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Those before-and-after shots of your home project could win you a beautification award

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If you’ve done something to make Redwood City more beautiful this past year, or you’re thinking about it, then think about applying for the 2018 Mayor’s Beautification Awards.

Your beautification work does have to be on property you own: your house, an apartment building (if you are the owner), your business or your mobile home.

The Mayor’s awards recognize the work city residents and business owners do to make a good place to live, a beautiful place to live as well.  That work could be a nice paint job – some trees out front – a garden – a major facelift of your building.

The deadline to apply is June 30th, so even if you haven’t gotten beyond the dreaming stage yet, there is still time (just look over the rules first).  And if you need some ideas to get you started, take a look at the 2017 winners (including pictures before and after).

Here are a few basic rules:

  • You’ll need to take some pictures (before AND after).
  • It can be work you did yourself, or work you hired someone to do (so if you’re a klutz, don’t despair. Just don’t hire one).
  • And (very important), whatever beautification you do, has to be visible to the rest of us (so no walled gardens, sorry).

You can look over all the rules, or just go ahead and apply here.

Photo above, one of last year’s beautification winners, is courtesy of Redwood City.

Annual Union Cemetery Historic Site tour set for this Saturday

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We recently told you that we’re in the midst of National Historic Preservation Month, which has led to several opportunities to enjoy tours of Redwood City’s historic sites.

The next event is set for Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to noon with the annual tour of the 1895 Union Cemetery Historic Site, located at Woodside Road off El Camino Real. Sponsored by the Historic Union Cemetery Association, the tour provides history related to the Union Cemetery, which serves as a permanent archive of San Mateo County’s history, with the lives of many pioneer families and war veterans recorded on stone.

Last Saturday, an annual tour of the city’s historic downtown was held, as sponsored by the Historic Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC). Also this month, all 7th grade students from the Redwood City School District were set to take an Historic Downtown Walking Tour, an event sponsored annually by the HRAC for more than two decades.

Those unable to attend the tours can always visit the San Mateo County History Museum at 2200 Broadway, which is open Tuesday  through  Sunday, 10 a.m. to  4 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and students  and free for children ages 5 and under.

Photo and flyer courtesy of the City of Redwood City

Redwood City police focusing on seatbelt violations today

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Drivers in Redwood City better wear their seatbelts today.

The Redwood City Police Department is among 13 law enforcement agencies throughout San Mateo County participating in the San Mateo County Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP).

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, police will look to bust seatbelt violations in the area of Farm Hill Boulevard and Hopkins Avenue.

The enforcement runs in conjunction with Click It Or Ticket seatbelt safety month, which is in May, police said.

“Click It or Ticket isn’t about citations; it’s about saving lives,” police said. “In 2016, there were 10,428 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. To help prevent crash fatalities, we need to step up enforcement and crack down on those who don’t wear their seat belts.”

Photo courtesy of the Redwood City Police Department

10 Redwood City high school students win Kiwanis Club scholarships

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Ten Redwood City high school students will start their first year of college in the fall with a little help from the Kiwanis Club.

The Woodside Terrace A.M. Kiwanis Club recently announced its scholarship winners for 2018 in a Bay City News report, with a total of $14,500 going to the ten students.  The winners will be honored at the Club’s annual Scholarship Dinner, Monday, May 21.

Angela Khov was awarded the Key Club of Sequoia High scholarship.  Teresa Najera of Woodside High received the Geri Mayers Memorial Community Service Award, and Kaitlin Raynor, also a Woodside student, received the Charles and Jean Rigg Scholarship.

Clara MacAvoy and Alejandra Sanchez-Castro of Sequoia High School received Yamada Family Scholarships.

Luis Espino Cervantes, Maya Gotthard, Jessica Morales, Juan Osorio de Jesus and Laurent Sterns all received Woodside Terrace A.M. Kiwanis Achievement Awards.

The Club’s scholarship program began about 30 years, when Phil Wang, a long-time member put up $5,000 a year to help local students afford college.  Over the years, other members and club sponsors have contributed additional funds.

You can learn more about the Woodside Terrace A.M. Kiwanis, and the scholarship program here.

