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Richmond: More ramp and lane closures next week for I-580 project

Caltrans this afternoon announced more ramp and lane closures scheduled for its Interstate 580 work near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Interstate 580 Scofield Avenue and Western Drive Bridge Decks Replacement Project Lane and Ramp Closures Continue

Contra Costa County – Lane and ramp closures resume for the Interstate 580 construction project just east of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

· Tuesday, May 20, through Thursday, May 22, Caltrans will close one westbound lane from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for sign installation.

· Wednesday night, May 21, one eastbound lane will be closed for striping from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

· The eastbound I-580 on-ramp from Stenmark (formerly Western) Drive will be closed for striping on Wednesday, May 21, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Detour: travel east on I-580 across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, exit at San Quentin, and return to eastbound I-580.

· On Thursday, May 22, one westbound lane will be closed from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and one eastbound lane will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

· Note: one eastbound lane on the Richmond-San Rafael will be closed, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., to move scaffolding. This work will continue until mid-June. No closures are scheduled for Friday night, May 23 and Monday night, May 26.

· During these closures, motorists should expect travel delay and allow additional time to reach their destination.

This is an active construction site and the 45 MPH speed zone will be enforced by the California Highway Patrol. Drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

For more information about the project, visit the Caltrans webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/580scofieldave/

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Fire units from El Cerrito and other East Bay cities assisting battle with wildfires in Southern California

El Cerrito issued the following news release about firefighters sent to help battle the wildfires in San Diego:

El Cerrito Firefighters Deployed to Assist with Southern California Wildfires
El Cerrito, CA: Two units from El Cerrito have been deployed to assist with wildfires in Southern California.
At 10:30 PM on Thursday night, El Cerrito Fire Engine 372, along with units from Crockett, San Ramon, Moraga, and Alameda County were dispatched to the Las Pulgas Fire located at Camp Pendleton CA. This is near the City of San Diego. The Las Pulgas fire first reported at 3:15 p.m. Thursday and at 5:00 a.m. Friday morning was reported to have grown to 8,000 acres burned and 5% contained.
Additionally, at 1:00 a.m. Friday, May 16, OES 300 out of El Cerrito was called to the San Diego Complex involving nine major wildfires burning in that area. OES 300 is part of Strike Team 2802A and is made up of units from San Francisco, Marin County (3 units) and El Cerrito.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) provides updated information on the size and containment of these and other major fire incidents online at http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current
Already this year, CAL FIRE has already responded to nearly 1,300 wildfires, more than twice as many fires as average. All homeowners in California are encouraged to be prepared for wildfires. For more information on preparing for wildfires and creating a 100’ Defensible Space around your home are online at www.ReadyForWldfire.org.
CAL FIRE is an emergency response and resource protection department of the State of California.

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Richmond: Eastbound I-580 lane closures at Richmond-San Rafael Bridge announced

Caltrans issued the following release today about lane closures for its ongoing work on Interstate 580 at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge:

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Eastbound Lane Closures Begin Monday Night, 8:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Contra Costa County – Caltrans has scheduled lane closures on eastbound Interstate 580 at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The closures are necessary so that the paint crew can move scaffolding to a new location.

· One lane will be closed Monday night – Friday night, from 8:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.

· This work will continue through mid-June.

· No closures are scheduled for Friday night, May 23 and Monday night, May 26.

Motorists should expect travel delay and allow more time to reach their destination. Drive cautiously through the construction zone. Leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

For more information about Caltrans projects, visit the webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/

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Smartphone thefts prompt warning from Berkeley police about distracted walking

Berkeley police have issued the following advisory this week in the wake of ongoing street robberies of smartphones:

Berkeley Police Reminder: Avoid Distracted Walking

If you’re reading this message on your smartphone while walking alone, put your phone away and look around.

Smartphone robberies from lone pedestrians at night account for the largest number of robberies in Berkeley. Some simple steps can reduce your chances of being a victim.

Don’t use your smartphone while outside. Walk with others when possible. Be aware of your surroundings.

Of the 309 pedestrian robberies last year, 63 percent occurred with people who were walking alone and 58 percent had their smartphone in their hand.

Some victims had phones forcibly taken from them. Others were convinced by seemingly friendly strangers to take their phone out of their pockets or let a stranger borrow it.

Be aware of locations and situations that could make you more vulnerable to crime – such as alleys, doorways, parking lots and stairwells.

