New Neighborhood Voice

Newsletter - Edition 7 - Section 2

June 1, 2003

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Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos

Holt's Restaurant

Foothill Creamery

LoMonaco's Jewelry

Reed's Sports (Old Location), Langone's
Music Store and Sheldon's Hobby Shop

 Village Western Store
and Peters' Bakery 
The View from Ed's Deck  Clifford's Drugs, Crown
Groceries and Ben
Franklin's (now CC Villa)
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Jambo Rafikis!

Report from Uganda and Kenya

By Liesl Violante

Jambo Rafikis! Luke and I are back in the land of sunny California after a 2 week safari throughout Uganda and Kenya. We traveled with 3 other couples from New Covenant Christian Center. For those of you who have purchased maps at Rafiki's Coffee Hut, you can chart our course!

We landed in Entebbe, Uganda and drove 3 hours to Jinja, Uganda where we did most of our work for the next week. This is the second largest city in Uganda, but you wouldn't know it from looking at it. It is quite rural compared to our standards of a city. We were surprised to find out as we arrived that men from local and national radio, television stations and newspapers were gathered at our hotel to meet with us for a press conference.

They were interested in our purpose there and what we endeavored to do. Kim C. Gossett, who many of you have had an opportunity to meet at Rafiki's Coffee Hut, shared with these gentlemen our beginnings in Kenya in 1984 through the present day. He shared our desire to teach people the Word of God and get Bibles to them. He expressed our desire to build an orphanage in Uganda and Kenya as well as what we do now to bring in medicines for diarrhea, stomach ailments, fever, and dental supplies, food and clothes and whatever else the Lord puts in our hands to give. God gave us great favor there and we were greatly encouraged.

The next day, we met with local city officials and shared the same purpose and vision. They promised to help us in whatever way they could.

After our meeting with them, we walked to the newly erected, local hospital where we were met with a man who was hardly alive. He was put in a back room on the floor and left to die. He was from Tanzania and had worked in the sugar cane camps in Uganda his whole life. Recently they found him out in the bush and brought him there. Because he has no family, he cannot get medicine or help. The doctors and nurses will do nothing for him. He was so emaciated from starvation and they thought him to have AIDS. We gave him some of our water to drink, prayed and helped to purchase medicine for him. The city officials and those from the press were amazed at our care for him. They had never seen "white men" come down to the most despised in their eyes to help in a way that they would not even attempt themselves. This was a great testimony of God's goodness to people and his love for them.

As a result of this, one of the men from the press conference who had a program on local radio traveled with us for the rest of our journey, even to Kenya. He came at first to see if what we said was true, and later was convinced and became committed to do whatever he could to help us. The very next day, he found a beautiful piece of land there for us to build an orphanage on. He went to Kampala, the capital of Uganda and met with the energy commissioner to set up a meeting for us. We were so blessed to hear of all that he had done and to see the land. It already has poles for electricity and pipes for running water. It is ours if we want it and the energy commissioner has promised to do all he can to get the electricity going for us there. Now, we will believe for the money to purchase it and begin to build if God wills.

The next few days were filled with meetings and teachings in the Bible with the ladies and men, feeding those in the local area and handing out the supplies we came to give. The doors were opened for us to be on local radio twice. Men we knew from Nakuru and Bungoma, Kenya came to be with us during this time. Our hearts were knit together with all these dear people as we spent night and day with them.

After a week, we left for Siaya, Kenya. This is where it all began for us 19 years ago. Siaya is a remote bush area of Kenya near the Ugandan border. Peter Odour Juma, a good friend of Kim's and the leader of the little mud hut, thatched-roof church there welcomed us. We spent 4 days with them getting to know these dear people. We cooked with the ladies (which is an all day event for one meal due to no stoves, microwaves or refrigerators!) and had a great time. We passed out the remaining products, toys, and clothes we had left and said our "Kwaheris."

