.”

King said, “It would be a real tragedy if California went on record for repeal of its fair housing law.”

He referred to the Civil Rights Bill now before the Senate as “the greatest tribute to John F. Kennedy” and called on lawmakers to gird themselves for victory over an expected filibuster in the upper house.

At a brief press conference earlier in the day at San Francisco International Airport, King revealed that his Southern Christian Leadership Conference may attempt to cope with such a filibuster with “another march on Washington.”

He was one of the leaders of the huge civil rights parade in the nation’s capital last August.

King summed up the three basic attitudes toward progress in race relations, stating that he favors a “realistic position” in favor of “extreme optimism and extreme pessimism.”

King took the stand that “we have come a long way and we still have a long way to go.”

He included in signs of progress the end of the poll tax in federal elections, a rise in the number of registered Negro voters to 2 million, and a 12-fold increase in Negro income in the past 15 years.

King said there are still 6 million unregistered voters because of threats of “economic reprisal, physical violence and the literacy test.”

He told of one literacy test question in Mississippi which asked: “How many bubbles are there in a bar of soap.”

Forty-two per cent of the Negro population earns less than $2,000 a year and 20 per cent less than $1,000, King pointed out. He said the corresponding percentages for whites are 17 and 6.

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee also pointed to housing and health facilities as areas where much progress is needed. “Presdent Johnson’s war on poverty must be supported,” he said.

“If democracy is to live then segregation must die,” King remarked, “because segregation relegates persons to the status of things.”

He termed the theory that legislation cannot solve race reations a “myth,” adding that a law can’t make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me. Legislation changes habits, and habits change hearts.”

The Negro leader flew out of the Bay Area last night for five more speaking engagements in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

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Christmas in Richmond organizers need help providing for the needy on Dec. 25

Christmas in Richmond is a tradition that since 2005 has delivered food, presents and warm clothing to the city’s destitute on Christmas day.
The effort, which now has nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, was started by Burgundie Spears, then a college student who wanted to give back to her community.
Spears, her mother, Edna Campbell, and sister, Aaliyah Washington, have continued the tradition of devoting their Christmas to helping others, but they are making a last-minute appeal for community assistance to make this year’s event possible.
This year’s distribution will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Richmond Senior Center and at the Nevin Community Center.
Christmas in Richmond has the following wish list for anyone who can lend a hand:

Bicycles
Blankets
Toys For All Ages​
Gift Cards
Gift Wrapping Paper
Clothes (new and/or slightly worn)
Shoes (new and/or slightly worn)
Non-perishable food
Toiletries
Roller Racks
Roller Bags
Backpacks
Gift Bags
To Go Food Containers (1000)
Eating Utensils
Napkins​
Hand Sanitizer
Bottle Water (40 cases)
Cups
Foil
Donations can be brought to the Courtyard Mariott Hotel at 3150 Garrity Way by Hilltop mall from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, or Spears can be reached at 510-932-6817 for more information. The Christmas in Richmond website is www.christmasinrichmond.org.

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“(Not) A Christmas Carol,” modern adaptation of Dickens classic, today and Saturday at Contra Costa College

Prolific East Bay playwright Kathryn McCarty is at it again with “(Not) A Christmas Carol,” a modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, on stage at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 at the Knox Center for the Performing Arts at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.
Read about it in the official news release:

Ring in the Yuletide spirit with Contra Costa College Drama Department’s production of “(Not) A Christmas Carol,” a modern adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. Written and directed by drama professor Kathryn G. McCarty. Running December 5-8 at CCC’s John and Jean Knox Performing Arts Center on the San Pablo campus.
McCarty, who has taught at the college for over a decade, is a prolific playwright. Her most recent noted works have included “RIVETS!,” which enjoyed several runs aboard the SS Red Oak Victory in the Rosie the Riveter National Park in Richmond, and “The Ladies Quintet,” which played in Chicago and Los Angeles theaters.
McCarty sees “(Not) A Christmas Carol” as unlike most other theatrical adaptations of the holiday favorite. “I’ve integrated a lot of comedy in modernizing the story,” she said. Adapting the classic was no easy task said McCarty, explaining that she wanted to create a comedy that was easily accessible to audiences, and that still held true to the story and meaning of what Dickens wrote.
“I kept wondering, how would Dickens incorporate world events if he were writing his story in 2012?”
According to McCarty, in 1843, the year Dickens penned the classic, many holiday traditions were established. “In that same year, the Christmas card was invented and England’s royals introduced the Christmas tree to holiday events,” she said.
The show’s main character, Ebeneezer Scrooge (played by Mark Hinds), is the leader of the world’s first “Oil and Bank Consortium.” Hinds is a guest artist at CCC, having recently graduated from UC Berkeley. McCarty pointed out that she has worked with Mark on several projects, and “so respects him for following his dream of earning his degree. After his five children graduated from college, he decided it was time to complete his education, which had been interrupted by the Vietnam War. I think he is an incredible role model for all college students.”
“No other author has more of an influence than Charles Dickens on how we celebrate Christmas,” said McCarty. “He used the holiday to examine society as a whole. The amazing thing is that we are still battling the issues of poverty and greed that Dickens wrote about nearly 200 years ago.”

Tickets at the door are $15 general, $10 students and seniors, free for children under 8.

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When Phyllis Diller appeared in Richmond in 1983

Ronnie Schell remembers Phyllis Diller in his latest edition of the Macdonald Avenue Spanker.

Comedian, actor and Richmond native Ronnie Schell is also a journalism fanatic who publishes his own newsletter from Los Angeles called the Macdonald Avenue Spanker, a missive for the folks back in his hometown.
In the latest issue of the Spanker, Schell, 80, recalls the 1983 fundraiser appearance in Richmond his fellow Bay Area comedian and longtime friend, Phyllis Diller, who died in Aug. 20 at 95.

The date way Saturday night, Oct. 2 1983.
It was a big comedy night sponsored by the Brookside Medical Center in San Pablo and was held at the Richmond Auditorium to an overflow crowd.
Many stars showed up to roast yours truly and the biggest star there way my longtime personal and professional friend, the late Phyllis Diller.
And she didn’t stop with the one Richmond visit. She came back to the Richmond Auditorium two years later to do her one-woman show with singer Kay Starr for another Brookside-sponsored, sold-out performance.
When Phyllis passed away last month at 95, it ended one of my longest and closest relationships with another performer.
I met Phyllis when I first started playing the Purple Onion in San Francisco. She was the headliner and we became very close friends, which encompassed over 55 years.
We worked together many times in clubs and on television and maintained a long personal relationship with her family and mine over the years.
She was truly a comedy legend and I will miss her.

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Free apple and cherry trees will be distributed Tuesday in Richmond

Fruit trees. Tomorrow. Distributed 5-6 p.m. Tuesday in the parking lot at Civic Center Plaza on Macdonald Avenue.
Free.
The trees are being given out by the group Self-Sustaining Communities (www.self-sustainingcommunities.org), which has distributed almost 10,000 trees in the East Bay since 2009.
Most recently, there were 400 trees handed out at Richmond’s compost giveaway on Saturday.
The group was started in El Cerrito and is now based in Richmond and most of the trees have been directed to low-income communities in West Contra Costa as a way to help people provide for themselves.
The trees are donated by growers in the Central Valley.
This time there are no qualifications and almost 900 trees that need homes and may bear nutritional fruit with the proper care.
Here is the announcement from group founder Linda Schneider.

We were unexpectedly given 1308 apple and cherry trees, somewhat at the last minute. They are all bare root.

They are Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji apples, and Bing, Rainier, Van and Brooks cherries.

Thanks to Jennifer Ly with the City of Richmond, Eduardo Martinez and Tony Wolcott, 400 trees total were given out Saturday with the compost giveaway.

The City is having another giveaway between 5:00 and 6:30 in front of the Richmond City Hall, in the parking lot, tomorrow, Tuesday. Because we have so many, and time is of the essence, we would like to get these out as quickly as possible.

This will be open to all — the goal being we want as much local food and greening throughout entire neighborhoods as possible, and because it also creates meaningful social activity and community. These are not for resale or business.

Thank you so very much.