Berkeley is not unique. Smartphone robberies have become a problem throughout the country due to their high value and easy sale on black markets. They are sold for hundreds of dollars and often shipped abroad.

Using your phone’s security features can also be a deterrent. For example, people using Apple products with the latest operating system, iOS7, can permanently disable a stolen phone using the Activation Lock feature.

Please report suspicious activities by calling the Berkeley Police Department at 510-981-5900. If it is a life threatening emergency or a crime in progress dial 911.

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Richmond: Interstate 580 repaving work planned

Caltrans will be doing nighttime repaving work this week on Interstate 580 just before the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and advises motorists to expect delays. The agency issued the following announcement Friday afternoon:

Interstate 580 Scofield Avenue and Western Drive
Bridge Decks Replacement Project
Lane and Ramp Closures for Paving

Contra Costa County – Lane and ramp closures resume for the Interstate 580 construction project just east of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

· Wednesday night, May 7, and Thursday night, May 8, Caltrans will close one eastbound lane and one westbound lane from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

· Friday night, May 9, Caltrans will close one eastbound lane and one westbound lane from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

· The eastbound I-580 on-ramp from Stenmark (formerly Western) Drive will be closed May 7 and 8 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and May 9 from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Detour: travel east on I-580 across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, exit at San Quentin, and return to eastbound I-580.

· During these closures, motorists should expect travel delay and allow additional time to reach their destination.

This is an active construction site and the 45 MPH speed zone will be enforced by the California Highway Patrol. Drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”

For more information about the project, call the message line at (510) 286-5820 or visit the Caltrans webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/580scofieldave/

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Friends of 5 Creeks gardening tips to minimize water use

Some advice from the latest newsletter from Berkeley-based Friends of 5 Creeks (www.fivecreeks.org):

Water-saving tips

Learn how to lose your lawn: For many homeowners, the easiest way to save water (along with effort and money) is to shrink or get rid of lawn. The Bay Friendly Coalition offers a free workshop, with individual advice, at 10:30 AM Sat., May 3, at the California Native Plant Society’s Native Here Nursery, 101 Golf Course Dr., in Tilden Park. This also is a great place to find drought-tolerant, wildlife-friendly, replacement plants.

Nursing new plantings through the summer: Our delicious late rains have been a reprieve, but summer will be dry. With time, it is possible to develop a flourishing garden that needs no watering. (Summer water under coast live oaks, our species of the month, can kill them.) But even drought-tolerant plants generally need some summer water until their roots are established. At F5C’s restoration projects, we found that tough natives survived with deep watering once a month from June or July to October.
Drip irrigation usually saves water, but it can be leak-prone and costly to install. Here are some techniques that don’t require even drip irrigation:

Most basically, plant in fall, giving plants a rainy season in which to get established. Use lots of mulch, which holds water like a sponge, shades the soil, and discourages water-stealing weeds.
Along with a new plant, install a tube with a small opening at the bottom that lets water drain slowly to deep roots. Fill it occasionally. The tube can be a commercial product – or an upside-down plastic soda bottle.
Use a bucket or bag with a small opening that drains slowly. As with tubes, these can be commercial products – or old buckets or plastic trash bags.
Consider a tree tube or tree shelter. This is a translucent plastic tubes, held in place with a stake, serving mainly to protect young trees from hungry animals. But they also help retain moisture in windy areas, and condensation inside the tube can provide a little extra water.
Consider commercial gels that release water slowly, such as DriWATER.

Submit your own water-saving tip to the group at https://app.icontact.com/icp/sub/survey/take.

Click here for to read the F5C information sheet, “Why Should You Save Water? And How?”

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WWII Wednesday: Olive Oyl works as a wartime welder

Prod14

Olive Oyl was already a popular cartoon star by the time the United States entered World War II, but still did her part during the war by puncing the clock as a welder. Amorous advances by co-workers Popeye and Bluto lead to some workplace safety issues, however.

