El Cerrito: Korematsu Middle School construction update meeting Aug. 13


The PTSA at Korematsu Middle School is holding a meeting at its current campus on Moeser Lane at 7 p.m. tonight, Aug. 13, where school district officials will update the community on the new campus at the former Castro School and have a discussion of the completion schedule.


Thursday, August 13, 2015
7:00 p.m.

1021 Navellier Street, El Cerrito

Korematsu Cafe’ (#35 on the Map)

Please join WCCUSD officials Thursday, August 13, 2015, 7:00 p.m., Korematsu Cafe for a construction update and discussion of the completion schedule. All welcome!

HOW TO FIND US: Korematsu Middle School is located on Moeser Lane directly across from Cerrito Vista Park (Pomona Ave and Moeser Lane). Park on Moeser or Pomona and enter the campus through the gate on Moeser.


Trees in East Bay hills will be El Cerrito Historical Society program topic

The El Cerrito Historical Society is presenting a timely talk about the trees in the East Bay hills on at 7 p.m. July 30.

The announcement from the society:

History program about the East Bay Forest will illuminate current issues

Trees are big news these days in the East Bay. Plans by the East Bay Regional Park District, the city of Oakland and UC Berkeley to remove thousands of eucalyptus trees because they pose a fire danger have outraged many tree lovers.

Opinions have blazed across the pages of local newspapers accusing Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf of planning the murder of squirrels by proposing to take away their habitat.

“When chainsaws decimate the vast forests which create their homes, reducing public lands once blanketed with their habitat to barren, empty hillsides, where, exactly, are these animals supposed to go?” one blogger demanded.

Proponents of the tree removal plan say it falls well short of clear cutting. According to the successful application for federal funds, the project, “would provide more effective protection over a large area by creating a continuous firebreak along the most vulnerable wildland-urban interfaces.”

“(The park district, Oakland and the university) propose to reduce fuel loads and fire intensity, primarily by thinning plant species that are prone to torching, and by promoting conversion to vegetation types with lower fuel loads. In many areas the proposed and connected actions would preserve oak and bay trees and convert dense scrub, eucalyptus forest, and non-native pine forest, to grassland with islands of shrubs.”

El Cerrito too has groves of eucalyptus trees, some of which help visually define such areas of our landscape as the Hillside Natural Area. The city also shares a large border with the East Bay Park District’s Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. Our city has many other trees that also present issues. Many of our trees are 50 years old and nearing the end of their lives. The city has already removed many.

To cast light on these issues and to get a deeper background the Historical Society, in conjunction with the city’s Environmental Quality Committee, is hosting Jerry Kent, former assistant general manager of the East Bay Park District. Kent’s talk, ‘How the East Bay Got its Forest,’ will take place Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. It is free and open to all and wheelchair accessible.

Of his talk, Jerry Kent writes: “Bay Area hills were mostly open grassland, with fringes of native trees in valleys when European settlers arrived in 1769. Large scale tree planting began in the West Bay in 1877 to forest Golden Gate Park, military posts, schools, and mountaintops.

“In the East Bay, one man began planting trees in 1895 to forest 13,000 acres for home sites in the hills and 3,000 acres for timber plantations. What became of his dream, and how do we deal with his legacy today, amid dense development, drought, changing climate, and wildfire risks?”
Kent retired after a 41-year career with the East Bay Regional Park District. A history lover, he has collected maps and photographs and researched many aspects of Bay Area nature and history. He will describe the history of large-scale tree planting projects, and discuss the benefits and responsibilities of owning planted urban forests.


