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Graduates Urged to ‘Remember the Good Times’ at CVHS
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 10:05
Some 700 seniors heard the nostalgic strains of the “Pomp and Circumstance March” as they received their diplomas last Tuesday evening at Castro Valley High School’s Trojan Stadium.

By Amy Sylvestri


The Castro Valley High Class of 2015 graduated last Tuesday as proud parents and friends looked on from the packed stands at Trojan Stadium.

Some 700 students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, flip their tassels, and take the next exciting step in their lives.

The CVHS band and orchestra played “Pomp and Circumstance” and the choir sang a medley of popular tunes to entertain the crowd.

Student body president Jenna Sparks said she was proud to have represented her fellow students during their senior year.

“The Class of 2015 is a diverse group of capable students,” said Sparks. “Our class is the future and Castro Valley High prepared us for the world out there.”

Sparks said she was looking out at a crowd of future doctors, teachers, and engineers and that the possibilities in front of them were endless.

“We should all be grateful that our paths crossed here,” said Sparks.

The students were congratulated by retiring superintendent Jim Negri, school board president John Barbieri, and CVHS Principal Blaine Torpey.

In their speeches, honor students Stephanie Huerta and Hannah YeEun Tak encouraged their fellow students to remember the good times at CVHS and to go out into the world with the confidence to accomplish anything.

It would have proved difficult for a single class valedictorian to give a speech, as over 90 students in the Class of 2015 received “highest honors” – a grade point average of 4.0 or higher. (Advanced placement classes are on a scale with an “A” being a 5.0 so the GPA can surpass what once was considered the perfect 4.0.)

Nearly 150 students had averages of 3.5 or higher, proving that the Class of 2015 made the most of their studies at CVHS.

Skate Park Dedicated to Harry Francis
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:35


Family members join Mary Ann Francis Saturday morning at the official unveiling of the Harry R. Francis Skate Park sign at Castro Valley’s Adobe Park.



The Harry R. Francis Skate Park was dedicated Saturday morning, named for the man who helped make it possible.

Harry Francis, who passed away in 2012, was remembered during the ceremony as a person who found countless ways to volunteer and serve the community.

A Castro Valley resident from 1947 on, he ran a furniture refinishing business which allowed him the flexibility to help out with school, scouting, church, and community groups. He was appointed to the Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District (HARD) board and was elected to the Castro Valley Sanitary (CVSAN) District Board of Directors.

When a constituent suggested establishing a skate park, Harry liked the idea and worked tirelessly to make it a reality. It required many meetings with HARD, school district and community members to balance the needs of all parties involved. The resulting skate park is popular with kids and adults alike.

In addition to his work at HARD and CVSan, Harry had been an Alameda County Fire Commissioner, member of the Hayward Area Historical Society, and PTA president for Baywood, Strobridge, and Hayward high schools. In his off hours, he fished and camped, played senior softball, coached little league, and was active in his church. A dedicated family man, he had three children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren with his wife Mary Ann.

“It is quite an honor to our family to have a park in his name,” says  Mary Ann. “He worked hard for this community and he loved what he did.”

Free Recycled Water a Popular Commodity at Nearby Station
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 06:09
FREE RECYCLED WATER: Residents of Castro Valley and throughout the East Bay are using all kinds of vehicles and containers to stock up on recycled water for their yards.

By Linda Sandsmark
During the drought, the Dublin San Ramon Services District is offering free recycled water to area residents, not just its own customers. The filling station – just off I-680 near Stoneridge Drive – isn’t far from Castro Valley.

“We made a decision to approach this problem as a region, and so far it’s been very effective,” says Renee Olsen, Community Affairs Specialist for the district. “You do not have to be our customer. We all depend on the same sources for water, so our fill station can be used by any residents.”

While this station isn’t for commercial users, the district does have a separate filling station for them.

The recycled water, according to the district’s website, is wastewater that’s been through three levels of treatment and then disinfected with ultraviolet light to meet strict state standards.

It is suitable for watering trees, gardens, vegetables and lawns, or to wash cars, outdoor furniture, and hard surfaces such as paths and windows.

It should not be used for cooking, drinking, bathing, filling pools, spas or children’s water toys.

Due to the high volume of traffic, residents must bring, fill, and lift their own leak-proof containers. The minimum container size is one gallon, and the maximum size load is 300 gallons. Customers may return as often as they like.