From there we traveled to Nakuru to see those we knew there, were blessed to go to Lake Nakuru National Park for a real safari, and then off to Nairobi to shop for Rafiki's Coffee Hut and then home. It was a wonderful, life-changing journey and we look forward to returning as soon as the Lord will provide for us to build.

A special thanks to all those who donated toys for the children and clothes. These were such a wonderful blessing for them.

We had a special video night at Rafiki's Coffee Hut on Sunday, May 25th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. to show our safari. African Chai Masala was served in memory of our dear brethren. May God bless you all and use your lives in great ways to touch another.

Mukama Mulungi enaku zoona! (Lugandan)
Mungu umwema wakati wote! (Swahili)
God is good all the time! (English)

Mukama abere nawe. (Lugandan)
Mungu awenanyi. (Swahili)
Ngai avokuvwo hamwe na inyui. (Kikuyu)
May the Lord be with you. (English)

Click here to see photos from our trip.

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The Sheriffs 

By Ed Allegretti

To be unexpectedly awakened in the wee hours of the morning is generally not a happy experience. Recently such an event occurred at our house. About midnight on this recent Thursday evening my wife and I were visited by a Santa Clara County deputy sheriff. When I opened the door and discovered this deputy, the first thought that came to my mind was, "What did one of the boys do?"

As it turned out, the boys did nothing. The sheriff very courteously and cautiously inquired about my identity. He wanted to know if I were Edward Allegretti of 10981 Edgemont Drive. When I confirmed this, he wanted to know if there was another Edward Allegretti, if there was anybody I allowed to use my personal identification, allowed to use my driver's license, if I had opened a chequing account in Oregon, and more. After stating no to all of these questions he was convinced that I was the true Edward Allegretti and that there was an imposter. Yes, somebody else was telling the world that he was Edward Allegretti!

It seems that a man in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, was arrested for drunk driving. He presented a driver's license and other information that identified him as Edward Allegretti of 10981 Edgemont Drive. Very fortunately these good policemen in Elk Grove had reason to suspect his identity. They contacted the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department to investigate. Of course, the best method to do this at such a late hour was to visit me at home.

Despite the loss of sleep, I truly am thankful for their diligence in investigating this matter. It is probable that this drunken driver in Elk Grove was one of the men who stole mail out of my mail box and started to assume my identity. According to the sheriff this man was one of the very few identity thieves to be captured. It will be a hassle to clean up my credit since this man also opened accounts in my name. Most people I know are glad to realize that there is indeed only one Edward Allegretti!

NNV Note: As readers of Ed's stories know, Ed and some of his relatives do seem to attract the attention of the local authorities every so often for one reason or another. More of Ed's encounters with the Sheriff will be revealed in future editions of NNV.


Car Break-In on Highland Drive

Meanwhile, during the night of May 13th, a car parked in the 16000 block of Highland Drive was broken-into. The thieves took only a pair of sunglasses. The car's owner had prudently removed her stereo face (she removes it every night). She's no longer parking her car on the street. So, as always, keep your eyes and ears open, try not to park on the street and don't leave anything of value visible through the windows.


Great Do-Able Tips for Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Abaan Abu-Shumays sent the following very timely article to NNV. We seem to have a resurgence of thefts in our neighborhood. Here's how to protect yourself as much as possible and limit the damage if you are a victim.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

The next time you order checks, have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your check book they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS number printed on your checks -- you can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc.

Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information on-line, and more.

But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do this). Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks.

The Web sites and phone numbers are:
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line):1-800-269-0271

NNV Note: Abaan Abu-Shumays and her husband Ahmad (see Lick volunteer article in Section 1) lived for many years in Country Club Heights. This spring, they moved to the Gold Country where they're having a new house built. They both unselfishly gave their time and talents to the community. They are missed!

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Alum Rock Park 

A Birder's Perspective 

By Dorothy "D.J." Johnson

NNV Note: This story links to many other Web sites where you can see photos of the birds and, in some cases, listen to their songs.  Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition.  Some of these photos may take a long time to download unless you have a broadband connection.

