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El Cerrito: Musical Teens production of ‘Grease’ this weekend at Contra Costa Civic Theatre

By Chris Treadway
Friday, January 17th, 2014 at 4:31 pm in Art and entertainment, El Cerrito

The Musical Teens program at Contra Costa Civic Theatre will perform the 1950s musical “Grease” this weekend.

“Rydell high is filled with rebellious, thrill-loving students. Enter,
Sandy Dumbrowski, the new girl and things go crazy.
All of your favorite rock-and-roll songs with vibrant dancing and incredible voices will be on stage this coming weekend performed by the young actors from musical teens.”

Shows are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 18 and 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at CCCT, 951 Pomona Ave.

Tickets are $10, available at the door or online with more details at www.ccct.org.

The cast members are Abram Blitz, Aidan Mulqueeney, Amelia Meacham, Arianna Bertucco, Bella Mercurio, Chelsea McPheron, Devin Elias, Franny Beck, Gloria Leon, Hannah Miller, Jackie Davis, Jaya Pyne, Jenna Englund, Jordan Beck, Kyla Dullum, Lindsey Lam, Lucy Malamud-Roam, Marina Carlstroem, Mary Elsbury, Millie Kaufman, Natalie McCosker, Owen Storey, Sophia Acker, Terra Baer

Christina Martin directs and choreography is by Deirdre Ashby.

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Police offer tips on how to avoid being “skimmed”

By Chris Treadway
Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 10:53 pm in Albany, community, Contra Costa County, Crime, Crockett, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Port Costa, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo

Police are circulating this flier explaining “skimming” and how to avoid falling victim to a thief when using a debit card at an ATM or a store checkout counter.
An incident involving a “shoulder surfer” was reported in Hercules last week.

skimming

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Kensington’s Ashkon celebrates San Francisco with new music release

By Chris Treadway
Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 12:57 pm in El Cerrito, Kensington

Ashkon Davaran, the El Cerrito High School grad from Kensington whose “Don’t Stop Believing” music video tribute to the San Francisco Giants went viral during the team’s world championship season in 2010, has a new video out titled “This is San Francisco” that salutes the City by the Bay.

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1940s El Cerrito home movies offer glimpse of life during wartime and after

By Chris Treadway
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 at 12:21 am in Albany, community, Contra Costa County, Crockett, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, History, Kensington, Pinole, Port Costa, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo

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Fairmount School crossing guard in front of Amerio Drugs on San Pablo Avenue.

Posted here are excerpts of home movies of El Cerrito in the 1940s and 1950s that the family of Arthur Lorenzo Hopkins shared with the El Cerrito Historical Society that show slices of life in a city was still early in its development and in many ways still rural. Living just a few doors north of El Cerrito High School, the Hopkins family raised crops and livestock in the double-deep back yard of their home on Pomona Avenue, including cows, chickens and turkeys.
A team of horses is seen plowing a vacant lot across the street (still there) to plant a World War II victory garden and student crossing guards from Fairmount Elementary School stop traffic on San Pablo Avenue (look for Amerio Drug Store and the old Bank of America location).
Home movies that seem to be of little interest to anyone outside the family that took them can be an invaluable to historical societies trying to record what life was like in different eras. They add a dimension different that complements still photographs and written records.
Maybe you have a reel of film or an old VHS or Beta tape tucked away somewhere that could be digitized and shared with future generations (the original returned, of course). Historical societies would love to find out.
Contact the El Cerrito Historical Society at elcerritohistoricalsociety@yahoo.com, the El Sobrante Historical Society at eshistory@gmail.com, the Pinole Historical Society at info@pinolehistoricalsociety.org, or the Richmond Museum of History at 510-235-7387 or info@richmondmuseumofhistory.org.

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JFK High in Richmond is seeking Career Fair speakers to inspire students

By Chris Treadway
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 11:20 pm in community, El Cerrito, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Schools

Kennedy High in Richmond is looking for people from the community to discuss their jobs at its Career Fair on Jan. 24.
The event was selected to fall on the week of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as part of the “I have a dream” message, writes Jamie Myrick, who is lining up guests for the event.

Ninth grade JFK student Luis Calixto wrote the following for the Kennedy Eagle Eye:

Kennedy High school is hosting a career fair and looking for speakers to talk about their jobs on Jan. 24th. We want people to come in and motivate students to succeed in their high school years. Too many students are dropping out during their senior year based on failing classes in their 9th grade year. If someone were to come and speak to them about their struggles in school and how they managed to succeed in life maybe the dropout rate would decrease. That way our schools test scores will continue increase.
John F. Kennedy high school is designed to prepare us for life and college. We have many programs and academies to help students get ahead, including Saturday school and parent workshops. The test scores have gone up this year because of this and the quality of the school has improved. As I type this, there are workers outside renovating the science buildings. However we still need great speakers for the career fair.

President Kennedy once said “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Too often people talk about the government not doing things for youth, but today we are asking you to join in changing the youth of our community. When you give time to the Kennedy High school students you are helping them become successful in their academics. As the future leaders of America we need help and support from people who have made it in life. We ask you do send someone to Kennedy to speak to the 9th grade class and tell them how important it is to do well in school.
The careers that appeal to me are working in law as a Judge or medicine as a Doctor. They pay well and help people in need.

