Why Water May Taste a Little Different PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:15
The Sobrante Water Treatment Plant in El Sobrante is one of five EBMUD treatment plants in the East Bay.

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

San Leandro’s water may taste or smell different in the coming weeks, as algae begins to bloom over the summer in East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) reservoirs.

San Leandro residents get water from the Upper San Leandro Reservoir, which still has enough from local runoff and the Sacramento River to support customer demand in this city. But as the weather warms up, algae often blooms in the Upper San Leandro Reservoir.

“Usually our treatment plant down there can treat the taste and odor compounds but it’s possible this year there may be a more pronounced or longer change noted by customers because we’re running the treatment plant at Upper San Leandro at a higher rate than normal because we’re filling the reservoir with more Sacramento River water than usual because of the drought,” said EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa.

Figueroa said the smell and taste of the water might change a little.

“It isn’t good or bad, just different, like when you travel to a new city and you’re not used to their tap water,” said Figueroa.

Other EBMUD customers are already tasting water that has been treated for algae.

Most years, the EBMUD water supply comes from snow runoff from the Mokelumne River watershed, which is then stored in the Pardee and Camanche reservoirs in the Sierra. But supplies there are low – about half of average –  as the state is in the middle of its fourth year of drought.

EBMUD is required by law to preserve the deeper, colder water sitting in the Pardee reservoir for release later in the fall in order to preserve conditions for returning salmon. That means they are pumping water now that is closer to the surface, which is more sunlit and so has more algae.

The water is treated and safe, but about two-thirds of the utility’s 1.3 million customers started getting the Pardee water last week and may already be noticing a slight difference in taste, according to EMBUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa.

This year, the drought forced the utility to buy $4 million per month worth of federally-owned water from the Sacramento River.  The purchase of that water will likely result in a 25 percent surcharge for customers, which is being voted on by the EBMUD board in June. It’s being paid for by reserves in the interim.

Airport Workers Caught in Smuggling Ring PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:49

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Three baggage handlers – including one San Leandro man – are accused of smuggling marijuana from the Oakland airport with the help of accomplices who were passengers on flights.

A dozen people were charged by federal prosecutors Monday for transporting duffel bags full of marijuana via the Oakland airport. The operation ran from July 2012 to this March, authorities said.

The baggage handlers, who all worked for Southwest Airlines, have been charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, according to the United States Department of Justice.

Baggage handlers Kenneth Wayne Fleming, 32, of San Leandro and Ramon Mayfield, 34, and Michael Videau, 28, both from Oakland are being held without bail at the county jail in Oakland.

Authorities said that the men would use their security clearance to enter the terminals with baggage filled with marijuana and hand it off to accomplice passengers who had already gone through the security checkpoints.

Officials believe Castro Valley resident Sophia West, 44; Dublin resident Kameron Davis, 26; Hayward resident Francisco Carrasco, 29; and Oakland residents Major Session, 24, Clyde Jamerson, 41, Ronnell Molton, 34, all ferried the drugs on flights all over the county.

At least three other people are under suspicion of involvement because money from the sale of the marijuana was deposited in their accounts.

The federal prosecutor also said that  Mayfield shipped drugs as cargo on flights by using his employee privileges.

In a written statement, Oakland airport officials said they will be enhancing their employee security protocols. They have something called the “Insider Threat Task Force” designed to prevent security breaches by staff.

The airport says a new personal bag limitation for workers will be implemented, there will be increased dog baggage patrols, and more detailed background checks will be performed on employees.


Youths, Police Talk at Forum in Hayward PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:46



Members of the public, including many minority teens, dropped in an an all-day community/ law enforcement summit at Mt. Eden High last Saturday.

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

There is a serious divide between minority youth and police that needs to rectified and communication is the key –  that was the take-away from an all-day community/law enforcement summit in Hayward last Saturday.

Representatives from the NAACP, local churches, schools, and more than a dozen East Bay police forces including the Alameda County Sheriff’s department and the San Leandro police, gathered at Mt. Eden High School to discuss how friction between law enforcement and the public can be minimized.

