County to Cut Down More Trees Along the Creek PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:57

100115n1By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Several trees along San Leandro Creek pose a threat to people and property and they have to be cut down, says the Alameda County Public Works Agency.

The agency met with people who live along the creek Tuesday night at the Main Library to tell them about how they determine which trees need chopping down or pruning and to answer any questions.

The county says that 42 trees have fallen along the creek since 1998 and probably a few more that were never reported.

During some winters of heavy storms, you’d often hear about a tree falling and damaging a deck or a home and the county wants to prevent that in the future.

Out of 337 county-owned trees along the creek, 23 will be removed and 12 will be pruned.

They use a 12-point scale to figure out how dangerous a tree is. The county arborists rank trees in three categories: failure potential, size of tree or limb in question, and where it would land if it fell.

They rate the tree on a risk scale of 1 to 4 in each category. If a tree has a score of nine or higher, the county takes action, said Daniel Woldesenbet of the public works agency.

The work is planned for the spring, but Woldesenbet said if we get a lot of rain this winter, they may have to go in and trim or remove trees earlier to prevent them from falling.

The county also plans on removing fallen tree trunks, clearing ivy and other ground cover, and replanting some trees.

This isn’t the first time the county has culled trees in the creek. One man at the meeting asked – haven’t we done this all before? They held the same type of meetings about five years ago about clearing trees.

Woldesenbet said, yes, the job of cutting potentially dangerous trees is never over, they have to continually look for trees that could fall as wind and erosion take their toll.

If you couldn’t make the meeting or are curious about which trees are scheduled to get the axe, a map that identifies each individual tree is available on the county’s website, under the “vegetation management plan” tab.

The tree cutting isn’t the only thing that’s going on in San Leandro Creek.

A meeting is planned for Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Library to discuss the proposed walking path that the city wants to building along portions of the creek.

CAPTION: A tree trimmer prunes a eucalyptus along San Leandro Creek.


Man Found Dead in SL Creek PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:56

A man committed suicide in San Leandro Creek on Sunday afternoon, according to police.

Neighbors called about a fire in the creek shortly after 1 p.m. Alameda County firefighters arrived at the portion of the creek between East 14th Street and San Leandro Boulevard and discovered a body covered in severe burns. The person was pronounced dead at the scene.

The body was later identified by the Alameda County Coroner’s office as a 45-year-old Hayward man.

The San Leandro police investigated and determined the cause of death to be suicide. The man had a history of mental health problems, police said.

The police and Alameda County Coroner’s Office have not released the man’s identity or other details.

“We offer our condolences to the man’s family as they work through this tragedy,” said Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police.


Delegation From Fiji Comes to San Leandro PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:47



Visitors from Fiji met this week at The Englander restaurant in San Leandro to meet with Mangal’s Market. From left to right are Visoni Timote, Pauliasi Tuilau, Filipe Alifereti, Losalini Leweniqila, Robert Mangal (owner of Mangal’s Market in San Leandro), Uraia Waibuta, Reginald Mangal, Ronald Mangal, Jone Sovalawa, Michael Seitz, and Sefo Rauli.

By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Members of the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture came to San Leandro this week to meet their customers, boost sales, and learn more about import regulations in the United States.

The delegation from the island nation of 860,000 people arrived on Fiji Airways and met on Monday at The Englander restaurant and pub in San Leandro with Robert Mangal, owner of Mangal’s Market.

“The primary purpose of our visit is to see how well our produce is doing, see areas that need improvement, bottlenecks, and to meet with our distributors and retailers,” said Uraia Waibuta, acting permanent secretary of the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture.

Fiji exports root crops, breadfruit and other produce, and its famous Fiji water all around the world. Fiji produce that comes to the United States is mainly popular here on the West Coast.

Waibuta said his country’s exports to the United States amounted to about $174 million annually.

Mangal’s is one of Fiji’s chief distributers in the Bay Area, importing over 20 shipping containers of food from Fiji annually. Mangal’s sells food from Fiji at its store on East 14th Street and distributes goods to other markets in the area.

Fiji is an archipelago of some 333 islands in the South Pacific, though most of the population lives on two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.  The capitol and largest city, Suva, is on Viti Levu.