As an employee for The Youth Science Institute for many years I've had ample opportunity to watch the seasons come and go in Alum Rock Park. I've come to use many different criteria to differentiate between fall and winter and spring and summer. There is the level and clarity of the water in Penitencia Creek, the color of the surrounding hills, whether the Milkmaids are up on the Creek Trail, even the amount of smog in the valley. On a more professional level, it's definitely fall or spring if hundreds of kids are traveling to the park for programs at YSI. They come and go daily, different faces, different schools. I know it's summer when those faces become familiar. Every day for one week they attend our summer camps, learning about animals, geology, plants and birds. My very favorite method of marking the passage of time is by watching and listening to the movements of birds within the park.

Winter is a quiet time in the park. The resident birds and winter migrants spend most of their time hunting for food, avoiding being hunted by other animals and staying warm. This is a good time to familiarize myself with their simple chip notes and calls. As March rolls around some of the resident birds such as Common Bushtits, Oak Titmice, Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos have begun to look for nesting spots and have been singing for a month or so. This is my favorite time of year. My ears are primed for those songs that signal the arrival of the first migrants from Central and South America and Mexico. On March 8th I heard my first House Wren of the year, on March 10th the first Northern Rough-winged Swallow and the last week of March the first Black-headed Grosbeak. Every week there are new songs and new arrivals. By late April breeding season is in full swing. Orioles, Kingbirds, Verios, Buntings, Flycatchers, Swallows, Grosbeaks and Wrens are vying for territories, food and mates along with our resident birds. Common Bushtits and Chestnut-backed Chickadees have already fledged young. The dawn cacophony is tremendous. Alum Rock Park is a very busy spot with family units of Bushtits and Chickadees flowing from one tree to another, babies begging for food and parents busily hunting to satisfy their demands. Swallows are flying low over the parking lot hunting for insects and Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks are displaying in the sky. It is definitely spring!

The two birds that are the highlight of spring migration for me are the House Wren and the Black-headed Grosbeak. One is rather cryptically colored, the other is spectacular. Both have strong and beautiful songs.

The House Wren is one of four species of Wren that occupy the park at any given time. House Wrens are small chunky birds with a slightly decurved (turned down) bill and an upturned tail. They are highly territorial and possess a loud and very noticeable song. Males can be seen perched on top of the old lamp posts in the park singing their song which can be described as an "exuberant cascading of bubbling whistled notes." They are "cavity nesters" relying on woodpeckers to create their nest holes. They love to use holes excavated in the rotten wood of the old lampposts. They will also use man-made nest boxes. They use their pointed bill to pull small insects and other invertebrates off leaves and bark.

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a big colorful bird affiliated with the sparrows. It has a huge beak (hence the name Grosbeak), which it uses for cracking seeds and fruit. The males are very colorful. The head is black, the breast cinnamon with a splash of yellow. The wings and tail are black and white. Even with this wonderful array of color, they can be difficult to see. It is easier to learn their song and let them guide you to their location. The song is melodious and similar to the robin. Grosbeaks are common along Penitencia Creek in the sycamores and oaks where they build their cup-like nests and raise their young.

Two other favorites are the Bullock's and Hooded Orioles. Despite their membership in the Blackbird family, Orioles are very colorful birds. Their striking color, direct manner of flight and pointed insect-eating bills make them fairly easy to identify. They are very popular with the backyard birders among us as they love fruit and nectar and are easily attracted to feeders. Orioles have been known to pierce the base of flowers to obtain nectar without pollinating the plant.

If you have palm trees in your neighborhood, watch for the presence of the very beautiful Hooded Oriole. They like to attach their pendulous (hanging) nests to the palm fronds. Hooded Oriole males are yellow in color with a black throat and tail and black and white wings. Hooded females are green-yellow on top and have a yellow throat and belly. These Orioles can be found along Penitencia Creek in the sycamores and willows where they like to forage and breed.

The equally lovely male Bullock's or Northern Orioles are orange with a black crown, throat and a portion of the tail. Female Bullock's are greenish - yellow on top with a yellow throat and white belly. They are also found along the creek in the sycamores, willows and oaks. An increasing number of these Orioles are wintering in the U.S. because of the popularity of bird feeding.