People who want to take advantage of the free water need to complete a Residential Recycled Water Use Application and Agreement, which can be downloaded, printed and signed in advance. New customers are signed up only during certain hours, so they can be trained on how to use the filling equipment.

Residents should keep in mind that water is heavy — over eight pounds per gallon, so customers must plan accordingly for both lifting and transporting the water.

“We encourage people to check our website. The most up-to-date information is there, including the special hours for new customers. This is a very busy station, and we want residents to have as much information as possible in advance,” says Olsen.

More about the program is available at and at the DSRSD website:

Parvin Ahmadi Named CV School Superintendent
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 06:11
Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi will join the Castro Valley School District on July 1.
The Castro Valley School Board announced last Thursday that it has selected Parvin Ahmadi as the district’s next superintendent.

Ahmadi has served as superintendent of the Pleasanton School District for the past five years.

Board President John Barbieri said Ahmadi was chosen following an extensive search which included some 20 highly qualified candidates. The field was narrowed to six, and finally to two.

After in-depth interviews on their strengths and commitments, Barbieri said “we found a new superintendent who meets and surpasses” the district’s long list of qualifications.

Superintendent Ahmadi started her career in education as a teacher. After several years in classrooms in San Jose, she moved to Fremont where she served as vice principal, principal, director, and assistant superintendent for 13 years before becoming superintendent in Pleasanton.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State, a Masters in Teaching from National Louis University in Chicago, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from St. Mary’s College of California.

“I am very excited about joining a wonderful community of Board of Trustees, educators, and parents to serve and nurture students in the Castro Valley Unified School District to fulfill their dreams, aspirations, and to positively impact their community and the world,” she said in a statement.

Superintendent Ahmadi will officially start her duties in Castro Valley on July 1, replacing Jim Negri who is retiring this month after a 41-year career in education.

She and her husband are the parents of two sons.

Chanticleers’ Picnic Saturday: Take a Peek Behind the Scenes
Monday, 01 June 2015 17:31
Chanticleers Members Floyd Wayne and Georgia Lee
Have you ever wondered what that building is that’s alongside the children’s water park in the Castro Valley Community Center at Quail Ave. and Lake Chabot Road?

It’s Chanticleers, of course – a community theatre for live performances! Maybe you’ve wondered what goes on in there and what’s behind the scenery at a theatre.

Now’s your chance to find out. Chanticleers Theatre will hold its 4th Annual Open House and Audience Appreciation Picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 30.

Have a free hot dog or hamburger amd enjoy a guided tour of the theatre, including back stage where all the magic is produced (tours led every half hour, except at 12 noon).

Mingle with directors, actors, costumers, stage designers and fellow theatre-goers. Get information about upcoming plays and auditions for adults and children. You might get bitten by the theatre bug and sign up to volunteer your time.

It’s all free, so come and meet the folks who provide local performances throughout the year. Reservations aren’t required, but appreciated. Check-in at the desk in the picnic area adjacent to the theatre at 3683 Quail Avenue.

To RSVP or for more information, visit, or call 510-see-live (733-5483).

Rowell Rodeo Rounds Up a Big Crowd
Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:09
A cowboy practices for the roping event at the Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo this past weekend.

By Amy Sylvestri


A century-old Castro Valley tradition – the annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo – attracted thousands of fans last weekend to watch the more than 100 riders, ropers and assorted cowboys competing for big cash awards.

The rodeo, always held on the third weekend in May, is one of the oldest in America and is the longest continually-run rodeo in the Bay Area.

“We come every year and it’s always a lot of fun,” said Rita Cardinale. “In fact, every time we drive by this place on the freeway, my kids ask ‘Is it time for the rodeo yet?”

Brian Collier and his family made the trip from the Reno area to watch a friend compete.

“It’s one of my favorite rodeos out there,” Collier said.

The Rowell Ranch Rodeo began in the 1921 as a small show put on in Hayward by Harry Rowell, “the Rodeo King of the West.” Each spring, Longhorn cattle would be gathered for branding and local cowboys would get together to show off their rodeo skills.

A few years later, the rodeo moved to it’s current location on Dublin Canyon Road.

Rowell went on to become the director of the Bay Area’s first Grand National Rodeo, in 1941 at the Cow Palace. He was eventually inducted to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

These days, the Rowell property in Castro Valley is run by the Hayward Area Recreation District, with the stipulation that once a year its made available for that rodeo.



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