Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:48
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
Anyone driving on I-880 can’t miss that enormous metal and glass facility that has been under construction for years.
Thankfully construction is almost over and now the new Kaiser Permanente hospital is set to open its doors this June, and the doctors’ offices that are connected to the hospital opened this week.
The doctors offices are in a four-story building at 2500 Merced Street, which opened for business Monday morning, a milestone in a years-long process of bringing the new facility to San Leandro, according to Tom Hanenburg, Senior Vice President and Area Manager of Kaiser.
Hanenburg spoke to the newspaper over the telephone this week, while Kaiser public relations specialist Jessie Mangaliman stayed on the line.
The new office building will be home to over 100 doctors and other care providers in fields ranging from pediatrics to orthopedics.
The hospital itself is set to open on June 3, four months earlier that originally planned. It’s a six-story facility with 216 beds, an emergency room, 10 operating rooms, and a labor and delivery department. For a more personal touch, all rooms come with a pullout guest bed so family members can stay overnight.
“It’s quite an impressive facility,” said Hanenburg. “It’s totally state-of the-art but it’s also warm and welcoming. There will be a sense of compassion and care and a devotion to our focus on total wellness.”
The new San Leandro facility is part of $2 billion worth of new construction for Kaiser, just in the Bay Area this year, along with new facilities in Oakland (opening in July) and Redwood City (opening in December).
New Kaiser facilities are opening in the next year or so all over the country, including new hospitals in Victorville, San Rafael, San Diego, and Denver.
Kaiser Hayward to Close When New Hospital Opens
The San Leandro hospital opening will mean closing down large portions of their Hayward medical facilities, which prompted protest from nurses last year. But Hanenburg said that moving to San Leandro will not mean any compromise in care.
Hanenburg added that they are expanding their Hayward Sleepy Hollow officers to include a new urgent care center and outpatient pharmacy, in addition to the medical services that are already there in Hayward, including a teen clinic, imaging center, and immunization clinic.
Kaiser paid the city a $3.1 million “community impact” fee at the start of construction, which went to improvements to I-880 and Marina Boulevard. The city will not collect property taxes from the hospital because it is a non-profit, but will collect about $140,000 in revenue form the site annually from utility users’ tax, franchise fees, and sales tax.
City Manager Chris Zapata said that he was excited about the hospital opening, an event which has been nearly a decade in the works.
“This project has been in the making for some time,” said Zapata. “An investment of this magnitude is something the city has always been wanting to embrace. It has been wonderful to behold and yet the true benefits are still to be seen.”
Zapata acknowledged that traffic on I-880 and Marina Boulevard often got messy during construction, but said no pain, no gain.
“Traffic is always a concern, but think of it like a short-term problem for a long term benefit,” Zapata said.
Zapata added that he can’t wait to check out the hospital once it opens its doors this June.
“It’s like a Christmas present, I’m waiting until it’s unwrapped.”
CAPTION: The new hospital by the I-880 freeway is “warm and welcoming,” according to Kaiser public relations specialists.
PHOTO BY AMY SYLVESTRI
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:45
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
The Inner Wheel Club of San Leandro is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The national charitable organization spun off from the Rotary Club – that club didn’t allow women until 1989 – and Inner Wheel was originally designed to appeal to the wives and daughters of Rotary members.
These days, both clubs welcome both genders, but the Inner Wheel San Leandro remains largely female, with nearly 50 women from San Leandro, Castro Valley and surrounding East Bay cities. They will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on April 26.
Among the Inner Wheel Club’s efforts include raising money for the Myoelectric Limb Project - a special type of prothesis that can allow amputees to control their limbs via their muscles for more natural movement.
Club President Susan Hollister says that the club loves doing charity, particularly close to home.
The club also gathers to assemble what they call “rape kare kits” which are given to victims of sexual assault in the hospital and include food, toiletries, and a change of clothing.
“That’s really our focus, to help people on a personal level,” said Hollister. “We are a bunch of different people from different backgrounds. There’s everybody from age 35 to 85 in the club.”
