News
The First Day Of School for CV Triplets | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 14:38

 

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This set of triplets started Kindergarten at Independent Elementary School yesterday. Parents Eric and Taranda Irving stand behind Taray, Cire’, and Eric Jr. (from left to right). The children, ready with their backpacks in front of their Five Canyons home, will be  in three different classrooms.


By Linda Sandsmark
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

Most parents deal with separation anxiety when their children start school, but for one Castro Valley family the separation goes three ways.

Eric and Taranda Irving are sending their five-year-old triplets off to Kindergarten, which will be a big step for the close siblings.

“Our trio is going solo,” says Taranda. “They were born together, shared a crib as newborns, played, learned and grew together. Now we are getting them accustomed to being separate, as they are entering three different Kindergarten classes.”

Dad Eric adds that he hopes starting school in separate classrooms will help the children to develop their individuality.

Boys Eric Jr. and Taray (named after Taranda) and their sister Ciré (which is Eric spelled backwards) are heading to Independent Elementary School, and they’re already excited about what they’ve seen there.

“I like the toys,” says Eric Jr.

“I like my new teacher and classroom,” says Taray.

“I like everything,” says Ciré.

This engaging trio is the picture of health and energy. However, as is often the case with multiple births, their early days were a bit more difficult. Taray weighed 3.6 pounds, Eric Jr. 3.15 pounds, and Ciré 3.16 pounds at birth.

They spent their first six weeks in the hospital, but luckily were free of any major health conditions.

The family, which includes a 22-year-old brother and a 20-year-old cousin, resides in Five Canyons.

Since they were two years old the triplets have attended Bright World Preschool in Castro Valley, and the family is active in the Revelation Christian Fellowship church in San Leandro.

Taranda’s mother, Aretha Barrow, has been on hand to help since the children were born. The family credits this support system with helping them make it thus far.

Now as the triplets launch out into the bigger world, their parents look forward to the beginning of this next phase of life.

“We’re really interested to watch them start branching out, and excited to see how they’ll do on their own,” says Taranda.

 

 

 
Subdivision Discussion Is Delayed | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 14:33

 

MAC MEETING

 

By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council held a brief meeting Monday night, opting to put off the discussion of an 18-home development at 4659 Proctor Road.

Because of the absence of board member Cheryl Miraglia, the board chose to continue the discussion at a meeting in September.

The Alameda County planning staff has recommended approval of the subdivision, but needs an OK from the MAC.

The site is currently empty and applicant Hue Tran wants to divide it into 18 lots for single family homes.

While approving the project, the Alameda County Fire Department rated the area as a “very high fire hazard severity zone” and said that precautions with vegetation will need to be taken. East Bay Municipal Utility District, CV San, and other entities have also approved the plan.

There was no public comment at the meeting, but opponents of the project were present.

Wayne Mindle lives on Sorani Way, which borders the proposed site. He has led a charge to make his neighbors aware of the development, going door-to-door and posting signs of his own around the area in addition to the notices sent out by the county.

Mindle says that he and his neighbors are concerned about traffic, property values, and other issues if the development goes as planned. He has been to several MAC meetings over the past year and a half and plans to keep doing so at future meetings.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, the board gave unanimous approval to a homeowner asking to build an addition to his property at 17218 President Drive by converting a one-car garage into another bedroom and creating a new garage space.

“I think it is a nice addition to the home and a nice addition to the neighborhood,” said MAC Chair Marc Crawford.

 

 

 

 

 
CVHS Senior is the Top Yo-Yo-er in the World | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 14:24

 

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Tessa Piccillo performing her winning routine at the 2014 World Yo Yo Contest in Prague earlier this month.


By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

When Tessa Piccillo catches up with her friends at school this week, she’ll have an interesting story about how she spent her summer vacation.

Piccillo, 17, traveled to Prague earlier this month, where she won first place in the 2014 World Yo-Yo Contest.

The Castro Valley High School senior first took up the hobby in 2009, encouraged by her dad. She said she learned the basics by studying talented yo-yo artists online and then adapted her own tricks.

“My dad had an old yo-yo and then I played with it and looked online for tips, and watched YouTube,” said Piccillo. “Eventually I found this huge community.”

She choreographed her winning routine herself and the whole thing was set to music, as carefully coordinated as an ice skater’s or a dancer’s routine.

Trick after trick earned her a score of 80.4, besting the second place contestant, Poland’s Julia Gutowska and third place winner Corli du Toit of South Africa.