There are many other species of migrant birds that call Alum Rock Park home for the summer. Some are colorful, others have wonderful songs. All will attempt to raise one, possibly two broods of young. By mid-August, their mission accomplished, these birds and their young will begin the long trip south to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central and South America. The park quiets down. By September my ears will be primed for the songs of the White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows down from their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. The winter residents are on their way and another cycle is complete. Fall has arrived.

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Engraving ● Executive Jewelry ● Watches ● Clocks ● Jewelry Repairs ● Custom Designs ● Gifts 

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, San Jose 95127.  Phone (408) 251-4100, Fax (408) 251-4450

To run your ad in New Neighborhood Voice, E-mail or call (408) 272-7008

NNV Briefs

bulletThe Observer - An easy way to support James Lick High School
bulletPACT Plans Major "Action" on Cuts to Key Programs - Update
bulletEastside Kiwanis Honors Scholarship Recipients
bulletAlum Rock Branch Library Planning Meeting - Artists Introduced
bulletLick High's Project Earth Turns Kids into Environmentalists by Nella Henninger
bulletAlum Rock Stables a no-go?

JLHS Newspaper, The Observer 

An easy way to support James Lick - and learn more about our neighborhood

James Lick High School's newspaper, The Observer, is a very well-produced and readable paper. They print about five editions per year featuring stories about the school and our surrounding community. The April 2003 issue includes stories on Rafiki's Coffee Hut, alumni in the news, school successes (and weaknesses) and, of course, enthusiastic articles about the school's basketball, baseball, football, wrestling and golf programs. It's easy to subscribe. Just send your name and address and a check for $15 (made out to James Lick High School with "Journalism Program" in the memo line) to The Observer, 57 N. White Road, San Jose, CA 95127. Making your check a little fatter would help support the program, of course.

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PACT Plans Major "Action" and Needs Your Support and Attendance - Update

Ask our Legislators to commit to work to mitigate budget cuts to our local community

On Sunday, June 8, PACT will host a large gathering (a PACT Action) at the American GI Forum. This meeting with Federal, State and local representatives will advocate ways to lessen the impact of the huge State economic deficit and resulting budget cuts.

The Governor released his first recast of the proposed budget in May. The effect on schools and some programs seems lessened, but now our Redevelopment Agency may be gutted. Besides building public structures, this agency also funds projects in our neighborhoods, like the new facades and median plantings in the Alum Rock Village area. Low income housing made available as part of new construction funded by this agency would stop.

PACT is advocating that our legislators recognize the needs of our neighborhoods and reduce funding to Redevelopment, not cut it completely. We have just begun to enjoy our newly revitalized neighborhoods funded mostly through Redevelopment money.

PACT would like your attendance, input and involvement at this large, important meeting. PACT is a multi-ethnic, interfaith organization which empowers people to create a more just community. Close to home, PACT has made dramatic improvements in the quality of life in the Alum Rock corridor, in our neighborhoods and in our schools.

PACT Action: 3:00 PM, Sunday, June 8, 2003, American GI forum, 765 Story Road, San Jose. The GI Forum is located behind the old Super K Mart building. For more information, call Alum Rock United Methodist Church at (408) 258-7368.

Submitted by Joan Cotta, (408) 325-2633, PACT Member, Alum Rock United Methodist Church

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Eastside Kiwanis Honors Scholarship Recipients

A "seven hanky" luncheon event was held at the Country Club on May 13th when the Kiwanis Club of East San Jose feted sixteen high school seniors who had overcome great hardships and achieved a "turn around" in their lives. The students, representing all of the comprehensive and alternative high schools in the ESUHSD, all related the enormous hurdles and challenges they overcame in order to earn their place in the graduating class of their respective high schools. Emotions ran high and tears flowed freely when the students spoke of their tragic life experiences - and how they surmounted them. All are college-bound despite their poor scholastic start in high school.