El Sobrante dedicates streetside upgrades

el sobrante dedication
Mike Croda from the El Sobrante Historical Society, dressed up as a bartender from Ed’s, the oldest bar in El Sobrante, opened in 1938 at the dedication of streetside improvements July 8. County Supervisor John Gioia is at right, being interviewed. From the society webpage: “When Ed Banducci (Sr.) and his wife Teresa bought this place in 1938 it was already old. Legend has it that it served as a “road house” to travelers along the Dam Road (and before that, the San Pablo Creek Road). The couple quickly remodeled the structure and re-opened it as “Ed’s Tavern.” It was remodeled again in the early 1950s and has changed little since. It is located just west of the intersection at Valley View.” (Photo courtesy Sonia Bustamante)

Streetscape improvements on San Pablo Dam Road — including wider sidewalks, new bus benches and trash receptacles, landscaping and historic markers — were dedicated on July 8that businesses hope attract more visitors to the area.

The improvements cover about a 3/4-mile segment of the Dam Road between Appian Way and El Portal Drive and is the culmination of four years of planning. Four bus stops will also be relocated to improve transit access.

“The whole idea is to make downtown pedestrian friendly and encourage more people to use the downtown,” said Supervisor John Gioia.

The $2.3 million downtown walkability project was funded by Measure J, a county transportation tax approved by voters in 2004, and local county road maintenance funds. Planning for downtown’s face-lift started in 2011 and construction began a year ago.

The amenities will be shown off to a large audience when the El Sobrante Stroll is held on Sept. 20.

el sobrante marker 1
One of the historic markers and some of the trash receptacles when they were still awaiting installation. (Photo courtesy Lyle Ziggy Miller, El Sobrante Historical Society.)

el sobrante marker 2
This paver noting the location of El Sobrante Chevrolet service has now been installed. (Photo courtesy Lyle Ziggy Miller, El Sobrante Historical Society.)


Richmond: Urban Tilth offering fresh produce market stand at Catahoula Coffee on July 5

Agriculture group Urban Tilth will host a market stand offering fresh locally grown produce and plant starts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 5 at Catahoula Coffee Co, 12472 San Pablo Ave.

Celebrate your independence day weekend by getting your share of our locally grown bounty! & thank you as always for supporting our non-profit.

Veggies: Lettuce!, Kale, Swiss Chard, Onions (YUM!), & Herbs

Plant starts: cabbage, kale, lettuce, sticky monkey flower, & echinacea

Garden products: herbal bath salt, lavender & sweet orange hand salves & our Garden Party Soap & our

Freshly harvested and made this week:


Get some of our special small batch jam while it lasts!

happy 4th!


Bay Trail in Richmond to be featured on television segment

bay trail 1
The Bay Trail in Richmond will be featured on television this weekend, advises the Trails for Richmond Action Committee in an announcement.

On Sunday, June 28 at 6:30 PM, Doug McConnell’s “OpenRoad” program on NBC Bay Area will feature Richmond’s scenic Bay Trail. In his words:
“We’ll explore the longest protected shoreline of any city in the Bay Area……..on segments of the Bay Trail in Richmond. We’ll see where ships were built that helped win World War 2, where passengers on transcontinental trains once boarded ferries for their final leg to San Francisco, and where explosives were made that helped build the west. Along the way, we’ll also encounter a lovely habitat for birds rubbing shoulders with an oil refinery and an old landfill and giving way to glorious views of San Pablo Bay.”

NBC Bay Area is channel 3 for those on Comcast Cable. On Direct Satellite TV and over-the-air it’s on channel 11. Enjoy!

TRAC Steering Committee

bay trail 2


El Cerrito dining and game events on Thursday will support annual Relay for Life fundraiser


A pair of kickoff events for the upcoming Relay for Life in El Cerrito will be held on Thursday.

The Relay for Life team from Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is sponsoring a fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. June 25 at the Panda Express at El Cerrito Plaza. Print and show the flier above and a “20% of your purchase (with flyer) will go toward Playland’s fundraising efforts to support the American Cancer Society.”

Organizers note that “It’s the perfect dinner for Playland’s After Dark evening from 6pm-10pm for Grown-Ups only ($10 per person)” that same evening at the amusement park tribute attraction at 10979 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito. Playland After Dark will feature board games, skee-ball, carnival games, arcade games and free play on more than 30 new and vintage pinball machines.

