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CV Swim Center Renovation To Be Completed This Month
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 07:35
Workers can be seen working on renovations at the Castro Valley Swim Center, which will make it ADA-compliant and more energy efficient.

By Linda Sandsmark


The renovation of Castro Valley Swim Center, located on the campus of Castro Valley High School, is in full swing. Trucks, trailers and equipment can be seen by passersby through the chain-link fence, as activity continues even during rainstorms. Hayward Area Recreation Distdrict, which owns the pool, is in charge of the project.

The work began in October and included updating the center’s restrooms, locker area and lobby to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The pool mechanical room was also replaced and upgraded, with new pumps, heaters, and new energy-efficient lighting.

The renovation is funded by Measure WW, which extended a bond measure to create, preserve and expand  community and regional parks, trails, and recreation areas.

The cost for the Castro Valley Swim Center renovation project is $1.2 million. Work is expected to be completed in February.

Peggy Can Still Kick Up Her Heels as One Hundreth Birthday Approaches
Thursday, 28 January 2016 09:42
100-year-old  Peggy Kapellas of Castro Valley stays active by walking and exercising. She can still kick her legs up over her head.
By Linda Sandsmark


Peggy Kapellas of Castro Valley turns 100 next week, and still possesses an amazing combination of physical agility and humor.

“I’m a walker,” she says. “I can walk for miles. I also exercise. I lay down and do sit-ups — it helps the tummy.”

Kapellas was born in Massachusetts on February 4, 1916. She came to California with her parents when she was about five years old. Her father had been a renowned barber at  historic Filene’s Department Store in Boston, and opened his own barber shop here.

Kapellas was one of four children. She graduated from the old Hayward High campus downtown.

“I used to be pretty good at hair styling too,” she says. “But I got married instead.”

Kapellas and her husband had a daughter, Joanne, and adopted a son, Jeff. They also took in foster children. Peggy worked in retail stores and was  known as a talented singer.

“I can’t read a note, but I can harmonize. I have an ear for music,” she says.

Kapellas says her secret to a long, healthy life is to eat right and stay active physically and mentally. She doesn’t eat meat, consumes plenty of vegetables, and limits starches. But the biggest advantage comes from exercise.

“I lived near Southland Mall and got up every day at 6 a.m. to walk around it twice,” says Kapellas.

Now living at Baywood Court Retirement Center, she reads to keep her brain active. She still walks as much as possible, and when she stretches, she can still kick her leg above her head.

“It’s best to do it every day. If you stop, that’s the end of it,” she says.

Kapellas and her family plan to celebrate her 100th birthday with a party on February 4.

Castro Valley Music Video Producer Getting International Recognition
Thursday, 21 January 2016 18:01
Video producer Stacy Poulos does her editing work at Bodi’s Java coffee shop in Castro Valley.  Behind her are photos she has taken from around the world.

By Linda Sandsmark


You may not recognize her, but if you live in the East Bay you’ve probably seen Stacy Poulos’s work. Poulos is a one-woman studio, who has produced videos, photos, websites and logos for hundreds of businesses since 1984.

“I’m a behind-the-scenes person,” she says. “People don’t know who I am. But if you want a pro, I’m your girl.”

Poulos’s latest project is one of her most exciting – a music video for Canadian singer Sarah Smith. After collaborating on another video in 2014, Smith contacted Poulos to shoot a video for  “Into the Light,”  her award-winning song from the 2015  Toronto Independent Music Awards.

“I was really honored that Sarah asked me to do it,” says Poulos. “She flew in from Canada, and we shot it in Castro Valley at Bay Trees Park, at Chabot College TV studio, Cal State East Bay, and on a desolate stretch of Highway 4 in Stanislaus County. We had basically eight hours to shoot it.”

The video was released last week on Smith’s website (, YouTube, and Poulos’s website ( It  is beautiful both visually and musically.

Smith says she was “blown away” by the result. “It made me cry...I’ve been performing this song for two years and to see it turn out in a visual like that is beyond my dreams,” she says.

Poulos’s philosophy is that whatever the medium, it must tell a story and benefit her client.

“You do your job, you do it for excellence,  you take an interest in the success of your clients, and you step back and think of how to make it creative, “ she says.