James Lick's honored student was Yesenia Mendoza who received distinction along with her mentor, science teacher Daniel Porter. Each student is the recipient of a scholarship funded by the big-hearted Eastside Kiwanians.  

Click here to see Yesenia Mendoza with her mentor and science teacher, Daniel Porter.

The East San Jose Kiwanis Club is a small, friendly group.  They invite anyone with a desire to help them serve our youth to use Kiwanis as a way to give back to the community.  See their Web site for more information. 

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Alum Rock Branch Library Planning Meeting - Artists Introduced

Intelligent Public Art for East San Jose

"Stevedore Dolly" (Salvador's Surreal Dockworker Twin?) Evoked

As readers were informed via NNV Special Alert, the City of San Jose Alum Rock Branch Library planners almost had a meeting again without our readership knowing about it. However, by sheer happenstance, word leaked out in an inadvertent message - a not so prominent blurb sans time and location in a four-color(!) hand-out at the James Lick High School Parking Lot Ribbon-Cutting event. Ferreting out the details became a two day challenge for NNV. Believe it or not, even the librarians at the County Library Branch - which will be supplanted by the new City library - were not apprised of the meeting.

The meeting was held on May 22nd at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. It was the culmination of the earlier select-the-artist(s) process meetings, some of which had been very poorly attended due to lack of notice. NNV raised a polite ruckus in December when long-time library aficionados and supporters cried foul at not having been invited. A careful plan was set up by which NNV was to be given word of all planning meetings to share with readers - in plenty of time.

Well, obviously, the plan went awry - probably for the usual reason - bureaucratic SNAFU. There are a few embittered folks, however, who haven't been persuaded that the City has done all it could - all along - to encourage and embrace the neighbors who saved the original library from oblivion several years ago.

The meeting was fairly well attended with perhaps twenty-five citizens, maybe ten City employees (but no elected ones) and exactly four artists on hand. The meeting was held to introduce the artists selected for both the Alum Rock library project and the new shopping center project at the King and Story intersection. NNV was glad for the doubling up; it probably helps to pay for the expensive four-color flyers emanating from the Branch Library Development Team/San Jose Public Library Bond Projects folks.

The team of Jim Hirschfield and Sonya Ishii, a couple married for twenty-two years and collaborating for fourteen, has been selected by the Public Art Task Force (made up of citizens who were aware of the process) for the library work. They showed slides of their prior civic commissions and it was obvious why their work was chosen. Their witty, clever, sophisticated installations, primarily made of intricate colorful metal pieces, each carefully evoke the character of the site they enhance. One dockside assemblage includes a cart which they refer to as a "stevedore dolly" a name which evoked surrealist visions in your NNV editor's impressionable head. It was difficult for her to suppress her wayward sense of humor.

The goal of the meeting was to solicit input from members of the community. Attendees were invited to share their favorite public places, books that influenced their lives, memorable shopping experiences and other ideas which will help the artists understand the character of the multicultural audience for their work.

One of the faithful library task force members, an Alum Rock Avenue neighbor who has been on board since the start, invited the artists to join her for a tour of Alum Rock Park where they might find their muse. It will be very surprising if we don't get something wonderful for our $177,000.

The pair of artists chosen for the shopping center project, the De la Torre brothers, were born in Guadalajara, Mexico. They said their backgrounds include such dissonant influences as their traditional education in Catholic School in Mexico and the surfing culture in Baja and Southern California. Their slides showed large joyful themes carried out in several media, playfully encompassing Aztec and Mayan glyphs and aspects of glass. The shopping center project has a budget of $360,000 to spend on art and signage. The brothers, like the library artists, have many important commissions to their credit. Both of these projects will bring intelligent public art to the East Side. Bravo!

The next Library Branch Planning Meeting (the Concept Design/Schematic Proposal) will be held on Tuesday, June 24th, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM, at the Office of Cultural Affairs, 4 N. 2nd Street, Suite 450. You are invited to attend.

Click here to see the site of the new Alum Rock Branch Library.

