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Crockett: Lane reductions and ramp closures scheduled on Carquinez, Zampa bridges

Caltrans has issued the following announcement about Interstate 80 resurfacing work that will mean Lane reductions and ramp closures on the Carquinez, Zampa bridges tonight through May 26:

Nighttime Lane/Ramp Closures Scheduled for Interstate 80 (I-80) Carquinez Bridge –
May 19 through May 26

Crockett/Vallejo, Calif. – Caltrans is conducting work for a project to resurface Interstate 80 (I-80) across the Carquinez and Zampa Bridges between Crockett in Contra Costa County and Vallejo in Solano County.

The following closures will impact I-80 eastbound and westbound across the Carquinez and Zampa Bridges nightly:

• I-80 EB and WB will have lane reductions from Thursday May 19 at 8:00 PM until Friday May 20 at 5:00 AM.

• I-80 EB and WB will have lane reductions from Friday May 20 at 11:00 PM until Saturday May 21 at 10:00 AM.

• I-80 EB and WB will have lane reductions from Monday May 23 through Thursday May 26 from 8:00 PM until 5:00 AM the following day.

• The on ramp to I-80 eastbound at Pomona Street in Crockett may be closed intermittently for the same time periods. Motorists will detour to Cummings Skyway.

More information is available at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/carquinezzampabridgesmaint/

Motorists should drive with caution through the work zone. Get real-time traffic on Caltrans Quickmaps: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ Or follow Caltrans on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CaltransD4. Caltrans appreciates your patience as we work to maintain California’s highways. Please #BeWorkZoneAlert.

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Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders makes a meal stop on Solano Avenue in Albany

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A patron took these photos of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at China Village Restaurant on Solano Avenue in Albany.

After a long day of campaigning in the Bay Area on Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his entourage — including Secret Service agents — stopped for a late night meal at China Village on Solano Avenue. The unannounced appearance quickly drew a crowd of onlookers taking in the scene from outside the restaurant.
“It was worth the wait,” said a woman who was there when Sanders came out of the restaurant after he was done feeling the burn of the Szechuan cuisine. “He was great. He shook hands with everyone.”
Small groups were still outside the restaurant, closed by then, after Sanders departed.

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Adoring crowd on Solano Avenue chants for @BernieSanders Wednesday

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Must-see video: Young women ride ostriches at El Cerrito greyhound track in 1934

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The operators of the El Cerrito Kennel Club, the greyhound racetrack that operated in the city from 1932 to early 1939, were masterful with promotions to keep the 10,000-capacity stands full. A typical evening could feature 11 races and added attractions such as boxing or wrestling matches, a post-race dance in the clubhouse or drawings for a new Plymouth.

One of the most memorable promotions came in 1934, the track’s third year of operation, when the attractions included a drawing for a Plymouth sedan, a race featuring the “famous Hollywood monkey jockeys” riding greyhounds in a race (and presumably wearing jockey silks), and the main attraction, “pretty girls riding the famous racing ostriches.”

The ad for the day is pictured here, but now — thanks to youtube and a company called Critical Past — there is video online of old film footage showing young ladies jumping onto the ostriches and holding on for dear life as the birds run around the track. If you look closely in the background, you can catch a glimpse the historic 1907 Pierre Allinio house, which is now for sale.

Another attraction at the El Cerrito dog track pitted ostriches against race horses, but no video of that event has surfaced … yet.

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New Bay Trail link for bicycle commuters to be dedicated in Emeryville

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City of Emeryville

A ribbon-cutting on a Bay Trail link will be held at the northwest corner of Christie Avenue and Shellmound Street in Emeryville at 9:30 a.m. May 12, which is Bike to Work Day. The new section “connects southbound cyclists from Emeryville, Berkeley and Richmond to the Bay Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathway and the Mandela Parkway, and connects northbound cyclists from Oakland and beyond to the Emeryville and Berkeley Marinas, and shorelines up to and through Richmond.”

“The Emeryville Connection” Ribbon Cutting will dedicate “the opening of the new cycle track section of the Bay Trail, from Powell Street to Shellmound Street on the north edge of Christie Avenue, along with Emeryville’s second dedicated bicycle turn signal at Shellmound Street and Christie Avenue.”

A Bike to Work energizer station will be at that location from 7 to 9 a.m. that morning.

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Richmond fundraiser being held April 29 to support family of slain officer

FUNERAL FOR OFFICER GUS VEGAS

The Richmond Police Officers Association is hosting a fundraiser on April 29 at Salute Restaurant to assist the family of Officer Gus Vegas, who was fatally shot Feb. 11 at his home in Vallejo. The announcement for the fundraiser is below.

OFFICER GUS VEGAS MEMORIAL FUNDRAISER

On February 11th, 2016, Augustine “Gus” Vegas, a City of Richmond Police Officer was murdered at his home. Officer Vegas was the sole provider for his family, which included 10 children and 20 grandchildren. He served the City of Richmond and its citizens for over 15 years. He was a diligent and kind police officer.

Salute’s Restaurant owner, Menbere Akilulu, Mechanics Bank and the Richmond Police Officers Association have collaborated to provide a fundraiser for Augustine’s family. Please stop by and enjoy wine and appetizers provided by our own Richmond businesswoman, Menbere Akilulu. The event is on Friday, April 27th, between 4-7 PM. 100 Percent of all other sales during this time will be donated to the Vegas family. Hope to see you there!

