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‘Next Generation Dunkin’ set for grand opening in San Carlos

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'Next Generation Dunkin' set for grand opening in San Carlos

A “Next Generation Dunkin'” is opening Wednesday at 240 El Camino Real in San Carlos.

Calling it the Dunkin’ “store of the future,” the new shop will have “innovative new features such as a cold beverage tap system and a sleek new interior design,” the company said on social media. The company, which last month announced a rebranding from Dunkin’ Donuts to simply Dunkin’, has been opening dozens of next generation coffee shops this year.

“Doors open at 5 a.m., and the first person in line will receive a $150 Dunkin’ gift card, with the second and third guests in line receiving a $50 gift card each,” according to an eventbrite for the grand opening.

A ribbon-cutting will occur at 8 a.m., and there will also be free food and beverage samples, special giveaways to the first 100 people in line, and an appearance from Dunkin’s mascot Cuppy. Dunkin’ will also donate to the San Carlos Education Foundation as part of the event.

The store will open seven days a week, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Menu items include specialty coffees, espresso, sandwiches, and baked goods, including donuts.

Photo credit: Twitter @DunkinNorCal

Redwood City intends to transition to district-based elections

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In response to the threat of costly legal action, the Redwood City council on Monday unanimously announced its intent to transition from an at-large elections system to a district-based elections system.

As first reported last month by Climate Magazine columnist Mark Simon, Redwood City recently joined a long list of state jurisdictions in receiving a letter from the law firm Shenkman & Hughes alleging that its current system of at-large elections discriminates against minority voters and candidates.

While at-large elections allow voters of the entire city to elect the seven councilmembers, a district-based system has voters voting solely for the councilmember who resides in and aims to represent their particular district of the city.

In the letter to Redwood City officials, Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman said the at-large system violates the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) of 2001. His letter threatened litigation if Redwood City did not voluntarily switch to district-based elections.

In its report to council, Redwood City staff did not defend the at-large election system. Rather, staff advised that challenging the legal threat would likely be costly and unsuccessful.

According to a staff report, “the threshold to establish liability under the CVRA is extremely low, and prevailing CVRA plaintiffs are guaranteed to recover their attorneys’ fees and costs. As a result, every governmental defendant that has challenged the conversion to by-district elections under the CVRA has either lost in court or settled/agreed to change its election system and been forced to pay at least some portion of the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs.”

When the City of Palmdale attempted to defend its at-large council election system in court, it was forced to pay $4.7 million in plaintiff’s legal fees, not counting nearly $2 million in legal defense fees. Santa Barbara, Whittier, Anaheim and Modesto incurred legal fees of between $600,000 and $3 million in settling such challenges, staff said.

“All of these cases ended with those cities adopting by-district elections,” the staff report says.

Locally, seven jurisdictions have either chosen to adopt district elections or are preparing to do so, including Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, South San Francisco, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and two local school districts. Santa Clara was court-ordered to implement district elections even though voters in the city rejected such a system in June.

Proposals by Redwood City staff include reducing council seats from seven to six under a district-based elections system, with the mayor’s position elected in at-large system. Other alternatives include red “ranked choice voting,” “cumulative voting” and “from district” elections formats, according to the staff report.

Should council approve the transition to district elections, public hearings will be held to seek input on drafting district maps. The conversion to district elections is expected to cost Redwood City about $175,000.

Freewheel Brewing Company hosting stand-up comedy hour Thursday night

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Freewheel Brewing Company hosting hour of stand-up comedy Thursday night

What’s so funny about Redwood City?

Well, you can find out for yourself on Thursday night.  From 8 p.m. to 9, settle in for an hour of stand-up comedy at Freewheel Brewing Company, 3736 Florence Street (and since it’s at Freewheel, naturally the event is also free).

They call it “Good Suds,” with local and touring comedians – and the “suds” part, that’s Freewheel’s beers.  You do have to pay for those, but if it turns out that “what’s so funny about Redwood City” is, not so much – well, at least there’s beer.

Meantime, you can take a look at Thursday night’s line-up, and refresh yourself on any of the other details, at the Good Suds Facebook page here.

