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City Gets a ‘C’ for Tobacco Policies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:14

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The American Lung Association recently released its annual “report card,” rating each city’s tobacco control polices and San Leandro received a “C” average.

The report grades cities based on three factors: the city’s policies on reducing smoking in outdoor areas, their policies on smoking in apartments and condos, and the policies the city has in place to decrease the accessibility and sales of tobacco products.

San Leandro got an “A” for smoke-free outdoor air, a “D” for smoke-free housing, and an “F” for reducing tobacco sales, according to Serena Chen, regional advocacy director of the American Lung Association.

Chen said that San Leandro did get some bonus points for including e-cigarettes along with traditional tobacco products when making policies.

Chen added that she has spoken with members of the City Council about requiring tobacco retailers to have a special license, which she says would be a step in the right direction.

Eric Englebart, assistant to the city manager, said that San Leandro continues to look for ways to improve smoking policies in town and noted that even if a specific city doesn’t require licensing for tobacco retailers, the state does, so all retailers in town are licensed.

“The City of San Leandro takes the issue of tobacco-related death, disease and associated public health matters seriously,” said Englebart in a written statement. “These efforts were further augmented last year with the City Council’s adoption of a new ordinance that expands current smoking pollution control requirements to also apply to the use of e-cigarettes.

Looking ahead, the City of San Leandro continues to respond to community concerns related to tobacco use as they arise, and is closely monitoring various statewide and regional efforts to better address the public health issues associated with tobacco and nicotine-infused products.”

The American Lung Association awarded “A” grades to Berkeley, Dublin, and Union City. Oakland, Alameda, Albany and Hayward all received a “B.” Emeryville, Fremont and Piedmont joined San Leandro with “C” averages. And, Livermore, Newark, Pleasanton and the unincorporated areas of Alameda County got “D” grades.

The American Lung Association also gave the state of California an “F” for having low tobacco taxes, which the association said hasn’t been raised since 1999.

 

 
Supervisor Haggerty Elected Board President PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:12

012915n3The Alameda County Board of Supervisors recently unanimously elected Supervisor Scott Haggerty to serve as president of the board.

Having just completed a term as vice president of the board, Supervisor Haggerty will now hold the position of president for the next two years. Supervisor Wilma Chan was elected to serve as vice president.

“It is an honor to serve as President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors,” said Haggerty in a written statement.  “We represent a vibrant and diverse population and serve a wide variety of needs here in the county. I look forward to serving this board and our constituents.”

Alameda County is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors, each of whom is elected on a non-partisan basis from a separate district where they live. Supervisor Haggerty represents the First District communities of Fremont, Livermore, Dublin and east unincorporated areas.

The president of the board, chosen from the membership of the board every two years, presides at all meetings of the board and appoints committees to handle work involving the major programs of the county.

 

 
Giving the Gift of Song PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:09

012915n4By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

The folks at Jones Rest Home on Callan Avenue have live entertainment on a regular basis, thanks to George Jardine.

Jardine leads a singing group that’s been coming to the rest home and other places around town for 48 years. The group ranges in number from six to 15 — plus the audience, because everybody is invited to sing along.

Ellen Young, the organist at St. Leander and other churches, comes along with her portable keyboard.

The idea came to Jardine back in the 1960s.

The priest would come to the rest home to say Mass, so one day Jardine wondered why couldn’t a singing group do the same thing.

So Jardine got together a group of singers and a collection of songs, and the show has been on the road ever since.

Jardine, 89, is retired from teaching in the San Lorenzo school district. The Hayward resident gives the credit to another group member, Marilyn Gage, for keeping things organized and lining up the shows.

Gage emceed the show last Thursday at the Jones Rest Home and encouraged the residents to gather around and sing as part of the group.

As she told the residents, “We feel we’re a choir in the round.”

CAPTION: George Jardine, Andre Teyssier, Gail Otvos, Sue Fernandes, Marilyn Gage and Ellen Young (on keyboard) bring the gift of song to the Jones Rest Home.

PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES


 
One Woman Dead in I-580 Crash PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:07

A woman was killed and a man was seriously injured in a car crash on I-580 near the 164th Avenue off-ramp early last Friday morning.

The woman has been identified by the coroner’s office as Danielle Reyes, a 25-year-old San Francisco resident.

Reyes was a passenger in a sedan that was traveling east-bound when it veered into the median of the freeway just before 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 23.

Reyes and the driver, a 32-year-old Fremont man, were both ejected. He is being treated for major injures.

After the occupants were ejected from the car, another car collided with their vehicle, causing minor injuries to the second car’s driver and serious injuries to a passerby who stopped to help.

The freeway was closed temporarily, but all lanes were reopened by around 7:30 a.m.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash.

 

 
Still No Clue on ‘Goo’ PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 14:54

012915n2By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The “gray goo” substance that is killing seabirds in the East Bay remains a mystery more than a week after dead and injured birds began showing up along the shoreline from Fremont to Alameda.

On Jan. 17, the dead birds and sick birds began being discovered, many at the San Leandro Marina, according to Mary Fricke, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

And now, to date, nearly 300 birds have been found covered in the goo and taken to be cleaned at the International Bird Rescue Facility in Fairfield, where they hope to begin releasing the healthy birds this week. Sadly, another 200 birds have died.

The substance is not petroleum. Last week officials thought it could be the fuel additive polyisobutylene, which has killed birds in England under similar circumstances, but that was eventually ruled out following lab tests.

Now they are considering everything from other chemicals to algae bloom.

The substance is not poisonous in and of itself, rather it gets in the feathers making it so the birds can’t regulate their temperature so they end up dying of hypothermia.

The substance — which is described as odorless and similar in consistency to rubber cement — is not toxic to humans, so no clean-up effort is underway, just a campaign to find and treat the birds.

If someone is found to be responsible for dumping the substance, they could be criminally charged as well as held financially responsible for the care of the birds, which costs about $8,000 a day.

The number of birds being found dead and injured appears to be slowing down, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“It will take some time before we know just what this is,” said Fricke. “We’re doing all we can to find out.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife asks that anyone who spots a sick or dead bird not pick it up but rather call the department’s tip line at (888) 334-2258.

CAPTION: A Dunlin shorebird is washed of the mystery goo that is fouling the Bay.

PHOTO BY CHERYL REYNOLDS, COURTESY OF INTERNATIONAL BIRD RESCURE


 
Assumption School Presents Check to Davis St. Family Resource Center PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:04

012915n6

PHOTO BY ALLISON PRETTO

Davis Street chief executive officer Rose Padilla Johnson (right) accepts a check from Assumption School Principal Joseph Petersen (center) and St. Nick Boutique chair and Assumption School parent Nancy Ramos (left).

“Who here ate breakfast this morning?” This was the question that Rose Padilla Johnson, chief executive officer of Davis Street Family Resource Center, asked Assumption School students on a chilly January morning. Sure enough, every student raised their hand.

Padilla Johnson was at the school to accept a check for $5,258 that the school had raised to help fund Davis Street’s Hot Breakfast Program. The breakfast program provides a hot, nutritious meal for low-income preschoolers 251 days out of the year.

Assumption students raised the money during the school’s annual St. Nick’s Boutique fundraiser in December. The fundraiser, which was started by Brian Copeland, a former Assumption parent, 19 years ago, is an event that is totally centered around the idea of giving.

School families offer donations of new and gently used items, which are then displayed at the “boutique” for sale.  Students make lists of their loved ones and purchase items accordingly at the boutique as holiday gifts.

 

 
Mystery Chemical Found Inside Cherryland Home PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:08

The Alameda County Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials crew was called out to deal with an unknown chemical that was discovered at a home in Cherryland Monday morning.

Crews were called to the 21800 block of Princeton Street around 10 a.m. on Jan. 26 to deal with about two shovels-worth of a mysterious orange chemical found at the home. An investigation into the substance is underway.

 

 
County Supes Speak on Brown’s Budget PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:06

Alameda County leaders say they support the fiscally prudent approach exhibited in Governor Jerry Brown’s latest state budget proposal; but say it should do more to boost safety-net services slashed during the recession and address concerns about access to care for the expanding population of residents enrolling in the state’s Medi-Cal program.