These and other events lead up to the annual Relay For Life of El Cerrito 24-hour walking fundraiser, set this year for 10 a.m. Aug. 1 to 10 a.m. Aug. 2 at Cerrito Vista Park, 950 Pomona Ave.


El Cerrito store grand opening Saturday to feature former Oakland Raider Raymond Chester

A new store selling batteries and light bulbs will hold its grand opening on June 20 with former Oakland Raider tight end Raymond Chester as the featured guest.
The Batteries Plus Bulbs store at 10770 San Pablo Ave. will host the Chamber of Commerce at the ribbon-cutting and invites the public to the festivities — including food, product giveaways, promotions and a raffle — from noon to 5 p.m.

According to a news release, “Gordon Messer, age 53, decided to launch a new career in franchising after working over 30 years in the food industry. A UC Santa Barbara graduate with a mechanical engineering degree, he held several managerial and senior-level positions at Quaker Oats and Fleischmann’s Yeast. In 2006, Messer became a consultant to national wholesale bakeries and formed his own company, Yeast Systems LLC. This job demanded extensive travel, which grew tiresome as it kept him away from his family, which prompted him to use his retirement savings to open the El Cerrito Batteries Plus Bulbs store.”
The store offers more than 50,000 battery and light bulb products, along with battery rebuilds and installation, in-store recycling and local business assistance programs.


El Cerrito announces road closures on Fairmount and Manila avenues

El Cerrito has announced road closures on Fairmount and Manila avenues this week for paving work.
Fairmount will be closed between Richmond Street and Colusa Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Manila will be closed between Richmond and Kearney streets from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Traffic will be detoured around both work sites.
The announcements from the city:

Fairmount Ave – Temporary Road Closure & Detours
Thursday, June 18
The City of El Cerrito, Public Works Department is completing a paving project on Fairmount Avenue between Colusa Avenue and Richmond Street. On Thursday, June 18th, this section of Fairmount will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Vehicles will be detoured to Colusa Avenue, Eureka Avenue, Ashbury Avenue, Central Avenue and Richmond Street. Garbage, Recycling and AC Transit, as well as, local traffic will be allowed through the work zone with minor delays. Emergency vehicles will always have access. Please expect minor delays. Thank you for your patience during this construction work. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact the Public Works Department at (510) 215-4382.

Manila Ave – Temporary Road Closure & Detours
Friday, June 19

The City of El Cerrito, Public Works Department is completing a paving project on Manila Avenue between Richmond Street and Kearney Street. On Friday, June 19th, this section of Manila will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Vehicles will be detoured to Richmond Street, Schmidt Lane and San Pablo Ave. Garbage, Recycling and AC Transit, as well as, local traffic will be allowed through the work zone with minor delays. Emergency vehicles will always have access. Please expect minor delays. Thank you for your patience during this construction work. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact the Public Works Department at (510) 215-4382.


El Cerrito police seek owner of springer spaniel


The El Cerrito Police Department issued the following announcement Tuesday about a dog that was dropped off at the station:

An Older Springer Spaniel female was turned into the El Cerrito Police Department this afternoon. The dog was turned over to Contra Costa Animal Services and taken to the animal shelter in Pinole. Please contact Animal Services in Pinole at 510-374-3966 for more information.


Richmond: Catahoula Coffee hosting Urban Tilth farm stand of locally grown produce May 24

Richmond community agriculture group Urban Tilth (www.urbantilth.org) will hold a farm stand outside Catahoula Coffee Co., 12472 San Pablo Ave. in Richmond, on May 24 starting at 9 .m.

The group will offer “organic veggies to go with those burgers or to make that heathly and delicious salad you were dreaming of” for the Memorial Day weekend. Offerings will include Freshly harvested lettuce, Swiss chard, dino kale, and herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme.

Urban Tilth will also have vegetable starts for planting, including lettuce, tomatoes and sticky monkey flower; seed packets (decorated by students of Verde Elementary) of “Las Tres Hermanas” (squash, beans, corn) and fava beans; and herbal garden products such as bath salts and hand salve.