Thursday, May 25, 2017

Celebration at Temple Beth Hillel in Hilltop honors service of Rabbi Dean Kertesz

RICHMOND - Temple Beth Hillel held a special celebration last month honoring Rabbi Dean Kertesz for his 10 years of service.

    Approximately 100 people attended offering tributes to Kertesz, including Michael Cohen president of the congregation and Holocaust survivor Sam Genirberg.

   The evening included a potluck dinner, numerous tributes to the rabbi, Israeli folk dancing, singing - and a Havdalah service.

    Kertesz is the son of European refugees, grew up in El Cerrito and still lives in the family home there.

    He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and joined a kibbutz in Israel for several years. He and his wife Carla Cassler have a daughter and son.

    When the post of rabbi came open in 2006, Kertesz was selected from a large field of more experienced candidates.

    "His decades of life experience, work with Jewish organizations, relaxed intelligence and desire to serve this community made him the winning candidate," a Temple Beth Hillel member said.

Cantor Fran Burgess leads students in song at the celebration

PRNC to hear updates on parking and proposed Bottoms Quarry development

   POINT RICHMOND - An update on revised plans for New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas' proposed housing project off Seacliff Drive will be considered Wednesday at the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.

     The meeting is open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the Point Richmond Community Center on Washington Avenue.
New West Homes project site

     The 270-unit project has been discussed at several PRNC meetings, including a special meeting in mid-March. At that meeting numerous Point residents asked questions about the height of the buildings, traffic impacts and safety concerns about ingress and egress for the project off Seacliff.

     Residents also questioned whether rezoning the land from recreational use to residential was the best use of the property.

    A link to the March 16 story and photos is here: Bottoms Quarry project concerns.

   The PRNC is also expected to hear a presentation by Denee Evans of the City of Richmond about proposals to redo parking and make Washington Avenue and Park Place one-way streets.

   The parking presentation will be one of the first items of business. The proposed Bottoms Quarry development is on the agenda at 8:10 p.m.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bagel brunch May 21 to feature dramatic reading of Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People'

   RICHMOND - The Sunday morning bagel brunch May 21 at Temple Beth Hillel will feature a staged reading of the famous play An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen.
     The brunch begins at 10:15 a.m. Introductory comments and the reading of the play begin at 10:30 a.m. The play will conclude at 12:30 p.m.
     The brunch and play are open the public. A $15 per person donation is suggested.
     The play will be read by the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley and directed by Bay Area's Michael Cohen, who is also president of Temple Beth Hillel.
     The play is an adaption written by Arthur Miller in 1950, an exploration of what can happen to the truth when it stands face to face against the will of the people.
    Many critics over the years have called An Enemy of The People the first ecology play.
    The protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, is an idealistic Norwegian physician. He discovers that the waters in the popular baths of his hometown are contaminated. As he attempts to warn of an environmental disaster, he is shouted down by the people, worried about their livelihoods.
    They eventually label him "an enemy of the people."
    The story is filled with historical significance and has many implications for environmental issues we face today.
    Temple Beth Hillel is located in the Hilltop area of Richmond.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New parking committee, community monitoring stations report on tap for PRNC

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will convene at 7 p.m. Wednesday to hear a long list of community reports including one on community monitoring stations presented by Aaron Winer of Veolia, the company that operates the Richmond wastewater facility.
     Winer's report will be an update about the network of six hydrogen sulfide monitors around the Point. Five are owned and managed by the City of Richmond. The sixth is owned and managed by Veolia.
    Winer will be available to answer questions at the meeting.
    There will also be discussion about establishing a new PRNC parking & transportation committee.
    The meeting will be held in the Point Richmond Community Center. The public is invited to attend.
    In addition to reports, PRNC President David Schoenthal will give a "State of the Point Address, " beginning at 7:10 p.m.

    The full agenda for the meeting - with specific times for when matters will be addressed - is below.

Friday, April 14, 2017

PRNC may establish traffic & parking committee, agrees to meet from 7-9 p.m

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council is considering establishing a special committee to review traffic and parking in The Point.
     At an April 3 meeting, PRNC board members decided to put the issue on the April 26 agenda for the full council. The proposed committee would report to the PRNC board and the community at large.
    How to join the committee and details about the committee's responsibilities are expected to be part of the discussion at the April 26 meeting.
   Traffic and parking issues have been discussed several times in recent PRNC sessions as concerns - both from the City of Richmond and residents - have been growing with the new housing developments that are likely to come on line in the next year.
    Terminal One, a 323-unit development at the south end of Dornan Drive (shown on the left in the diagram) and Shea Homes 60-unit complex at the south end of Seacliff Drive (on the right) have the green light from Richmond officials. Shea Homes is already beginning construction. Terminal One has had surveyors out for the past week.
    Traffic estimates from those two projects say there could be as many as additional 3,000 vehicle trips per-day generated, some of which will likely impact parking in the downtown business district.
   Another complex that will add to the area's traffic burden - if it wins city approval - would be the 270-unit Bottoms Quarry project proposed by New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas, Nevada. It would be built off Seacliff Drive close to Canal Boulevard.
    New West officials say they won't know how many vehicles the development will add to the traffic count until a full traffic analysis is conducted as part of the environmental impact report process.

Earlier Meeting Time for PRNC

   The PRNC board unanimously agreed this month to roll back the starting time for future PRNC meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each month.
    The new beginning time starts with the Wednesday, April 26 meeting at the Community Center in Point Richmond.
   "The board felt that starting a half-hour earlier would enable the meeting to cover the presentation and discussion of agenda items more effectively," PRNC first vice president Jordan DeStaebler said,
    "As of late there often has not been sufficient time to adequately cover topics of concern to the community."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New street striping, one-way streets - and maybe paid parking - ahead for the Point

   POINT RICHMOND - The City of Richmond is circulating a survey to area residents in conjunction with the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council, outlining three possible options for improving parking in the downtown Point Richmond business district.
Parking Kiosk
    All three involve making Park Place a one-way street. One would convert Washington Avenue into a one-way thoroughfare.
    Also under consideration - but not part of this survey - is a "paid parking pilot" program in which pay stations would be placed around the Point.
   "We already have pay stations and mobile payment in the parking lots located in downtown and the 12th Street garage," Denee Evans of the City of Richmond told The Point. They "have been effective in increasing short term, on-street parking occupancy during peak hours."
    Evans also said that with the two residential developments already approved (Terminal One and Shea Homes) - and a third 270-unit project in the city approval process - paid parking is likely needed to alleviate parking problems and congestion.
    Here is a link to a Google docs survey put out by the city:

Comments about the survey, the options, paid parking or any other parking issues can be emailed to:

Below are sketches of the options presented in the survey.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Temple Beth Hillel Passover Seder Tuesday

   POINT RICHMOND, Hilltop - Temple Beth Hillel has invited community members to join in a what it is calling a family-friendly congregational Seder Tuesday.
    This second-night-of Passover event starts at 6:30 p.m.
    Rabbi Dean Kertesz and Cantor Fran Burgess will be retelling the Passover story. There will also be the singing of holiday songs and sharing of a complete ritual meal. A vegan meal option is available.
    For non-members the price is $35 for adults, $20 for children ages 7-12 and $8 for children 3-6.
    Seating is limited so reservations are required by calling or 510-223-2560 or by following this link:
    Temple Beth Hillel is located at 801 Park Central in the Hilltop area of Richmond.