Supervisor Keith Carson, who chairs Alameda County’s Budget Workgroup, said the $164.7-billion budget proposal released by the Governor earlier this month  reflects an improving financial situation across the state, and thus contrasts positively with the difficult years of the recent past when deep cuts to programs serving the poor were a fixture of every state spending plan.

Carson and other supervisors  said there is much to admire about Brown’s careful approach – which includes paying down debts and contributing to a “rainy day” fund to prepare for future economic dips – but that the opportunity must not be missed to spread the benefits of the improved economy to struggling residents who were impacted most by the deep cuts of the recession years.

 

 
Students Keep King’s Memory Alive PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:01

012915n5By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Over 100 people  gathered to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Marina Community Center last Monday morning.

The city’s annual “Remember the Dream” oratorical festival is designed to encourage young people to keep King’s legacy of equality and non-violence alive.

Students from elementary through high school recited some of King’s famous speeches and also performed their own original poems and prose.

“It is such an important day, not only for black Americans, but for all Americans,” said Mayor Pauline Cutter. “King had a voice that spoke to so many, that spoke right to the heart.”

City Councilwoman Ursula Reed was the event’s master of ceremonies and she said that it was gratifying to see so many young people spreading King’s messages of “peace, tolerance, and social justice.”

The young people who gave speeches were rated on their creativity, expression, articulation and stage presence.

Arush Vyas, a fourth grader at James Madison Elementary, won the younger age bracket with an original speech in which he talked about some of his own dreams as he reflected on King’s legendary “I have a Dream” speech.

“He believed in nonviolence and civil disobedience,” said Vyas of King. “He is the reason we are together today in work, school and play.”

Dylan Stauffer, a student at Roosevelt, came in second in the elementary school age division with a lively rendition of “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” the final speech King ever gave, just one day before his assassination.

“And I’ve seen the Promised Land,” quoted Stauffer. “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

The first and second place winners in the junior high division were Anvita Vyas and Joylyn Golondrina, with an honorable mention for Aniket Dhar. And the winner of the high school division was Jewel Sanchez.

The event also featured performances from the Sistahs of the Drum Rhythm percussion group and the African Queens dance troupe, who danced to music from Senegal and Haiti.

CAPTION: Girls of the African Queens dance troupe prepare to perform at “Remember the Dream” festival last Monday.

PHOTO AMY SYLVESTRI


 
Oro Loma Recognized for Safety, Sidestream PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 January 2015 14:57

The Oro Loma Sanitary District (OLSD), which provides wastewater and solid waste services to the communities of San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland, Fairview, portions of Castro Valley and Hayward, and 40 percent of the City of San Leandro, was honored at the Jan. 9 awards banquet of the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) San Francisco Bay Section.

OLSD received two prestigious awards — the first award recognized the organization’s commitment to plant safety and the second recognized its innovative Zeolite-Anammox Sidestream project.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Jason Warner OLSD General Manager in a written statement. “These awards are terrific validation of our innovative and sustainable approach to infrastructure management.”

The CWEA San Francisco Bay Section Plant Safety Award 2014 recognizes the district for its outstanding safety record, which includes more than seven years without a lost-time injury. Safety training and incident investigations, emergency planning, hazardous materials spills planning, and a general culture of exceptional safety programs and practices all factored into choosing Oro Loma Sanitary District for this major achievement award.

The CWEA San Francisco Bay Section Research Achievement Award 2014 was awarded to the district for its participation in the Zeolite-Anammox Sidestream project, a pilot study designed to reduce the concentration of unwanted nutrients discharged into San Francisco Bay by local wastewater treatment plants. The project involves adding a separate process, in which specialized bacteria are used to convert the wastewater treatment byproducts of ammonium and nitrite into harmless nitrogen gas; the nitrogen gas is then naturally released into the air.

Oro Loma was selected for the study to investigate the feasibility of the process and to determine its impact on the overall wastewater treatment process. The study is ongoing.

 

 

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