There were over 300 male and female contestants at the championships. The first place male winner was also from Northern California – Gentry Stein of Chico.

Piccillo’s yo-yos aren’t the type that you’d find at the dollar store. She uses a special kind – with a ball bearing – to do the flips, twists, bounces, and other complicated maneuvers that won her the world championship.

In the Czech Republic contest, she was judged on the precision of her moves, showmanship, and rareness and difficulty of tricks. She says she doesn’t really have a signature move – she just tries to perfect tricks and show off the best version possible.

Piccillo practices a bit each day, but clocks in two hours of practice daily before an important competition. At the world championship, she took home about 3,000 Czech Crowns (about $150) and a trophy.

In her spare time at school, Piccillo runs track and cross-country for the Trojans. Her yo-yoing efforts are sponsored by YoYoJam, Inc., a Georgia company.

Even as she finishes up her high school education and looks forward to college, Piccillo says she plans to keep yo-yoing. “It’s something that I really enjoy and something I hope to have in my life for a long time.”

Next year’s World Championship will be held in Tokyo.

 

 
Longtime Castro Valley Charity To Close at the End of the Month | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 22 December 2014 16:07

 

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The Michael Guidotti Center on Almeda Street in Castro Valley, headquarters for CARH, Inc., will cease its operations next week.

 

By Fred Zehnder
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

A noted Castro Valley one-of-a-kind charity that has served thousands of handicapped people since 1972 will close its doors at the end of next week.

CARH, Inc. announced that it is shutting down its recycled clothing operation and its one-acre complex on Almeda Street next Friday, Aug. 29, a victim of mounting – and often aggressive – competition.

Executive Director Cathy Giouzelis told the Forum that, over the past couple of years, 18 or 19 for-profit businesses had sprung up in Castro Valley, collecting clothes and household items that are sold overseas. Finally, CARH was no longer able to compete.

Well-known for its mailed, brightly-colored cards for use in identifying curbside clothing donations, CARH had seen both a decrease in those donations and an increase in thefts of items that were left on sidewalks for pick up.

Last week, Giouzelis had the sad task of laying off six of her staff members, retaining only one to help close down the operation. CARH’s current 1,500 clients will now have to seek assistance from other agencies.

In a letter of thanks to CARH’s donors and supporters, Giouzelis said the organization “has struggled for the last few years to sustain our household recycling program, but times have changed. As difficult as this is, it is time for CARH to cease its used clothing and household items collection efforts ... with the hope that we come back at a later date.”

The nonprofit CARH (an acronym for Care, Advancement, Respect and Hope) was started by Leo Guidotti and his wife Barbara after the birth of their special-needs child 42 years ago.

Concerned about the loneliness their son Michael would almost certainly face without his own community, they began an organization that eventually served thousands of clients who enjoyed a social calendar that included dances, picnics, movies and summer camps.

CARH also provided financial assistance for such basic needs as wheelchairs, eyeglasses and special beds.

The Michael Guidotti Center is now for sale.

 

 

 
Monthly PG&E Bills To Jump | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 22 December 2014 16:06

 

Bills Will Go Up by $7.50 This Fall

 

The California Public Utilities Commission last week approved rate increases for PG&E’s customers beginning this fall with additional increases over the next couple of years.

Customers will see an average increase of $4.50 on their gas bills next month, and about $3 more on their electricity bill in October.

While cutting the utility’s original request by $700 million, the commission cited PG&E’s need for additional money to provide safe and reliable electric and gas service through 2016.

“This was not a ‘business as usual’ rate case,” said CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio. “Consistent with our renewed focus on safety, the CPUC approached this rate case very differently from those in the past by integrating a heightened evaluation of safety, risk assessment, and accountability.

“The amount we authorized is intended to provide the necessary revenue for the maintenance, replacement, and improvement of PG&E’s aging infrastructure, and for the operation of the utility system in a manner that provides safe, affordable, and reliable service to PG&E’s customers,” Florio said.

Rates will rise again next year and again in 1016 as a result of Thursday’s CPUC decision.

 

 

 
EBMUD Announces Mandatory Water Restrictions | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 22 December 2014 16:03

 

By Jim Knowles
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

Conserving water during the drought isn’t just a suggestion anymore.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District announced mandatory water restrictions last week for outdoor water use. Local utilities are required to do this after the state Water Resources Control Board told the districts to prohibit certain kinds of outdoor water use.

