Community support spares Richmond after-school programs

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/22/2009 - 3:35pm

After-school programs that were forced to close or reduce services at three Richmond elementaries in early March are serving hundreds of students once again thanks to donations from businesses and a nonprofit organization.

The Greenbrae-based Irene S. Scully Family Foundation, Chevron Richmond Refinery and Kaiser Permanente collectively have ponied up $126,000 to keep after-school programs open at Nystrom and Lincoln elementaries through the end of the school year and prevent reduction of the program at Coronado Elementary.


Bay Trail advocates sue state, Chevron over public access at refinery

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/22/2009 - 12:18pm

The battle to build a public path at the Chevron Richmond refinery has shifted to the courts.

Trail advocates are suing the California State Lands Commission and Chevron, saying the parties failed to provide public access at the refinery in exchange for the oil giant's lease of state land that is closed to residents.


Richmond holds town hall meeting on housing crisis

Submitted by Staff on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 2:14pm

In an effort to offer assistance and guidance to the thousands of residents who reportedly have been kicked out of their homes or are currently facing foreclosure, a housing crisis town hall meeting was held Thursday at St. Mark’s Church in Richmond.

Owners demand relief in face of packing it up

Submitted by Staff on Sun, 03/22/2009 - 10:00pm
Contra Costa Times

RICHMOND — On maps showing foreclosed homes in Richmond and San Pablo, the crowded dots look like a giant smudge suffocating Irene Garcia's neighborhood.

Closer up, the dots representing foreclosed homes are more discernible, but they portray a neighborhood in trouble. One is across the street. Another around the block. The next, she said, could be hers.


Richmond hopes to protect 5 miles of wetlands

Submitted by News Desk on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 10:47am

The north Richmond shoreline has seen its share of blasts and explosions - from the dynamite factory, shooting range, oil refinery and a century of political fireworks.

But negotiations are under way to make the 5-mile stretch of wetlands - among the last undeveloped swaths of San Francisco Bay shoreline - a much quieter, calmer place.

Developers, city officials and park advocates are working to transform three parcels of private property into permanent open space, most likely part of the Eastshore State Park.

"We see it as inevitable, let me put it that way," said Robert Cheasty, former Albany mayor and head of Citizens for East Shore Parks. "People are finally getting it. They're seeing what this space can be. It's going to happen."

The land, a marsh that's home to egrets, herons and 15 threatened species, stretches from the West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill, just north of the Chevron oil refinery, to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. The Richmond Rod and Gun Club occupies the southern portion, and the rest is zoned for light industrial uses. The Giant Powder Co., which made dynamite, and the town of Giant, both now vanished, once occupied the northern end.

Richmond plans threaten Point Isabel

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 11:25pm

RICHMOND'S PLANNING Commission voted to rezone Point Isabel to accommodate a Kohl's department store with 400 parking spaces. Local developer Oliver Construction, who owns the land, has already vacated the stores and offices on the corner of Central Avenue and Rydin Road. There is constant traffic from Costco and USPS trucks. The dog-park lots are often full. Hundreds of people daily use the area for hiking, cycling, dog walking and bird watching. There are thousands during weekends.

Once a crime magnet, Richmond neighborhood changing

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/12/2009 - 12:34pm

Battered old cars used to roll slow past Nevin Park, every inch dusty except for the gleaming new rims. When the sun went down — or any time, really — tired women dressed too skimpy for the weather peeked out from under dingy awnings.Richmond

The usual crowd sipped from bagged bottles, or leaned through the windows of scrapers stopped in the middle of the street, while homeless from the shelter down the block shuffled past.

John Spradlin, who manages the last surviving restaurant off Richmond's lower Macdonald Avenue, once regarded his stretch of Fourth Street as "a kind of barometer for crime" in the city. And the cinderblock facade of La Perla Mexican Deli did occupy a space in the backdrop of innumerable street crimes over the years, in the heart of the Iron Triangle neighborhood.

But not so much any more.

Reports of serious crime fell more than 15 percent in Richmond in 2008 from the previous year, evidence of persistent community effort, attentive policing and recent government emphasis on rebuilding the city's urban core. Nowhere does that change seem more palpable than the once-infamous corner of Fourth and Macdonald.



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