Shooting inside Redwood City home leads to arrest

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A non-injury shooting in a Redwood City home led to the arrest of a 46-year-old man on Saturday, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

About 6:40 p.m., deputies responded to the 500 block of Hurlingame Avenue on a report of a family disturbance and contacted a man in possession of a stolen handgun. That suspect, identified as Juan Francisco Garcia, 46, of Redwood City, was detained.

“Upon investigation, it was learned that Juan Garcia had an argument with his mother and threatened to kill himself,” sheriff’s deputies said. “Garcia fired rounds through a bedroom door where Garcia’s mother had barricaded herself for safety. When Garcia’s sister arrived, Garcia pointed the handgun at her, and threatened to kill her as well. Two minor children were also in the residence when the incident occurred. Garcia eventually put down his gun and no one was physically harmed.”

He was subsequently placed under arrest and booked into the San Mateo County Jail for the below charges:

PC 245(a)(2) – Assault with Firearm on a Person
PC 246 – Shooting in an inhabited dwelling
PC 422 – Criminal Threats
PC 417(a)(2) – Brandishing a Firearm
PC 29800(a)(1) – Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
PC 30305(a)(1) – Unlawful Possession of Ammunition
PC 273a(a) – Cruelty to Child
PC 25400(c)(2) – Possession of a Stolen Concealable Firearm
PC 236 – False Imprisonment HS
11350(a) – Possession of Cocaine
Photo courtesy of the

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Why Regional Measure 3 is a good idea

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Post: It’s a regional measure, by and for the whole region.

When it comes to regional transportation, the main problem is San Francisco Bay.

It’s in the way.

Of course, the world would be a very different place if we had heeded those Bay Area boosters in the 1950s who wanted to fill in the Bay so that Northern California could compete more effectively in size and stature with Southern California. As we always say, size isn’t everything.

The presence of the Bay is the answer to the question that comes up with some frequency by the most hardcore transit advocates: Why are there 27 (or 26 or 28, depending on how you count) transit agencies in the greater Bay Area? If there were one, the argument goes, it would be easier to use transit regionally.

That overly simplistic view (often the safe haven of the hardcore advocate) offers up a solution to a problem that is much more complicated financially, politically, and geographically.

But at the heart of the matter is a simple reality: Traffic is a regional problem with regional solutions that do not include filling in the Bay.

We all contribute to the problem, and we all have to help resolve it.

That’s why Regional Measure 3 (RM3) is on the ballot and that’s why it’s a good idea.

RM3 would raise regional bridge tolls by $1 in 2019, 2022 and 2025, and, yes, most of the money from the increased tolls will not go to improve, repair or expand bridges.

Opponents argue that the people paying the bridge toll will not benefit directly in the form of improved bridges.

Which would be an excellent argument if the people who drive across the bridges went no farther.

But they do. They go to jobs up and down the Peninsula and they are a major reason why there are traffic jams on Highway 101 at the approaches to the San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges. These are traffic jams that occur all day, every day – weekends, after normal commute hours.

In other words, it’s a regional problem. And the money will go to regional traffic relief including toll lanes on regional highways, including Highway 101, expansion of BART to San Jose, electrification of Caltrain, extension of Caltrain to downtown San Francisco, expanded ferry service and expanded regional bus service, including new express service to San Francisco being developed by SamTrans.

If we applied the same logic as the opponents, you should pay for schools only if you have children in school and you should pay for street repairs only on those streets you use.

As comedian Jim Jeffries puts it so eloquently: “We’re not animals. We live in a society.” I’m not paraphrasing here so much as I am censoring just a little.

A FEW DOTS: Some Redwood City Council colleagues were more than a little miffed when Diane Howard recently told Spectrum Magazine she would have voted against a General Plan amendment for the Harbor View project, 1.2 million square feet of office space on the old Malibu Grand Prix site. … The amendment passed 4-2, so Howard’s absence was inconsequential. … She was on a long-planned trip to Europe and she told Spectrum a vote that important should have been held when all seven council members could be there. It struck some as campaign posturing by Howard, who is up for re-election this year. … Contacted by Political Climate, Howard said that’s not quite how she meant it. She said she asked Mayor Ian Bain and city staff if the vote could be pushed back because she thought the whole council should participate in the discussion. It couldn’t, and that was that. If it was portrayed in any other way, that was inaccurate, she said. … Howard is one of two incumbents up for re-election this year, being challenged by at least four opponents, and she declined to say if she would endorse colleague Jeff Gee. “I may not endorse anyone,” Howard said. She will wait to see who else gets into the race. “Ask me in August,” she said.