Deputy honored as hero after response to domestic violence incident on Caltrain tracks

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Person struck by Caltrain at Main Street

A San Mateo County sheriff’s deputy is set to be honored as a hero this week in connection with his response to a domestic violence incident at the Belmont Caltrain station on May 31.

At the station that day, a suspect allegedly held his girlfriend over the tracks while a train was approaching — and with her 4 year old son watching, officials said. Deputy Pedro Miqueo responded to the scene, arrested the man and allegedly went above and beyond the call of duty to assist the woman and child.

This week, Miqueo is one of three people who will be recognized for heroism at the Board of Directors meetings for both Caltrain and SamTrans.

After the arrest, Miqueo treated the mother and son “with care and compassion, connecting them with crisis counselors at Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA), driving her to the child’s school when she was unable to do so herself and staying in contact with her after the incident to provide further support,” according to the transit agencies.

The deputy will be honored with an award at the Joint Powers Board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Two more heroes set to be recognized at the SamTrans board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 5. They are Hector Tagal and Jaime Gonzalez, two RediCoast vehicle operators who sprung into action when they came upon the scene of a car accident on La Honda Road in La Honda. They called 911 about an overturned car containing an unconscious driver, then proceeded to free the driver from the vehicle by the time paramedics arrived.

“A 911 dispatch officer called the RediCoast office to thank them for saving the man’s life,” according to officials.

“Our District is lucky to have a dedicated group of employees and dedicated law enforcement professionals that take their work very seriously,” said Jim Hartnett, GM and CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District. “It is of no surprise to me that, when dangerous situations come up, that they rise to the occasion and do what they can to keep the public safe.”

Redwood City police deploying pedestrian safety campaign in September

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Redwood City police deploying pedestrian safety campaign in September

In response to a rise in pedestrian deaths statewide and nationally, Redwood City police are urging both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of each other.

With California Pedestrian Safety Month falling in September, the Redwood City Police Department is partnering with the California Office of Traffic Safety on a “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor” campaign seeking to reduce pedestrian deaths, which have increased statewide by nearly 33 percent since 2012. In 2016, 867 pedestrians were killed and more than 14,000 were injured on California roadways alone, according to data provided by Redwood City police.

In September, police intend to identify trouble spots in the community and to deploy a public campaign that features pedestrians clad in body armor made from car parts. The campaign aims to remind drivers and pedestrians alike of the need to be aware of one another.

“Whether you are walking or driving, there is a shared responsibility when it comes to looking out for one another,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said in a statement.

Police offered these tips for peds and drivers:

• Be obvious and predictable, crossing at crosswalks or intersections only, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
• Make eye contact with drivers; never assume a driver sees you.
• Look left-right-left before you step into the crosswalk: having a green light or the “WALK” signal does not mean it is safe to cross.
• Look for cars backing up, including white backup lights or signs the vehicle is running. Don’t dart out between parked cars.
• Avoid distractions. Don’t walk and use your phone at the same time.
• Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.

• Be alert for pedestrians, especially at intersections and crosswalks where they have the right of way.
• Put down the cell phone and just drive.
• Use extra caution when backing up. Look for bicyclists or pedestrians who may be approaching.
• Be patient and courteous. Wait for pedestrians to cross street or intersection before proceeding.

Mystery surrounds Redwood City Kaiser patient’s missing wedding ring

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The family of a man dying from cancer at Redwood City Kaiser Hospital says his wedding ring went missing inside the hospital, according to a report from ABC7 Bay Area.

Bill Halvorsen, who earned a Purple Heart while serving in Vietnam, was later a firefighter and has been married to Penny Halvorsen for 47 years, “never took off his wedding ring,” the news station reported.

Family members were confused when they noticed the ring missing from his finger on Saturday morning, and his son Pete says it had to have been taken off. “There’s no way it had accidentally fallen off,” he told ABC7.

The family wonders if hospital staff removed the ring. A hospital spokesperson told ABC7 Bay Area that the ring has yet to be found after an extensive search of the rooms where he was treated and trash bins. The hospital staff even consulted the linen supplier and interviewed all staff members who worked with the patient.

The traditional gold band is inscribed on the inside with Bill and Penny and 12/11/1971, according to the news report.

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