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Crash closes El Cerrito CVS store

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El Cerrito police and fire crews were called to the CVS store at the Moeser Lane shopping center this afternoon when a BMW X5 SUV went over the curb into outside racks of plants for sale and through the store’s plate glass window about 1 p.m.
A store employee said there weren’t any injuries from the crash, “except maybe mentally.”
Another employee who was working at the checkout stand said she first thought it was an earthquake.
The crash forced the store to close for business this afternoon.
Accidents of this type are not uncommon at the store. Employees said there have been at least seven crashes of this type over the years.

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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

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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.

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

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

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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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El Cerrito: Views inside the renovated Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys

Below are photopraphic details of the historic 1935 Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys that visitors have been able to see at two recent open houses hosted by the Richmond-based Chamberlin Family Foundation and the El Cerrito Historical Society following a nine-month renovation.

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Ornamentation over the entry to the building.

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Decorative panel under one of the front windows.

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The original bannister was retained and painstakingly raised to meet modern height requirements, while a standard modern bannister was installed on the inside.

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One of the new finials made of fiberglass that weighs four pounds, left, compared to 60 pounds for the originals, right. The originals were taken down by Windrush School due to safety concerns.

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Windows were carefully renovated to keep the original detail.

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A mural, signed by artist Dupont, that is original to the Chung Mei days. The inscription on the scroll translates to “Whenever you open a book, you benefit.”

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Special steps were taken to seismically reinforce the top of the building without removing the original roof.

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View looking out of the basement, where a pillar was strengthened with a half-inch wrap of carbon fiber for reinforcement. A new drainage system was also installed to take rainwater away and prevent persistent flooding.

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Decorative details of ceiling beams.

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More detail is seen on the rear of the building.

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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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More about the Oakland Oaks and their first PCL baseball title in 1912

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Times history columnist Nilda Rego this week writes about the first Pacific Coast League pennant won by the Oakland Oaks in 1912. The Oaks were charter members of the PCL, but a title didn’t come until the team’s 10th season.
The Oaks blew a 3-1 lead to the Los Angeles Angels on the second-to-last day of the season, taking a 4-3 loss that dropped them into second place. The title wasn’t secured until the next day when the “Fighting Oaks” took both ends of a doubleheader over the Angels to bring the title to the East Bay.
The new champions were the toast of the town, celebrated at events at the rooftop garden of the Capwell building (attended by Mayor Frank Mott and department store magnate H.C. Capwell) and a public gathering hosted by the Oakland Tribune at the Orpheum Theatre.
Here is some of the coverage from the Oakland Tribune in 1912. (Note the cartoon marking the end of the baseball season and the start of the rugby season, which was the official college sport rather than football at the time.)

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Berkeley: Giveaway on Sunday of seats from UC Theatre

The UC Theatre in Berkeley is offering a unique opportunity to longtime fans on Sunday: Free original theater seats, available first-come, first serve. The new owners of the funky and beloved movie house, who are raising funds to turn the theater into a performance venue, posted the following Friday on their Facebook page:

Memories that last a lifetime available Sunday Noon to 4pm at The UC Theatre!
We’re giving away some of the UC Theatre Rocky Horror nourished, Landmark Theatre initiated, historic theatre seats…
FREE – ONE TIME ONLY this Sunday, March 1st, from 12noon to 4pm.
If you are interested, here are the conditions we ask you to follow:
1) First come, First Served.
2) Seats are in sections – no single or double or triple seats available – the smallest sections available are 4-6 seats. Larger sections are also available. The seats are VERY HEAVY!
3) Seats must be removed as is.
4) You must have a truck or van, and a minimum of 2 strong people to load them. They are VERY HEAVY!
5) We cannot give away the chairs unless you meet the criteria above. No exceptions.
Please spread the word to people who will adopt, cherish, and give these seats a good home!
Donations to the Berkeley Music Group in support of The UC Theatre “Turn on the Lights” Capital Campaign are much appreciated. www.theuctheatre.org/support.
See you at the Theatre this Sunday!
Thanks!

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When baseball great Jackie Robinson came to Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville

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Program page from the 1951 exhibition game at Oaks Ball Park between Jackie Robinon’s All Stars and Billy Raimondi’s Major-Minor Leaguers.

Saturday, Jan. 31, is the birthday of baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, who was 28 years old in 1947 when he broke Major League Baseball’s longstanding unwritten ban on black baseball players.
Robinson made at least three visits to Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville on barnstorming tours.
The first two were in October of 1946, when Robinson, still about six months away from breaking the major league color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers, came to the East Bay with a group of black baseball players to face the local black baseball team, the Oakland Larks, in an exhibition game.

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Jackie Robinson caused something of a sensation in 1946, when he was signed to play with the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn Dodger farm team.

(Robinson and team also made a stop in San Francisco to play a team led by another future Hall of Fame player, Cleveland Indians ace Bob Feller.)
Robinson was an established big league star when he made a return trip to Emeryville in November of 1951, when his barnstorming All Star team played a squad of current and former Pacific Coast League players led by Oakland Oaks catcher Billy Raimondi.

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Jackie Robinson had just finished his first and only minor league season with the Montreal Royals in 1946 when he came to Oaks Ball Park in Emeryville with a team of Negro League players and black teammates as part of a barnstorming tour. Their opponents that day were the Oakland Larks, a black baseball team whose members included Lionel Wilson, future judge and Oakland mayor.

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Robinson’s barnstorming tour made a second visit to Emeryville in October of 1946.

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Players on Robinson’s touring team that came to the East Bay in 1951 included Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League, and his Cleveland Indian teammate Luke Easter.