Four of the club’s original members, Lola Chase, Virginia Gibbs, Mary Tarpley, and Alice DeVaul are still active in the origination today.
‘It’s something we do to make someone in a terrible situation feel cleaner, feel more like themselves,” said Hollister. She estimates that the club has given out over 700 kits over the last eight years, most made possible with the support of an anonymous donor.
The club also does charity work at Children’s’ Hospital Oakland, San Leandro’s Building Future for Women and Children, the George Mark Home, and the San Leandro Boys and Girls Club.
The Inner Wheel Club is open to anyone interested in serving, Hollister says. They meet once a month at the Englander to discuss their projects.
“We are just a group of great friends doing good works,” said Hollister. “We try to work at the community level to make changes at a national level.”
If anyone is interested in becoming a member of Inner Wheel San Leandro, contact Hollister at
CAPTION: Posing for a photo are Inner Wheel members JoAnn Cornelius, Pat Duey, Sandy Aragon, Jeanetta Arenot, Isabel Polvorosa, and Lola Chase with Myoelectric Limb recipient Jaide Bucher and her mom Denis Bucher.
PHOTO COURTESY OF INNER WHEEL
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:44
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
Caltrans will be moving traffic from the old Marina Boulevard overpass to the new overpass this week, so the northbound I-880 Marina on-ramp will be closed through Friday morning at 5 a.m.
Westbound Marina Boulevard will reduced to one lane until that time. The closure began Tuesday evening and backed up traffic on Marina all the way to Washington Avenue on Wednesday.
Once the new bridge is done, there will be two lanes of traffic in each direction and this configuration will remain until the construction on the new overpass is complete later this year, according to Caltrans.
When the northbound I-880 off-ramp reopens Friday morning, it will be realigned, so drivers should look out for the changes.
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:41
By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times
Jason Appezzato wouldn’t miss the Stepping Stones Growth Center’s annual Walk/Run on April 26 at the San Leandro Marina for anything.
The 12th Annual Every Step Counts Walk/Run is open to everybody and it’s an important fundraiser for Stepping Stones, the center on MacArthur Boulevard in San Leandro for adults with disabilities.
To Appezzato, the run and the Stepping Stones program have made all the difference – in becoming healthy and self-sufficient.
“My brothers are great runners and they inspired me to get out and run,” Appezzato said. “And my doctor told me to lose weight.”
The Alameda resident followed through on the running and says he feels much healthier today. He also plays a variety of sports in the Special Olympics program – softball, tennis and bowling at Mel’s Bowl.
It’s not only the fitness, Appezzato’s job at the Safeway on Bay Farm Island came via Stepping Stones. He took classes and learned job skills at the program’s center in San Leandro.
He started working in Stepping Stones “Clean Sweep” program, cleaning yards, and in the “Boat Works,” cleaning boats at the San Leanrdo Marina. Now he’s been a Safeway courtesy clerk for seven years – bagging, sweeping, collecting carts and helping customers to their cars.
“I love it,” Appezzato said. “I’ve made a lot of friends there. The cashiers are nice and all the staff are nice.”
Photos of Appezzato and his brothers adorn the living room at the family home in Alameda – including pictures of one brother on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Both brothers are in the navy, one is an F-18 pilot, the other stationed in Naples, Italy.
Appezzato’s dad, Ralph, was once the mayor of Alameda.
His mom, Marilyn, was just preparing to leave for her volunteer job at a hospital.
“Both his brothers are very close to Jason,” said Marylin Appezzato.
Appezzato carries that friendliness everywhere he goes – at his job, sports, or the annual walk/run at the Marina, he always mentions the friends he makes.
Stepping Stones has around 400 clients, and about half are out in the community like Jason, said Stepping Stones interim director Marcia Hodges.
Companies like Safeway are happy to have employees like Jason, and they know the employees will have support and will be successful, Hodges said.
The other half of the clients are in the day program at the center on MacArthur, learning job skills. And the independent living staff goes to clients homes to help them live on their own.
“They teach them how to do laundry, banking, pay the rent and get groceries, and navigate public transit – services that clients can take advantage of so they can be a part of everyday society,” Hodges said.