While work on the Popeye cartoon “Mess Production” started months earlier, it actually was released by Famous Studios on Aug. 24, 1945, 10 days after VJ Day.
The cartoon incorporates a number of gags from two 1930s black-and-white Popeye cartoons from the Fleischer Studios (predecessor of Famous Studios): “A Dream Walking” and “Lost and Foundry,” as well as the 1942 Superman cartoon “Destruction, Inc.”, a wartime cartoon with Lois Lane in the Rosie the Riveter role.

http://youtu.be/lgHKQiPiH5g

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El Cerrito and Richmond high school athletes of the 1940s and ’50s relive glory days at annual reunion

Sights from the annual Newell Sports Luncheon, a gathering April 25 at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club in Richmond that reunites 1940s and 1950s athletes who attended Richmond Union and El Cerrito high Schools.

cerro square
Baseball greats Jackie Jensen, Ernie Broglio, Mickey Mantle, Darrell Johnson, and Billy Martin at the opening of Martin’s Cerro Square Club (formerly the Six Bells) in El Cerrito in 1961.

ruhs 1951 champs 2 landis
The 1951 Richmond Union High Oliers team that tied with El Cerrito for the league title. The team had two players named Jim Landis, and one of them went on to a major league baseball career.

richmond merchants
The Richmond Merchants team.

reid bates dedication
Charles Reid and Nat Bates at the dedication of the Sheilds Reid Center. Reid played baseball for the Pierce Giants of Richmond. Bates was on the El Cerrito High Gauchos squad in the early 1950s, when his teammate was Pumpsie Green, who later broke the color barrier as the first black player with the Boston Red Sox.

pierce giants 1921
The Pierce Giants, an early black team, in 1921.

oil can
The Richmond Oilers were well represented at the luncheon.

kamb trophy
Ron Kamb, left, presents a plaque of appreciation to Jack Newell, second from right, for “keeping athletics alive.” Next to Kamb is Pete Schober, and on the right is RUHS grad Mike Farmer, who went on to play at USF and in the NBA.

jim landis 3
Jim Landis holds a picture from his playing days with the Chicago White Sox.

el cortez
The 1948 champion El Cortez merchant team.

ec baseball 1950s
Ernie Broglio (back row) was one of the members of the El Cerrito team, playing high school and American Legion ball before starting a professional career.

art smrekar
Three-time gold medal water skiing champion Art Smrekar, a graduate of Richmond Union High.

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Berkeley’s UC Theatre through the years

UC Theatre 1917
The theater as it looked when it opened in 1917.

Plans to renovate and reopen the historic UC Theatre on University Avenue in Berkeley were announced last week.
Here is a look at the landmark movie house over the years:

UC Theatre 1917small
Another view from 1917.

UC Theatre 1924small
By 1924 the theater had added a marquee and vertical sign.

UC Theatre 1933small
The theater in 1933. It was the height of the Great Depression and a repossessed furniture store was next door.

UC Theatre 1942
The theater soldiered on during World War II.

UC Theatre 1968small
The UC Theatre in 1968, when its neighbor was the underground newspaper Berkeley Barb.

UC Theatre Interior RTF small
Interior of the UC Theatre in its heyday.

UCT Watercolor Rendering_Small
Watercolor rendering of the theater as it would look renovated as a performance venue.

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A look at the Albany Theater through the years, part 2: The great Batman promo of 1966

Albany Batman January 1966 a

Former Albany Theater manager Jack Tillmany offers this great reminiscence about the Batman promotion at the movie house in 1966 that was tied in not to the wildly popular TV show that debuted that year, but to the reissue of the black-and-white 1940s movie serial issued during the war:

In late 1965 Columbia Pictures had tremendous success with the re-release of their 1943, 15 episode serial, Batman and Robin, selling it as a “High Camp Folk Orgy” (love that 60s vernacular!). In San Francisco it played to turn away crowds, week after week, at the Presidio, and I convinced Foster to play it at the Albany. Since it was my idea, I had to promote it for all it was worth, and had two of my employees dress up as Batman and Robin, and drive around Berkeley in the Batmobile, which was actually a 1959 black Chevrolet convertible, which belonged to one of them, and couldn’t have been more perfect. They had a ball, and we sold out just about every performance night after night, for several weeks.

Unfortunately, Tillmany adds that he can’t remember who the two employees were who got to portray the Dynamic Duo.
The promotion and serial screening arrived in Albany in January 1966, the same month the TV show hit the air.

More photos of Batman and Robin’s appearance at the Albany Theater are below (click for larger views), along with video of the opening sequence of the 1943 serial.

Albany Batman January 1966 b

Albany Batman January 1966 c

Albany Batman January 1966 d

Albany Batman January 1966 e

Albany Batman January 1966 f