Fiji was formed by volcanos 150 million years ago and it’s been inhabited for about 3,000 years. Britain made Fiji a colony in 1874 but Fiji gained independence 1970 and was declared a republic in 1987.

The island nation has abundant forests and natural resources, and a tourism industry due to its tropical climate and beautiful beaches.

Fiji is known for having excellent soil and its produce being pure and free of chemicals, Mangal said.

Waibnuta said that one thing his group has learned on their visit to the United States is that it’s not just Pacific Islanders who are their customers, that people from the Caribbean and African Americans are buying Fiji products.

The delegation was heading to Los Angeles after visiting the Bay Area where they planned to meet with the United States Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs to keep up to date on import regulations in this country.


Remembering a Fallen Officer PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:42

100115n3Tuesday marked the 46th anniversary of the death of San Leandro police reserve officer Donald Spignola, one of three SLPD officers to ever be killed in the line of duty.

Spignola was just 24-years-old and had been with the department only three months when he was killed on Sept. 29, 1969.

He was struck by a ricochet bullet that had been fired by a fellow officer while they were pursuing a burglary suspect.

In the San Leandro police department’s 142 history, only three officers have been struck down while on duty.

Officer Fred Haller was shot seven times while on patrol in 1961 and the murder was never solved. Officer Nels Niemi was shot and killed by a parolee while responding to a noise complaint at a house party in 2005.


Boys and Girls Club’s Summer Progam Ends with a Visit From Mayor Cutter PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:40

100115n5The San Leandro Boys and Girls Club wrapped up its summer program and one of the highlights was a visit from San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter, City Councilwoman Deborah Cox and City Manager Chris Zapata.

The mayor shared her business cards with a few kids, which made them instant club celebrities.

Over 300 kids participated in the program that was offered at the main Club facility on Marina Boulevard and a second program at Jefferson Elementary School.

Both programs were highly structured and gave students a wide variety of daily activities. The mornings were dedicated to academics, primarily reading and math programs, designed to help students stay sharp in those areas over the summer vacation.

Afternoons were dedicated to enrichment programs and recreation activities ranging from low organized games to cooking, gardening and computer programs. Children were grouped according to their age and grade.

The middle school aged students were in the “D2D Program” – Diplomas to Degrees – an intensive college readiness program that helps teens develop short and long range goals, tour a variety of college campuses, and even apply for college scholarships.

D2D students visited 12 different campuses ranging from Expression College to Cal State East Bay to the California Culinary Academy in Napa to Stanford and Cal Berkeley.

During the school year, the Boys and Girls Club works with both the San Leandro and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts to provide after-school programs at 12 school sites and serves over 1,200 children per day. For more information about the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club, call 483-5581 or visit their website at BGCSL.ORG.

CAPTION: Children from the Boys and Girls Club meet San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter, City Councilwoman Deborah Cox and City Manager Chris Zapata at their summer program.

Stepping Stones Workers Keep Downtown Beautiful PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:12

100115n2By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The downtown community benefit district has hired clients of the Stepping Stones Growth Center to help landscape downtown San Leandro in a more drought-friendly way.

Stepping Stones helps developmentally disabled adults find work. For over five years, Stepping Stones handled the street sweeping downtown, but when the special district was created, those jobs were phased out to be handled by “ambassadors” hired with the new tax money.

In 2013, the special tax district was approved by downtown property owners to form the San Leandro Improvement Association (SLIA). Property owners pay a special tax to fund these workers, and for maintenance,  security, and other programs. The tax takes in about $360,000 annually.

The Stepping Stones landscaping downtown aren’t the same employees who worked on street sweeping, but Stepping Stones is glad they are still involved in some way.

“We’re very happy to have our clients working,” said Bob Robichaud, Stepping Stones Director of Employment Services. “It’s all about finding their niche and getting the right person for the right job.”

Three Stepping Stones workers have a one-year contract with SLIA to work about 12 hours per week.

The landscape project will involve planting flowers in the dry fountains downtown that the city shut off in the wake of the drought. The Stepping Stones workers will also be planting drought-friendly plants along East 14th Street.

CAPTION: Stepping Stones workers Shalamar Barrett, Gino Vincigerra and Eduardo Franco water the flowers they planted in downtown San Leandro.




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