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EBMUD Orders Water Cutbacks, Raising Rates PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:52

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PHOTO COURTESY OF EBMUD

EBMUD Ranger Supervisor Mark Bolton examines Camanche Reservoir's dry lakebed. Comanche is EBMUD's largest Sierra reservoir and is at 27 percent of capacity. All of EBMUD's reservoirs are currently at half full. However, the district estimates that they could be down to one-third of average by the end of summer.

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

On Tuesday, the EBMUD board of directors declared a “Stage 4 critical drought,” requiring mandatory cutbacks of 20 percent from all 1.3 million of its customers.

The new water restrictions will likely come with 25 percent rate increases, according to EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa. The rate increase is to buy 11 billion gallons of government-owned water from the Sacramento River.

The EBMUD board will be voting on a surcharge to pay for the Sacramento River water in June and it is being paid for through budget reserves until then.

If the surcharge is approved, the average user’s monthly water bill will go up by about $12 to about $49. The people that use the most could see their bill go up by over $100, according to EBMUD.

All this comes on the heels of a general 20 percent EBMUD rate increase that has been implemented over the past two years.

The district is now requiring all residents to use at least 20 percent less water each month, based off their 2013 levels. The average residential use is 246 gallons per day.

The board also approved penalties aimed at the highest 2 percent of water users. Pending a public hearing on April 28, customers in the highest 2 percent of water users could face penalties of up to $2 per unit (750 gallons) that exceeds the mandatory 20 percent reduction.

EBMUD has seven reservoirs, and the two largest – Pardee and Camanche – are at about half of their average amount of water for this time of year. The district estimates that that could be down to one-third of average by the end of the summer.

Figueroa says they have simply not gotten enough rain for too long. Water in EBMUD storage had declined each of the past four years, and only 1977 had a smaller amount of water stored at the end of the water year than is estimated for the end of this water year.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the EBMUD board set up outdoor watering restrictions. Previously, people could only water two days a week and that still stands, but now people cannot water between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

There can also be no watering 48 hours after measurable rain. The board also approved fines of up to $3,000 for those caught stealing from or misusing fire hydrants.

If approved, the changes in price will start showing up on water bills in July.

 

 
PREP Grads Grateful for a New Life PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:46

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PHOTOS BY JIM KNOWLES

PREP staff member Eunice Feathers hands a diploma to David Hughes at the graduation ceremony at Humanist Hall in Oakland.

By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Class valedictorian Ronald Broach stepped up to the podium and looked around the room at all the people staring up at him.

“Oh, my God,” Broach said. “This is the biggest crowd I’ve spoken to since my sentencing.”

Broach is now gainfully employed, as are all 11 of the graduates who got their diplomas at the Partners in Reentry Employment Program (PREP) on March 31.

PREP is a job-training program for people convicted of non-violent crimes who have been released from prison, funded through Assembly Bill 109 prison realignment money to break the cycle of recidivism.

All 11 graduates who completed the program now have full-time jobs and they all spoke at the ceremony at Humanist Hall in downtown Oakland. The jobs they’ve landed are in several occupations – plumbing, manufacturing, one is a worker at Tesla and another grad is a chef at the San Francisco Academy of Sciences.

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson spoke earlier in the ceremony and he reminded the audience of the parable of when the Pharisees tried trip up Jesus on a trick question, and Jesus replied, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Carson said he got into trouble when he was a kid and was caught and handcuffed. A man who he didn’t know came along and offered a deal, he could go to jail or he could go to this man’s program. Through that program, Carson said, he learned about politics and became what he is today.

Carson told the graduates they all took a major step to get back into society.

“You stepped up through the challenges you had to get to where you are now,” Carson said.

Other speakers also said these graduates can be mentors to young people in trouble. “We need you who’ve had that experience to say, ‘Hey, man, that ain’t cool.’”

Another speaker said, “Because the only thing a hard head will listen to is another hard head.”

041615n3Broach said he was in a “criminal justice system typhoon” and developed a self-defeatist attitude. He was referred to the Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) program that helps poor and homeless people become self sufficient, working in their Clean Streets Program.

Now Broach is a BOSS residential counselor and makes regular presentations to the Alameda County Probation Department.

Broach said he thanked God for making all this possible, and the support of his family, as he pointed out his wife Jasmine, nieces, nephews and everybody who came to his graduation.

Several of the graduates also thanked their probation officers who were in attendance.

Broach, who could possibly have a career in public speaking, added, “I’ve never been in a room with six probation officers and didn’t get arrested.”

One of the speakers recalled a famous quotation, that success isn’t measured by the position you hold, but the obstacles you had to overcome.

The PREP program takes three months of successfully holding a job and then you  become a PREP graduate. But you’re still part of the program, because if you lose your job, PREP will help you find another.

PREP graduate Gregory Armstrong said he thought he was out of luck but his probation officer had a plan mapped out for him.

“PREP is one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life,” Armstrong said.

CAPTION: Ronald Broach posed for photos with his wife Jasmine after his graduation at the PREP program.


 
Officer Ed Tracey Dies of Cancer PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:44

041615n2By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Captain Edward Tracey of the San Leandro police died Tuesday night with his family by his side after a battle with cancer.

Tracey, 45, had been in law enforcement for over 25 years, serving with the Union City, BART, and Oakland police departments before joining the San Leandro police in 2012.