Incredibly, Poulos does much of her editing work while sitting in Bodi’s Java, a Castro Valley coffee shop. That’s because she’s most comfortable in Castro Valley, having attended Vannoy Elementary, Canyon Middle, and Castro Valley High schools here. She also studied Broadcasting at Chabot College, City College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State.

She’s proud of her roots, and her ability to help local businesses.  Her documentary materials were used to help Eden Hospital get its Trauma Center and Chabot Cinema to attract major theatrical releases.

Local businesses like Kraft Foods, Knudsen’s Ice Creamery and Stacy Monroe’s Salon have used her services for years. Her customers include PG&E, Alameda County Office of Education,  Chabot College, Andronico’s Markets, the City of Dublin, and the East Bay Regional Park District.

Poulos has won many awards for her work. They are listed on her website,

For more information, contact Stacy Poulos at 538-0155, or by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MAC Hears Many Complaints About EBRPD Plans Monday
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 07:42
Marc Crawford, chair of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, addresses a crowd of some 150 concerned residents who took a field trip to the East Bay Regional Park District’s proposed construction site at the old Nike missile site in Lake Chabot Park on Monday.

By Amy Sylvestri
The East Bay Regional Park District’s plan to build new facilities at the old Nike Missile site at Lake Chabot Park is still up in the air after significant public concern was raised at Monday night’s Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) meeting and during a field trip to the site earlier that day.

The park’s district says they are listening to the public’s comments and questions about the project and need more time to consider their options. The MAC has said they cannot vet the project in its current state.

The district wants to revamp their current facilities at Lake Chabot and build some new ones, in a style their architects describe as “park rustic.”

Earlier this year the park district announced plans for a $21-million campus modernization for their facilities at the old Nike site, but there has been a public outcry, specifically about what the new construction would look like on the ridgeline, and how it would affect the park and nearby residents

The proposed construction includes rebuilding of several park department buildings including the three-story public safety headquarters for park police and fire employees, and an equipment shop.

The parks district says that the number of parks in the area have tripled since the old offices were built in the 1970s and the current facilities are “woefully inadequate,” so they need to expand.

There would also be improved lighting, parking, bathrooms, and drinking facilities for the neighboring Ten Hills Trail.

At the standing-room-only meeting at the Castro Valley Library Monday, speaker after speaker voiced their concerns on the project’s impact on wildlife, views, and trail access, among other concerns.

“The whole project is too big,” said Peter Rosen, who added that the park district’s emergency service headquarters shouldn’t be in Castro Valley.

East Bay Regional Park District Assistant General Manager Bob Nesbit said a variety of places for the new facilities had been looked at, including Oakland, Dublin, and Pleasanton, but that district officials believe Castro Valley is the most suitable and centrally located.

Speaker Beverly McManus said she works at a law firm and the lawyers there were eager to bring a lawsuit against the district if they move forward with their plans.

Speaker Helen Herzberg said she’s been hiking in the area for more than 30 years and was particularly concerns about the affects on wildlife, including foxes and bobcats.

Susan Martinek worked for the Park District for more than 25 years and also lives near Lake Chabot.

“This proposed project goes against everything I’ve ever known the park district to stand for,” said Martinek, to applause from the crowd.

The meeting followed a field trip of some 150 concerned residents to the proposed project site earlier that afternoon.

The matter will be taken up again at a future MAC meeting.

More Laws, New Fines, Costlier BART Fares All Began on Friday
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 18:36
BART fares went up by about 3 percent on Friday, with future increases scheduled for every other year. The average five-day-a-week BART commuter who rides between Castro Valley to San Francisco will pay about $2,500 in fares this year.

By Amy Sylvestri
The new year is always a time for change, but those changes aren’t always a lot of fun. So get ready for a few new rules and regulations that went into effect on Friday.

BART fares rose between 10 and 15 cents per one-way ride, depending on distance.

BART  fares jump by 3.4 percent as part of an inflation-based automatic fare increase program, with built-in fare hikes scheduled for every even-numbered year for the next several years.

These fare increases aren’t for salaries, but for such capital expenditures as improving lines and cars. BART fares were last raised in 2014 with a 5.2 percent increase.