“I think the problem is it’s an ‘us-versus-them’ thing,” said James Bradley, a high school student at the forum. “I don’t trust cops, really. I don’t think most people my age do.”

It was a repeated notion at the summit that police officers should be part of the community, talking and interacting with the public – not just coming into contact with them in as part of a crime investigation.

It’s a nationwide problem, getting more attention in the wake of the spate of recent deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of police.

At an address on police militarization Monday, President Obama said that when police are militarized, the public can perceive them as being more of an “occupying force” than a service to the public.

A clip from a Chris Rock stand up comedy routine was shown. The comic joked that one way for black kids to avoid trouble with cops is to make sure to have a white friend.

“That’s a joke, but there’s truth to it,” said Ty Davis, a youth group leader. “There is a difference between the way African American youths are treated and the way other groups are treated. I don’t think anyone should be afraid of the police, but we know police represent power and I think what these kids are afraid of is the abuse of that power.”

Davis, who is black, said that he is a graduate of UC Berkeley with no criminal record and that he was once stopped by a police officer and pulled out of his car.

“Believe me, when she pulled me out of that car, she didn’t ask me where I went to school or what my major was, she just told me I looked suspicious,” Davis said.

One Hayward police officer said that when incidents like the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray occur, they tarnish the reputation of police everywhere even though most officers have good intentions.

“While these incidents are totally terrible, it’s a few bad apples out of the millions of officers out there who are doing their best,” he said.

Another officer pointed out that those controversial deaths did not happen in the Bay Area, prompting a member of the audience to shout “What about Oscar Grant?”

A probation officer reminded people, especially teens, that they also have a role to play in improving relations with law enforcement.

“I do believe we need to make connections and relationships with our young people,” she said. “In actuality, you have got to rally for yourself. You can be empowered to make positive changes in the community and gain the knowledge to make the changes.”


Neighbors to Host Yard Sale for Wyatt PDF  | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:43

052115n2A group of neighbors are holding a garage sale this weekend that will benefit the family of 3-year-old Wyatt Norell who is diagnosed with an incurable illness, called DIPG.

Friends of Wyatt’s grandma Allison Jones of San Leandro who call themselves Wyatt’s Warriors are holding the sale on Saturday through Monday, May 23, 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 15672 Elko Ct. in Washington Manor. All the proceeds will go to the Norell family.

They will have furniture, a refrigerator, antiques, household items, camping equipment, men’s and women’s suits, children’s items, clothes, leather coats, a fire pit, a wedding dress and much more.

All items are in very good to excellent condition.

Wyatt was 2 and a half when he was diagnosed last year with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a tumor in the brain stem that can’t be surgically removed. It’s always diagnosed as terminal. Radiation reduced the tumor from the size of a lemon to the size of a grape.

“The relief is only temporary, though, because the tumor always comes back,” said Lisa Benson, a member of the group putting on the garage sale. “When it returns it’s very aggressive.”

The latest MRI has shown that the tumor is showing progression and the doctor gives Wyatt 3 months. He’s lost his ability to chew and swallow and can’t walk without assistance.

Wyatt’s comfort now is his dad, his blanket, and his dog by his side. His dad is his sole provider and he is taking time off work to be with Wyatt.

There is also a website that will accept donations at and go to “Warrior Donations, Wyatt N.”

CAPTION: Three-year-old Wyatt Norell was diagnosed with an incurable tumor in his brain stem.


Bojorquez Named New Safeway Manager PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 14:42

Safeway has promoted Carlos Bojorquez to manager of its store at 555 Floresta Blvd. in San Leandro, the company announced this week.

Bojorquez has risen through the Safeway ranks as utility clerk to assistant store manager to relief store manager.

He enjoys working with people and the opportunity to meet new customers every day. Away from work, Bojorquez likes to slow down and enjoy his family.

“We’re very proud and honored to help professionals like Carlos grow and succeed in their Safeway careers,” said Safeway Northern California Division President Tom Schwilke.

Safeway is now part of AB Acquisition LLC, one of the world’s largest food and drug retailers with 2,200 stores in 34 states. The company is privately owned by a consortium led by Cerberus Capital Management.




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