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Castro Valley Outreach Delivers Thanksgiving Cheer
Friday, 27 November 2015 10:30
CASTRO VALLEY OUTREACH: Hundreds of volunteers helped sort and box up food for Castro Valley’s  annual Outreach program, which provides holiday food for local needy families. Sorting took place at the Mormon Church on Monday, and deliveries were made yesterday.

By Linda Sandsmark
Volunteers were in high gear Monday and Tuesday for Castro Valley Outreach’s  24th annual Thanksgiving food drive. Approximately 150 needy Castro Valley families benefit from the generosity of those who donated food, time or both.

On Monday hundreds of volunteers from schools, churches and other groups assembled at Castro Valley’s Mormon church on Seven Hills Road to sort donations and place them into delivery boxes. Each box had a list of foods to include, matching contents to family size and dietary restrictions.

Mike Blevins, a church volunteer who greeted helpers and assigned them an area in which to work, says the effort is well with it.

“It’s awesome. We’ve had a great turnout, and lots of hands make easy work,” said Blevins.

Turkeys from Costco and bread from Safeway were picked up after the boxes were packed. Ray Harris, who spearheads Castro Valley Outreach, collected fresh produce at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning to add to the boxes, which were delivered in the afternoon.

Castro Valley Outreach also holds an “Adopt a Family” food and gift drive during December. Contact Harris at 889-7743 to donate. Monetary gifts and gift cards are always welcome. CV Outreach is a 501c3 charity.

Oakland Raiders Pay Tribute to Castro Valley Veteran
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 07:40
Navy veteran R. Rex Funk, 98, was honored at Sunday’s Oakland Raiders’ game. He is a resident of Baywood Court Retirement Community in Castro Valley, and attended the game sporting his “USS Bright” Navy cap and his Raiders jacket.

By Linda Sandsmark

The Oakland Raiders honored 98-year-old Castro Valley Navy veteran R. Rex Funk at the team’s home game against Minnesota Sunday afternoon. Door-to-door limousine service and seating for four in a luxury box was included.

“We’re having celebrations all weekend,” said Funk’s daughter, Susan Gormly.

Funk’s grandson Kevin heard about the Raiders’ plans to pay tribute to veterans, and did the legwork to make sure “Grandpa Rex” was included. Funk is “an old-time fan” of the team.

Several family members flew in from out of state to join the fun, purchasing four more regular seats in addition to the four provided in the box.

Many photos of Funk were shown on the Jumbotron during the presentation honoring him.

“We all thought there would be more Veterans to be honored,” said son-in-law Mike Gormly after the ceremony. “Rex was the one they honored today. He was on the field by himself.”

Funk enlisted in 1942 and served aboard the USS Bright (DE-747) Destroyer Escort. He achieved the rank of Chief  Pharmacist’s Mate and was discharged in 1945.

Headed for Carnegie Hall!
Monday, 16 November 2015 09:21
One hundred students from Castro Valley High A Capella choir will sing at Carnegie Hall in spring 2016.  A dinner cabaret this Friday will help raise funds for the trip.

By Linda Sandsmark


Castro Valley High School’s A Capella Choir has been invited to sing at prestigious Carnegie Hall next spring — now all they have to do is raise the money to get there.

Some 100 students in the school’s choirs have signed up to make the journey at a cost of $1,800 per person. Once they arrive on the east coast they will be directed by master conductor Dr. Jamie Spillane, joining other top high school choral groups in a “mass choir” performance.

In addition, Castro Valley students will also be featured in a two-song spotlight performance directed by their teacher Laryssa Sadoway.

Performing at Carnegie Hall is quite an honor.  Two years ago, Sadoway was able to bring the choir to Seattle for a WorldStrides Heritage performance, where they received a Gold Medal rating. That led to the invitation to Carnegie, which is good for two years.

“Carnegie is the most prestigious concert hall in the country,” says Sadoway. “The greatest performers from this nation and around the world have performed there.