Born in Hong Kong, Tracey and his family immigrated to the United States and he became a citizen in 1981. He graduated from James Logan High and Cal State East Bay with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Continuing his law enforcement studies, Tracey got a master’s degree and also graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Tracey’s coworker and friend Lt. Robert McManus met Tracey when they were in the police academy together. McManus said that Tracey was dedicated to his community.

“He was great man, a good friend, and he loved being a police officer,” McManus said.

Tracey commanded the Support Services and Operations departments during his time with the SLPD. He oversaw several programs, notably the body cameras that officers began wearing in 2014.

Last December, Tracey started “Santa on Motors,” where officers escorted Santa Claus around San Leandro, meeting with underprivileged families and delivering gifts.

San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli said in a written statement that Tracey was a vital and well-respected part of the department.

“Ed’s passing will leave an irreplaceable  void in the leadership ranks in the department,” said Spagnoli. “He will be missed by many whose hearts he touched within the department, city and community.  He implemented many programs and services which will continue to play an integral role in the lasting legacy of the San Leandro Police Department. We are thankful for his service, leadership, friendship and optimistic spirit.  He will be forever missed.”

When Tracey was diagnosed with cancer, he took a leave of absence for treatment. He then came back to work until the cancer returned, staying active until earlier this month.

“That really tells you how dedicated he was,” said McManus. “He was there until he just could no longer be there. That tells you how he felt about his community and his job.”

A public memorial service for Captain Tracey is currently being planned.

 

 
Man Crashes His Car into a Light Pole on San Leandro Boulevard PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:39

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PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES

Three people were injured last Wednesday, when a driver veered out of his lane and hit a light pole on San Leandro Boulevard.

A driver ran his car into a light pole last week near the BART tracks, a one-car crash that injured himself and his passengers.

On April 8 at around 5:20 p.m., a 1996 Geo Prism driven by a 60-year-old San Leandro man collided with a light pole at the intersection of San Leandro Boulevard and Castro Street

The car sustained major front end damage and was towed from the scene.

The driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and he was not given a citation for the accident, according to Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police.

Also in the car were two passengers, a man and a woman, also in their 60s.

All three sustained minor injuries and were transported to area hospital by ambulance for treatment.

Neither the driver nor the passengers could say why he suddenly veered off the road as he drove southbound.

The pole was checked out and later determined to be safe, McManus said.

 

 
Man Crashes Car into Clarke St. Shop PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:37

041615n6An elderly man drove his car into a collectibles shop on the 1500 block of Clarke Street Saturday morning, receiving moderate injuries.

The 76-year-old driver collided with the building at around 8:15 a.m., according to the Alameda County Fire Department. When emergency responders arrived, they found the car almost entirely inside the building.

Firefighters found the man unconscious inside the vehicle and transported him to the hospital.

The building wasn’t occupied at the time of the crash and no one else was injured.

A rescue dog searched the building because a number of boxes were toppled by the car, so they wanted to make sure no one else was inside, according to ACFD spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.

A building inspector arrived and restricted further entry into the building. PG&E shut off the power to the building and San Leandro police determined the crash was accidental.

 

 
Host an Exchange Student from Spain this Summer PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:34

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Last year’s exchange students visited Twin Peaks overlooking San Francisco.

A group of exchange students from Spain are coming to the Bay Area this summer and 12 more host families are needed.

The students will stay for four weeks, arriving on June 27 and departing on July 25. The students range in age from 13 to 17 and will have their own spending money and insurance.

The students speak English and want to experience life in an American home. It’s not necessary to speak Spanish to be a host family.

The 25 students in the group will go on three excursions each week to Great America, Alcatraz, an Oakland A’s game, and other attractions. The excursions are all paid for by the program, as well as their ground transportation.

Host families are welcome to join the students on any of the excursions at a discounted rate. Host families are just asked to provide the student with their own bed.

There will be an orientation where you can meet other host families before the students arrival.

To be a host family or for more information on this cultural experience, call Jan Garcia at 749-7061 or 301-0779.

 

 
Teen Hang-Outs to Pop Up this Summer PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:33

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

There will be a few new cool places for San Leandro teens to hang out this sumer – the city announced the creation of a “pop-up teen center” program that will run June through August.

A new event will “pop up” at a different location around town each Wednesday night from June 24 to August 12.

The city calls it the “Teen Takeover” and they’ll be taking over different city and school facilities including Farrelly Pool and the Main Library on certain evenings throughout the summer.

Teens can sign up on the city’s website to get notifications about the activities, but they won’t be announced until a day or two before they happen in order to keep up some mystique, according to Breyana Riggsbee, the city’s recreation and human services director.

“Because the city doesn’t have a teen center, we thought that it would be a good idea to use the facilities we do have around town and have an opportunity for teen there,” said Riggsbee.

Activities are all free and geared to teens age 13 to 17.

Riggsbee said that activities will include movie night, pool parties, video games, art, technology, sports, and music to appeal to all of San Leandro’s young people.

The city has had summer programs for teens before and they always had a waiting list, so Riggsbee says that they anticipate a big turnout for this new program.

The city is spending about $9,000 on staffing, snacks, and supplies for the “Teen Takeover.”

Anyone interested can check out the city’s website, www.sanleandro.org, to sign up to get notifications about the pop-ups via texts, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 
Old Post Office Razed PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:30

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PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES

Bulldozers leveled the old San Lorenzo Post Office last week near Hesperian Boulevard and Paseo Grande. The property will become the site of a new apartment building for seniors. The new San Lorenzo Post Office is in the shopping center a block away at 15808 Hesperian Blvd.


 

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