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Remembering Adachi Florist and Nursery in El Cerrito

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Adachi Florist and Nursery in 1992, shortly before the site was cleared for construction of a The Home Depot store. (Click for an enlarged view.)

There was no ribbon-cutting when the enterprise that grew to become Adachi Florist and Nursery, straddling the border of a new city called Richmond and an unincorporated portion of West Contra Costa that would become El Cerrito, was established in 1905. But by the time it closed and was torn down to build The Home Depot in 1992, the venture was among the oldest businesses in the West County region, dating to just three years after the opening of the Standard Oil refinery in Richmond in 1902.

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The Adachi family business as it looked around 1940.

The business was founded by brothers Isaburo and Sadajiro Adachi with a single greenhouse a year before the great San Francisco earthquake. It grew to 12 greenhouses and survived challenges such as state exclusion laws directed at Asians and the Japanese internment during World War II. Extension of the Eastshore Freeway and construction of the new BART line claimed portions of the Adachi property.

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Adachi commemorates El Cerrito’s 50th anniversary in 1957.

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Adachi Florist and Nursery before and after a remodeling in the mid-1960s.

Some of the family greenhouses were razed during a mid-1960s remodeling that modernized the business as it is now remembered by most who saw it in its commercial heyday.

The remainder was finally torn down in 1992 for a joint retail project by El Cerrito and Richmond.

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Suspect pursuit through Richmond and El Cerrito leads to hit-and-run collisions, carjacking attempts, police say

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Disabled suspect vehicle on San Pablo Avenue in Albany. Photo by Kevin Berndt.

A suspect pursuit through Richmond and El Cerrito on Saturday concluded in Albany when the subject vehicle became disabled on San Pablo Avenue. El Cerrito police issued the following statement regarding the pursuit, attempted carjackings and hit-and-run collisions they say took place:

The El Cerrito Police Department assisted the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office after a traffic pursuit of a subject wanted for a dangerous felony. Sheriff’s deputies trailed the suspect using a helicopter. The pursuit ended on San Pablo Avenue near Brighton Avenue in Albany. During the pursuit, the subject attempted to carjack two victims in El Cerrito, but was unsuccessful in both attempts. The subject also was involved in several hit and run collisions. The El Cerrito Police Department is grateful that no citizens were injured during this incident. The suspect was taken into custody and is no longer a threat to public safety. If you were the victim of a hit and run collision and have not yet reported the collision, please contact the El Cerrito Police Department at (510) 237-3233.<a

Check back at http://www.eastbaytimes.com/ for updates.

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TBT: Once-familiar El Cerrito building had a link to black Americana

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner —
Here is the ID of the once-familiar building in El Cerrito and its background, which we asked about last week. The building is best known (see photo above) from its decades attached to El Cerrito Mill & Lumber, with the lettering growing more faded as the years passed.

The building originated around 1929-30 as Mammy’s Place, a plantation-themed attraction for travelers on the newly rerouted Lincoln Highway (San Pablo Avenue), just south of Cutting Boulevard, “near the large Carquinez Bridge sign,” according to the menus given out to customers as a souvenir. The proprietor was Harry Bottger, who may have also operated the food concession on the Richmond-San Rafael ferry.
Mammy’s Place boasted a “fine hardwood dance floor and music,” though the establishment once ran afoul of the authorities over the use of its jukebox, according to news accounts of the day.
Bottger later opened another restaurant on the southern end of San Pablo in El Cerrito and Mammy’s closed.
With demand for housing at a peak during World War II, contractor Elmer Freethy purchased what was then El Cerrito Lumber at 1206 San Pablo Ave. (now 10812 San Pablo Ave.) from John Carrick to secure a supply of building materials. At some undetermined point, he also purchased the abandoned Mammy’s Place building and had it moved and attached to El Cerrito Lumber. There was a sentimental attachment. Freethy, in a 1990 interview about the “chicken dinner” building, referred to it as “the chicken shack,” and said he had purchased and moved the building because he used to take his future wife dancing there.
Elmer and Marjorie Freethy were married in 1930 and he started his contracting business the next year, according to an El Cerrito Wall of Fame profile in the city newsletter. One of his early big contracts was construction of El Cerrito High School from 1939-41.
The old chicken dinner building was torn down when El Cerrito Mill & Lumber underwent a major remodel by Elmer’s son, Jack Freethy, in 1996 as noted in this earlier post. The business, which had grown over time to include major portions of several blocks, closed in 2000 and the remodeled original El Cerrito Lumber building, redesigned in Victorian style, was moved across San Pablo and is now the Vitale Building.
Mammy’s Place is long gone and even though original owner Bottger was of European extraction, those free menus once given out to travelers are now rare and prized pieces of black Americana. A menu listed on eBay about in 2011 sold for more than $120.
Elmer Freethy died in 1998. Marjorie Freethy, a native of Point Richmond, died in 2013 at age 105.

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Elmer Freethy at El Cerrito Lumber.

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San Pablo Dam Road/I-80 interchange work described in video

The long-awaited work on the interchange at Interstate 80 and San Pablo Dam Road is described in a video from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, which says:

The Interstate 80/San Pablo Dam Road interchange will offer improved access between residential areas north and east of the interchange and Bay Area employment centers. Improvements will address current major delays and limited room for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the project will improve access for everyone. Phase 1 will be completed by in Spring 2017.

Learn more: http://www.ccta.net/sanpablodamroad

The first phase of work is expected to be completed by spring 2017, according to CCTA.