The new fares put a trip from Castro Valley to the Embarcadero station up 30 cents to $10 round-trip, or $50 a week. So if you commute into San Francisco each work day, you’re looking at a cost of about $2,500 in 2016

Elsewhere, Alameda County is imposing mandatory food scrap recycling for people in apartments and condos.

Actually, the recycling became mandatory several months ago, but now the county is threatening fines after the first of the year for people who are non-compliant.

Requirements to collect food scraps and compostable paper separately for all businesses and institutions as well as multi-family properties with five or more units became effective Jan. 1.

Compostable paper includes cardboard, newspapers, white paper, mixed recyclable paper, recyclable glass, food and beverage containers, metal (aluminum and steel) food and beverage containers, and plastic bottles.

This law also requires separate collection of  “organics” or food scraps. The county considers “organics” to be food, food-soiled paper and plant debris. These materials will become compost – a valuable resource used by gardeners, landscapers and farmers.

The Mandatory Recycling Ordinance requires “discarded food” and “compostable paper” to be kept separate from garbage and placed in a container for organics collection in certain jurisdictions.

The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce the amount of recyclables and food scraps deposited in landfills from businesses, multi-family residences, and those who haul their own garbage. The goal is to keep scraps to less than 10 percent of material sent to landfill by 2020.

Violators of the ordinance may be subject to citations and fines of $100, $200 or $500 for first, second, or additional violations within a year. Facilities may be subject to higher fines.

And there are a slew of new laws and ordinances now in effect.

The State of California will be raising workers’ wages to $10 per hour.

A controversial vaccination law requires shots for school kids, but schools won’t vet students for vaccinations until July, just  few weeks before the 2016-2017 school year begins. The bill requires full vaccination for most children to enroll in schools.

A new senate law requires law enforcement to obtain search warrants before they can seize your emails, text messages, internet search history and other digital data.

Starting this year, Senate Bill 707 prohibits even people with permits from carrying concealed firearms on both college campuses and K-12 schools.

If you got one of those new hover-board scooters for Christmas, you might be worried about them catching on fire while their batteries are charging. Also worry about where you can ride them (no public facilities) and make sure you have a helmet and a light if it’s dark out. All riders must be over 16 and cannot under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fines could ring up to $250.

Jan. 1 also saw the establishment of the “Yellow Alert.” Like the Amber Alert, this warning will be dispatched by the California Highway Patrol. The Yellow Alert will broadcast the vehicle description of suspect cars in hit-and-run incidents.

All those rules and regulation are sure to make it a happy and fun New Year. Why aren’t you smiling?

Chabot Gun Club Lease Could End Next Week
Tuesday, 29 December 2015 16:07
The Chabot Gun Club range at Lake Chabot Park in Castro Valley.

By Amy Sylvestri


The fate of the Chabot Gun Club is still up in the air, as the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) voted to give the range a lease extension, but only under certain terms which the club has yet to agree to.

The Chabot Gun Club has operated on park district-owned land at Lake Chabot for more than 50 years. Its lease expired a year ago, on Dec. 31, 2014.

At that time, the district gave the club a one-year extension which will expire this New Year’s Eve.

At its meeting last Tuesday, the Park District board voted unanimously to give the gun club a 90-day extension with the caveat that its members submit a business plan and detail how they plan to deal with environmental clean up.

The initial one-year extension that ends next week was designed to give the district time to look into such factors as noise complaints and the cost of cleaning up the lead shot pollution in the soil near the range.

In that year, 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 park district to terminate the lease.

The Gun Club has no shortage of vocal supporters. Its president, Dennis Staats, says the club is an asset to East Bay sportsmen.

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

At Tuesday’s meeting, Staats told the board he could not say whether the club will submit the plan until he knows exactly what the district is asking for. The club also wants time for a third party to look at the pollution analysis.

Unless the gun club agrees before Dec. 31 that it will submit a plan by mid-January, the lease will be terminated on New Year’s Eve. If, however, it meets the deadline and a plan is submitted, it will continue to operate for the next three months while the Park District board comes to a decision on a possible new lease.

The annual general meeting of the gun club is scheduled for next Tuesday evening.



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