“This will be a wonderful experience for the students, and it’s a lot of work, but we have a great group of parents helping us and lots of community support. We realize the trip to Carnegie will be expensive, but it will be really, really worth it for them.”

To help pay their way, this Friday the group is hosting a Choir Cabaret Dinner Theatre performance in the high school cafeteria, featuring catered gourmet Mac and Cheese from Homeroom restaurant.

Friday’s Cabaret, which runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m., will include Broadway numbers by choir members, drawings for prizes, and a chance to help these deserving students make their dream trip a reality. The performance is likely to sell out, so advance ticket purchase is recommended.

Anyone wishing to purchase tickets for Friday’s Cabaret ($25 for adults, $20 for students), may do so online at The choir  also has more concerts scheduled for December and fund-raisers in upcoming months to support the trip.

To read more about the choir or to make a donation, visit Donations may also be mailed to the Music Parents’ Society of Castro Valley, P.O. Box 2146, Castro Valley 94546.  Please notate that the donation is for the Carnegie Hall trip.  The Music Parents’ Society is a 501( c )3  not-for-profit organization.

End May Be Near for Chabot Gun Range
Wednesday, 04 November 2015 12:02


The Chabot Gun Range at Anthony Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley is the only area within the East Bay Regional Park District that allows firearms.



The Chabot Gun Club may be forced to close its doors if the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) doesn’t extend its lease, which is set to expire next month.

The gun range has been in business in Anthony Chabot Regional Park for over 50 years. Its lease first expired last Dec. 31, but the district opted to give them a one-year extension which will expire on New Year’s Eve, according to Carolyn Jones, EBRPD spokeswoman.

The year was supposed to give the district time to look into several factors such as noise complaints, the cost of environmental clean up from lead shot pollution into soil near the range, and public outreach.

More than 4,000 signatures requesting the closure of the range have been collected online. The Sierra Club and the Audubon Society have also spoken out, encouraging the parks district to not renew the lease.

But the range has its supporters too, and Chabot Gun Club president Dennis Staats says the club is an asset to Castro Valley and beyond.

The range offers public facilities for rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooting and also trap shooting fields.

Staats says the gun club is legally compliant with sound, water, and lead reclamation standards and is not discharging lead into Lake Chabot.

The park district estimates that clean-up costs for the lead, and improvements for the aging buildings would cost upwards of $2 million.

Staats said that closing the range would mean the gun club would have no chance to contribute to any clean-up costs and the cost would just be passed along to taxpayers.

An EBRPD board meeting was held yesterday in Oakland to get public input, but no vote was scheduled.

Jones said the board has not set a date yet for the vote on the lease extension, but it will have to occur between the board’s next meeting on Nov. 17 and Dec. 31 when the lease expires.

Food Trucks OK’d by MAC
Friday, 30 October 2015 17:11
Customers line up during Food Truck Mafia visit last Tuesday.

By Amy Sylvestri


The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council gave the go-ahead Monday for food trucks to continue operating Tuesday nights at the Certified Tire parking lot on Castro Valley Boulevard, even approving an extra event on Nov. 24.

After that night, the food trucks will close up shop for the winter and the matter will go back before the MAC before the trucks come back again in February for another series of Tuesdays in the spring.

The MAC approved a permit for the trucks last August with the caveat that the issue would be looked at by the MAC again after a few weeks to make sure things were running smoothly.

Five Tuesday evening visits have taken place since September and have been a big hit, according to Bill Mulgrew of the Castro Valley / Eden Area Chamber of Commerce.

The only vocal opponents of the plan have been representatives of the Village, including owners Crosspoint Realty. They say that food truck customers spill over into their parking lot and take business away from restaurants in the Village.

The food trucks were approved Monday night  by a 5-to-1 vote, with Cheryl Miraglia dissenting as she had during the previous vote. Miraglia said she likes the idea, but being good neighbors to the Village is important.

But MAC Chair Marc Crawford said it’s the Village management who aren’t being neighborly. They have hired security to make sure food truck patrons don’t park in their lot, threatening violators with towing.