Mainly, the restrictions just mean to conserve water – pretty much what EBMUD customers have been doing since earlier this year.

“We had asked people to restrict water as a suggestion, and now it’s a requirement by the state,” said EBMUD spokeswoman Nelsy Rodriguez.

The mandatory restrictions mean EBMUD customers must:

• Limit watering of outdoor landscapes to two times per week maximum.

• Prevent excess runoff when watering landscapes.

• Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles.

• Use a broom or air blower, not water, to clean hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks, except as needed for health and safety purposes.

• Turn off any fountain or decorative water feature unless the water is recirculated.

EBMUD isn’t going to fine customers who ignore the restrictions.

“We’ve found in past droughts that the carrot works better than the stick,” said EBMUD board of directors president Andy Katz in a written statement.

Since EBMUD customers were asked in February to voluntarily cut back water use by 10 percent, customers have followed through with a 10.7 percent reduction in water use, according to the utility district.

The state water board and EBMUD board believe the restrictions are necessary now because there is no telling when the drought will end, no guarantee that this upcoming winter won’t be another dry one.

Most customers should be able to meet the 10 percent voluntary cutback by abiding by the new outdoor water use restrictions, fixing household leaks or installing water-efficient fixture and landscaping. Additional water saving tips and ideas can be found at www.ebmud.com/watersmart.

“Just save as much as you can, because we don’t know when the drought will end,” EBMUD’s Rodriguez said.

 

 

 
Transaction Coordinators Keep Sales on Track | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 14:16

 

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Canyon Garbage Service Extended For Three Months | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 24 November 2014 17:12

 

A standing-room-only crowd packed the library Monday evening to discuss the future of trash collection in the Canyonlands.

That area includes some of Castro Valley’s more isolated and high-end homes in the eastern part of town.

Currently, Waste Management picks up that trash, but that company did not send representatives to the Monday Municipal Advisory Council meeting.

Trouble began last June, when Waste Management of Alameda County (WMAC) announced that it would be nearly tripling rates in the Canyonlands, citing the fact that many homes are on narrow out-of-the-way roads and difficult to serve. The average customer has a 32 gallon can and the monthly rate was set to jump from $17.68 to $50 and higher for larger cans.

When residents complained, WMAC officials counter-offered a roll-back to $31.84 in July, but said they would no longer offer service in 2015.

At that point, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley began talks with the company and the public. The area, Miley concluded, is “open territory” and Waste Management was within its rights to end service.

At Monday’s meeting, Miley said that WMAC has, as a courtesy, extended the current service until next March 31. But the essential problem remains to be solved.

Miley said the Supervisors would like to see the Canyonlands annexed into the Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan), which could then contract with a trash collector. That could mean Canyonland residents would pay a different and possibly higher rate until 2019, when the current CVSan-WMAC contract ends and a new blanket rate could be established.

CVSan General Manager Roland Williams said the district is looking at other haulers and they are always trying to better service to customers and could leverage the more than 18,000 other District clients to get the best deal.

Annexation would take at least three months, including the opportunity for a mail-in protest vote. The costs of annexation and a new garbage contract are possibly months from a decision, but WMAC’s cut-off date at the end of March still looms.

The issue will come before the MAC again in February.

 


 
Fate Still Uncertain Of Course | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 November 2014 15:47

 

WILLOW PARK

 

The long term fate of Castro Valley’s Willow Park Golf Course and Events Center remained as cloudy as today’s skies following Monday’s meeting of the liaison committee for the two districts involved. 

The 1,200-acre golf course property is owned by the East Bay Municipal Utility District and is leased by the East Bay Regional Park District, whose master lease expires at the end of the month.

A representative from EBMUD told the committee that the lease between the two agencies would not be ready to evaluate until mid-2015.

A 50-year lease by the current operator is also expiring and the only two bids from golf-course operators received to date have been rejected, according to Jim O’Connor, assistant general manager of the park district.

A new request for proposals will be released sometime next year. Until then, the park district has contracted a month-to-month lease with Touchstone, a golf-management company, as interim operator.

Steve Falzone, president of the Willow Park Golf Club, emphasized to the committee the importance for Castro Valley to have a place to hold events. He said the closing of the restaurant and events center, which Touchstone is not involved with, would hurt the entire community.

If those facilities remained closed for six months, it is feared that they would have to go through a full County review, a process that can take a long time. And bringing old buildings up to meet current codes can be costly and slow.