Like many 9th grade students, I haven’t really thought seriously about what I want to be when I get older but I am leaning towards these jobs and hearing about how the classes we take relate to employment, careers and starting businesses will help each of us. We would love to meet people from a wide variety of fields, hear about how to succeed in high school and college. Many people celebrate

Dr. King’s holiday by giving time to their community, we hope you will spend time with the students of Kennedy High.
The career fair is scheduled for January 24th. Speakers may talk in 30 minute increments for more information call Ms. Myrick at 510-333-1306

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Congresswoman Lee calls for halt of post office building sales

By Chris Treadway
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 10:45 am in Berkeley, development, History

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The following statement on the sale of historic post office buildings was issued Tuesday by the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Postal Service Must Halt Historic Buildings Sales

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee explained today that multiple provisions included in the omnibus appropriations bill unveiled on Monday urged the U.S. Postal Service to halt sales of historic post office buildings. One provision instructs the USPS to enact a moratorium on the sales until after the release of a pending Inspector General report on the legality of the sales. A second provision directs the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to issue a report on how to ensure the USPS follows the law in its sales of historic properties.

The Inspector General report, which Congresswoman Lee formally commented on, will also examine whether the USPS is following applicable historic preservation laws in their historic building sales procedures and whether they have solicited sufficient public input in this process. Many community leaders and government officials feel that the laws have been skirted in these sales.

“The language in the omnibus appropriations bill is clear: the USPS needs to put sales of historic Post Offices on hold while we wait to see what the Inspector General’s report and the ACHP reports say,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Buildings like the Berkeley Main Post Office are central to our communities and our cities, and while the USPS continues to grapple with financial woes, it must not resort to selling off historic properties without complying with federal historic preservation laws. Based on the legislative language included in the omnibus bills, I expect the USPS to immediately halt all pending sales.”

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Richmond: Free program will look at 1944 explosion at Port Chicago

By Chris Treadway
Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 11:12 pm in Contra Costa County, History, Richmond

portchicago3

“What kinds of questions were sailors and civilians asking after 1 million pounds of explosives blew up in Concord?”
Find out why the World War II explosion at the Port Chicago naval installation on July 17, 1944 continues to have reverberations, which will be discussed at a free program at 3p.m. Jan. 12 and 26 at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, 1414 Harbour Way South.

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Writing coach program puts out call for volunteers

By Chris Treadway
Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 12:47 pm in Albany, Berkeley, community, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo, Schools

WriterCoach Connection is seeking volunteers for its upcoming training:

Volunteer Writing Coaches Needed for Teens: Free Trainings Start January 14

WriterCoach Connection volunteers help teens develop confidence and gain
competence in their thinking and writing skills. Our volunteers work with students
on their classroom writing assignments providing one-on-one support for every
student in a participating class.

No prior experience is necessary; you bring the commitment and we’ll provide the
training and ongoing support that you need to work effectively with students,
including your own.

If you can commit to a regular 1-2 hour time slot, 2-4 times per month during the
school day–we especially need coaches for 8:00 and 9:00 am class periods in some
locations– we invite you to join over 600 volunteers, many of whom feel this is
”the highlight of my week!”

We currently need coaches at: Albany Middle School; Life Academy and Fremont High
in Oakland; El Cerrito High and Portola Middle School in El Cerrito; Berkeley High
and King and Longfellow Middle Schools in Berkeley.

New coach trainings begin January 14. Join us now for the best opportunity you’ve
ever had to learn to help teens think critically and find their voice.

For more information about our program, and to register online, please go to
www.writercoachconnection.org.

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UPDATE: Dismantling of historic former Richmond tugboat has started

By Chris Treadway
Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at 11:58 am in El Cerrito, History, Richmond

John Stashik of El Cerrito sends this update on the tugboat Edward J. Engel, part of the Santa Fe Railway barge-moving fleet for 25 years and now meeting its demise at a shipyard in Alameda:

Two days after I snapped that photo the shipyard began cutting it up. Here’s a photo snapped by Amtrak Engineer Phil Gosney showing the wheel house gone.

You can read more about the Engel and its history, with related links, in this post.

Engel_3Jan2014_PhilGosneyPhoto

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Outlook gloomy for historic Richmond tugboat salvaged in Oakland Estuary

By Chris Treadway
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 11:23 pm in Richmond

Engel_1946
An artifact of Richmond’s railroad and maritime history remains afloat in an Alameda boat yard, but faces a future that is uncertain at best. The tugboat Edward J. Engel, built in 1945 and named for the Santa Fe Railway president at the time, was once part of a fleet that moved barges from Richmond to points around the Bay from 1945 to 1969, when the railroad discontinued service as trucks became the preferred way to move freight.
These are photos and a bit of background on the Engel from John Stashik of El Cerrito, who knows about such things:

A bit of Richmond history here. This tug boat was built for the Santa Fe Railway and was part of their San Francisco Bay “navy” that moved car barges from Ferry Point in Richmond to San Francisco (Fisherman’s Wharf and China Basin), Alameda, Oakland, and Tiburon.

Two photos: at work in 1946 in San Francisco, and 1-1-2014 at Bay Ship & Yacht in Alameda snapped as I motored on by. Partially submerged since 2007 in the Oakland Estuary it was refloated and moved to the shipyard. I don’t know what will happen next.

This article describes the raising of the Engel from the Oakland Estuary in December after it was found to be leaking oil into the water and impeding boat traffic.
In another era, it would have simply been turned into a floating restaurant.

Engel_2014

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