Crawford said that’s their right, but the guards are too aggressive. He said he saw one using profanity while speaking to a woman with two young children and that he himself has been accosted when checking out the food trucks.

“The security guards hassle people, that’s the biggest negative I’ve seen,” said Crawford.

Former MAC member and current county supervisor staffer Matt Turner agreed, calling the guards a “goon squad.”

One public speaker said she was afraid to park her car in the Village lot on Tuesdays even if she intends on patronizing Village shops because the guards were so off-putting.

But Crosspoint said their guards only confront people when they see them park and then leave the Village. Crosspoint also said a survey of business owners showed a dip in business on Tuesday nights.

Don Jose’s owner Jose Avelar told the MAC that his restaurant is still successful but he’s worried about the food trucks because there is only one “pie” of customer cash, and with more restaurant options nearby, he’s afraid of getting a smaller slice.

But Mulgrew said the Chamber of Commerce had also polled Village tenants and none had any major complaints.

“The community really supports the food trucks,” said Mulgrew. “It’s been a success.”

Public speaker Joann Lauer agreed, saying her family and many others make a point of staying in downtown Castro Valley on Tuesday nights for the rotating variety of food trucks.

“I think everyone would agree that Castro valley needs more food options,” said Lauer. “I can’t think of a better way to keep people in town instead of going to Hayward or Dublin.”

The MAC will continue the discussion of food trucks over the winter. While the MAC might consider moving them to a different site in town, Crawford said the current location seems like the best option.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, the MAC approved two illuminated signs for Denica’s Real Food kitchen, bringing that business one step closer to opening at the former Carrow’s building on Castro Valley Boulevard.

Heavy Duty Art Demo at Farmers’ Market Saturday
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 11:36
Castro Valley High College and Career Specialist Rich Schneck drove this steamroller over giant carved wood block to transfer ink to fabric. This technique will be demonstrated again Oct. 24 at “Art of the Heart” at the Castro Valley Farmers’ Market.

By Linda Sandsmark


A unique celebration of heart health and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) artwork is coming to Castro Valley’s Farmers’ Market in an unusual demonstration this Saturday,

“The Art of the Heart,” a free community event to celebrate both art and health, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring Castro Valley High art students who will be transferring giant Dia de los Muertos woodcut designs to cloth — using an actual steamroller.

“I was totally blown away by how well they came out,” says Castro Valley High’s College and Career Specialist, Rich Schneck, who drove a steamroller for the first time to help with the project.

CVHS students from the Drama, Art and Design Academy (DADA) and the Health and Bio-Technology Academy (HaBiT) are working together to make the event a success.

Art students will do live demonstrations of inking and pressing their huge Dia de los Muertos woodcut prints, and the HaBiT students have been training to do blood pressure checks.

In addition to the free blood pressure screenings, information on a heart-healthy lifestyle and artwork relating to Dia de los Muertos will be featured.

A total of nearly $8,000 in grant money from Kaiser Permanente  Community Benefits program, Kaiser’s Innovations program, and Castro Valley Arts Foundation is making the event possible.

The funding covers materials and renting the steamroller twice  — for the Oct. 24 event plus a trial run last week. Dozens of beautiful woodcut prints will be created and displayed throughout the course of  the day.

Art teacher Jo Sutton is delighted to participate .

“I was a printmaking major in college, so  I’m really excited to share my favorite art form with my students,” she says.

Dr. Irene Landaw, a Kaiser pediatrician and long-time Castro Valley resident, spearheaded the project. She saw a similar event while visiting her daughter at college two years ago. Since then she has volunteered countless hours to make “Art of the Heart” a reality for Castro Valley.

Dia de los Muertos is a Latin American celebration of departed ancestors. It is a festive occasion which is generally held just after Halloween.

“Art of the Heart” will be located at the Castro Valley Farmers’ Market in the BART station parking lot, Norbridge Ave. at Redwood Road.



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