Contact Mark Simon

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Climate Online.

Community invited to learn more about 1601 El Camino Real project

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Two community outreach meetings for a proposal to construct a significant mixed-use development on El Camino Real in Redwood City is set to take place Wednesday, May 16.

The meetings, which will include a project presentation, will occur at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Fox Forum, 2411 Broadway.

Currently in the beginning stages of the city’s evaluation, the project at 1601 El Camino Real — called the Beech Street Project by developer Greystar — calls for the construction of 272 multifamily residential units for rent, with 37 units set aside for low-income renters, about 589,700 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail, a 10,000 square foot child care facility and open space, according to the city.

The project will be located between El Camino Real, Maple Street, Cedar Street and Main Street. See the flyers for more information about Wednesday’s meetings.

For more details project information, click here.

Starting Tuesday, SamTrans will offer paper tickets for seniors, disabled and Medicare recipients

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Beginning Tuesday, SamTrans will offer paper tickets for sale to riders eligible for discount fares as a way to eliminate the need for exact change.

The tickets, sold at a discount in packages of 10 for $10, will be available to riders who are 65 or older, who possess a Medicare card or who have a current Disabled Person Placard Identification Card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to SamTrans.

The bright green paper tickets are good for one ride and do not have an expiration date. They can be used on all regular bus routes and carry a local-ride value. They cannot be used to purchase day passes, according to SamTrans.

The paper tickets are available at SamTrans headquarters in San Carlos, 1250 San Carlos Ave. and at most Safeway stores in San Mateo County. They can also be purchased by mail or fax using the SamTrans ticket order form.

The new paper tickets program was approved by the SamTrans Board of Directors in November 2015.

Police warn about hackers who break into garage doors

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The Redwood City Police Department is warning about hacker thieves who have “expanded their focus to many other electrical devices besides the computer” — including hacking into garage doors.

“Hackers have found that older style handheld remote garage door transmitters can be bypassed with a little bit of electrical wiring finesse,” the police department reported in its latest blog post. “Hackers can easily modify a standard door opener to accept a USB port, and software is readily available on the web to modify how it operates.”

In short, thieves can use a device that can remotely open garage doors. This ABC news report from a few years ago covered this topic.

Using rolling code technology in your garage system can help prevent this type of crime. For those without rolling code technology, police suggested these safety tips:

•While on vacation or away from home for extended periods of time, unplug the garage door opener unit or use a vacation lock on the wall console switch, which is an optional accessory on some garage door openers.

• Wireless keypads, which activate the garage door opener with a personal identification number (PIN), are available on most garage door systems. This allows family members to open the door without the use of a key or remote. Never disclose the PIN or leave it written down.

• Never leave the remote control in the car or with a parking attendant. It should be treated like a house key.

•Always lock the door from the garage to the inside of your home for greater safety and security.

•Check to make sure your garage door is closed when you lock your entry doors at night.

All Redwood City School District 4th graders taking part in Fitness Field Trip

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If you’ve got a fourth-grader in the Redwood City School District – a quick reminder for you (and your student):  don’t be late to school on May 17!

That’s Fitness Field Trip day for all fourth-graders in the district.  Kids will be at Red Morton Park, where they will each move through five different stations:  Fit Fun Yoga, Healthy Breakfast,  Re-Think Your Drink, Friendship Fitness and Tobacco Awareness.

There will be some physical activity at each station, along with learning about that particular topic.  And when your fourth-grader gets home, be sure to talk with them about what they’ve learned (maybe they will “Rate Your Breakfast” from that morning, using their new knowledge about a healthy breakfast).

And — all the kids will get lunch as part of the field trip, a healthy and nutritious lunch, of course.

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