Cliff Sherwood, speaking as a member of the community, said he felt the golf course and event center should be operated by local interests, noting that one of the rejected bids was from a local business.

Falzone and others who attended the meeting were critical of the park district’s lack of communications with both the current lesee and the public.

 


 
EBMUD Meeting Next Wednesday at CV Library | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 November 2014 16:15

 

The East Bay Municipal Utility District has scheduled a meeting for next week in Castro Valley to discuss the need for mandatory water rationing and increased water rates in 2015 should the drought persist or worsen.

The meeting will get underway at 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 19, at the Library, where district officials will announce their latest plan of attack if it doesn’t rain much during the rest of this month and December.

The water agency bought a 5-billion gallon emergency supply of water from the Sacramento River back in April without raising rates to consumers. But if another purchase is necessary this winter, it will come with a temporary 14% surcharge until the district recoups its costs. The EBMUD board will consider buying the supplemental water supply on Dec. 9.

The proposed drought rates are part of a four-stage plan that includes increasing surcharges of 14%, 20% and 25% on customer’s volume charges, and a proposed excessive-use penalty of $2 per unit over 60 monthly units (about 44,000 gallons per month) in stage 4 of the drought. Very low water users would receive a credit.

Interpretive services in Spanish and Chinese will be available at next Wednesday’s meeting. For more information, visit www.ebmud.com or call 1-866-403-2683.

 


 
Longtime Castro Valley Charity To Close at the End of the Month | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 12 September 2014 15:02

 

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The Michael Guidotti Center on Almeda Street in Castro Valley, headquarters for CARH, Inc., will cease its operations next week.

 

By Fred Zehnder
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

 

A noted Castro Valley one-of-a-kind charity that has served thousands of handicapped people since 1972 will close its doors at the end of next week.

CARH, Inc. announced that it is shutting down its recycled clothing operation and its one-acre complex on Almeda Street next Friday, Aug. 29, a victim of mounting – and often aggressive – competition.

Executive Director Cathy Giouzelis told the Forum that, over the past couple of years, 18 or 19 for-profit businesses had sprung up in Castro Valley, collecting clothes and household items that are sold overseas. Finally, CARH was no longer able to compete.

Well-known for its mailed, brightly-colored cards for use in identifying curbside clothing donations, CARH had seen both a decrease in those donations and an increase in thefts of items that were left on sidewalks for pick up.

Last week, Giouzelis had the sad task of laying off six of her staff members, retaining only one to help close down the operation. CARH’s current 1,500 clients will now have to seek assistance from other agencies.

In a letter of thanks to CARH’s donors and supporters, Giouzelis said the organization “has struggled for the last few years to sustain our household recycling program, but times have changed. As difficult as this is, it is time for CARH to cease its used clothing and household items collection efforts ... with the hope that we come back at a later date.”

The nonprofit CARH (an acronym for Care, Advancement, Respect and Hope) was started by Leo Guidotti and his wife Barbara after the birth of their special-needs child 42 years ago.

Concerned about the loneliness their son Michael would almost certainly face without his own community, they began an organization that eventually served thousands of clients who enjoyed a social calendar that included dances, picnics, movies and summer camps.

CARH also provided financial assistance for such basic needs as wheelchairs, eyeglasses and special beds.

The Michael Guidotti Center is now for sale.

 

 

 
Monthly PG&E Bills To Jump | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 12 September 2014 14:59

 

Bills Will Go Up by $7.50 This Fall

 

The California Public Utilities Commission last week approved rate increases for PG&E’s customers beginning this fall with additional increases over the next couple of years.

Customers will see an average increase of $4.50 on their gas bills next month, and about $3 more on their electricity bill in October.

While cutting the utility’s original request by $700 million, the commission cited PG&E’s need for additional money to provide safe and reliable electric and gas service through 2016.

“This was not a ‘business as usual’ rate case,” said CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio. “Consistent with our renewed focus on safety, the CPUC approached this rate case very differently from those in the past by integrating a heightened evaluation of safety, risk assessment, and accountability.

“The amount we authorized is intended to provide the necessary revenue for the maintenance, replacement, and improvement of PG&E’s aging infrastructure, and for the operation of the utility system in a manner that provides safe, affordable, and reliable service to PG&E’s customers,” Florio said.

Rates will rise again next year and again in 1016 as a result of Thursday’s CPUC decision.

 


 

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