A good portion of Stepping Stones funds come from the government, but not enough to fully fund it. So the annual walk/run is an important fundraiser, she said.
The 12th Annual Every Step Counts Walk/Run at the San Leandro Marina will be on Saturday, April 26. It’s a 1-mile walk, or a 5k run.
The pre-Walk/Run check-in and day-of registration is at 7:30 a.m.
The opening ceremony and walk/run begins at 8:30 a.m.
Post walk/run activities and closing ceremony at 10 a.m.
You can register on the day of the race, or beforehand by going to the Stepping Stones Growth Center’s website (www.steppingstonesgrowth.org) and clicking on the 12th Annual Run/Walk graphic at the top of the page. The cost is $30 per person, or $75 for a family.
CAPTION: Stepping Stones client Jason Appezzato took up running and now he’s entering the annual walk/run for the fifth consecutive year.
PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:39
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
The San Leandro City Council presented the Boys and Girls Club with a $15,000 chick to help them get hooked up to the broadband data loop – the multi-million dollar Lit San Leandro project that the city is pinning its hopes on to attract technology businesses.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Boys and Girls Club Treasurer Bob Duey accepted the check, thanking the city for helping the club, which gives kids positive activities to do after school. The club has been active in San Leandro since the 1940s.
“This is an amazing gesture of support,” said Duey. “To say our computers are slow is an understatement.”
Duey said that the kids in the club can use 45 computers for educational opportunities each afternoon.
“This is really an amazing benefit for our children,” Duey said. “This is going to open so many doors.”
The money to hook up various businesses and organizations to the loop comes from the city’s commercial incentive program for broadband connection, said City Manager Chris Zapata.
City’s Facade Fund Being Used for Technology Improvements, Too
That fund is part of the city’s general fund and used to be called the facade improvement fund.
That money used to go to help business fix up there signs and storefronts, but the city now thinks the money should also be used to help business improve on the tech front in addition to sprucing up the look of stores.
There is about $150,000 in the fund for both broadband and facade improvements annually, Zapata said. He says they’ve never turned down a business who wants help in hooking up.
The process is like connecting a home to a water line out in the street, Zapata said. The money goes to providing the infrastructure to tap into the line.
The money is used both as an incentive to attract new business to town and as a way to improve existing businesses and organizations that are vital to San Leandro, Zapata said.
One of the next big goals for the city is getting all the schools hooked up to the data loop, according to the city manager.
“The Boys and Girls Club is good for San Leandro, so getting them on the data loop is something we encourage,” Zapata said. “There is a tremendous deal of promise in the data loop and creating opportunities for businesses and non-profits helps us ensure that promise is realized.”
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:39
Gladys Peshout, a resident of Carlton Plaza in San Leandro, recently celebrated a major milestone birthday by travlleing to Disneyland and appearing on a hit daytime talk show. Peshout, who is one of the oldest residents at Calrton Plaza, was featured on The View in honor of her 103rd birthday along with fellow centarians from all over the country. She got a private tour of the famous theme park and met all of the show’s hosts, including Whoopi Goldberg, pictured above with Peshout.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VERONICA PAVLAKIS
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:35
Soroptimist International of the East Bay gave out two scholarship awards at their business meeting in March at the Englander Restaurant in San Leandro.
Katie Neff received a check for $1,000 as the “Violet Richardson” awardee for her outstanding volunteer work for the Oakland Zoo.
Katie saw the need for increased awareness of environmental issues and recruited 30 classmates at Castro Valley High to aid in circulating information about the global enviornment.
Katie has been accepted to UC Berkeley. The club enthusiastically supports her conservation efforts.
Maxina Ventura received a check for $1,000 for the “Women’s Opportunity Award” to use to further her education in the holistic studies, ultimately supporting her efforts to obtain a bachelor of integrative health degree.
As a single mom supporting a family of four, the club applauds Maxina for her efforts and wishes her success.
CAPTION: Katie Neff, left, receives her $1,000 scholarship from members Lynn Levin and Margot Roache-Green, at the recent Soroptimist awards meeting.