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Lick High's Project Earth Turns Kids into Environmentalists
Not for credit, but because "it's the right thing to do" 

By Nella Henninger

Since 1989 I have been advising an environmental club at James Lick - Project Earth. The students involved have been recycling school paper, painting over graffiti, cleaning local creeks, picking up litter and planting shrubs, trees and flowers in different areas and with the support of different community groups for these last 14 years.

The students meet at least two Saturday mornings each month to perform these services. There is no community service requirement at James Lick (although it is not a bad idea) so our students do this because it is the right thing to do and they like how they feel when the task is done. Recently, we traveled to Yosemite and worked with the Fire people there to thin out new growth in a burned over area of the park.

The club has developed partnerships with the City of San Jose, Our City Forest, California Division of Forestry Fire and most closely with Alum Rock Neighborhood Coalition with whom we work on a monthly basis. This has been one of my most rewarding associations at James Lick and I can vouch for the morality, civic responsibility and thoughtfulness of the many students who have been involved over the years.

The first two "Students of the month" in East (the Old Neighborhood Voice) were Project Earth members!

NNV Note: Nella Henninger is retiring from her JLHS teaching post this month. She and her husband Alan sent their own children to James Lick. NNV hopes to profile the Henningers in a future edition.

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Alum Rock Stables a no-go?

Bay Area Barns and Trails Trust failed to obtain "guaranteed and insurable access" to the Alum Rock Stables property and has decided not to pursue acquisition "at this time." They're hopeful that a locally based equestrian group (BABTT is a Marin County group) will have better success in gaining the blessings of the people who control a small part of the right-of-way. Most of the original entrance road is City of San Jose property (and the City is supportive of the Stables' preservation) but a critical portion is in private hands.

BABTT promises to lend support to any group which endeavors to preserve the property for equestrian use. The old barn on the property is one of very few such structures left in our valley. It would be a great loss to the neighborhood to have it demolished so four new homes could be built. BABTT's Executive Director, Barbara Weitz of Mill Valley, thanks all of us who were supportive of their efforts. NNV will share any further information with our readers as it develops.

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Some Old Businesses

By Ed Allegretti

With much pleasure I am happy to see the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and White Road, "The Village," being remodeled. The new facing on the buildings and the new landscaping at James Lick High School are great. I look forward to the new library that will be built where the Mexican grocery store, formerly James Lick Market, was located.

I've also heard talk of a possible new restaurant in the Village area. Although I very much enjoy the White Rock Café and Rancho Grandview Restaurant, I'd be happy to have another place to eat. There's a shortage of good restaurants now and it wasn't much better 30 years ago. At that time the Alum Rock Family Restaurant was called Holt's.

There was also the Foothill Creamery (where the karate studio now is located) and a very old Chinese restaurant (that was next to the cannery) on Alum Rock near 680. I don't really remember the quality of food at these places but no doubt it was much better than Golden Point restaurant that was formerly next door to Holt's. This A Frame, triangle shaped building sold very cheap hamburgers. Really, these were not very good and definitely couldn't compare to the wonderful hamburgers that were served at the Country Club snack shop. Maybe they tasted so good then because, as a boy, I was very hungry after swimming all day!

I do recall that Aiello's Delicatessen had good Italian food. For many years this place was located on Alum Rock Avenue. Yet, previously he had a grocery store in the Berryessa village. At that time there was no Highway 680. About where Denny's now is located was the Aiello's Grocery Store. I think the only other buildings in this hamlet, aside from some surrounding farm houses, were the old Berryessa School and the mowing machine repair business (that I'm told was once a blacksmith shop).

Although the Aiellos were in business for many years on the East Side, I think that LoMonaco's has been in the area longer. Currently LoMonaco's is owned by Bud LoMonaco, Jr. It was founded by his grandfather in the 1920's and was previously located in downtown San Jose. According to my Grandfather Allegretti, who was a friend of the elder LoMonaco and himself the owner of the "A&D Emporium" for many years downtown, LoMonaco's remained opened since its founding except for a few years during World War II when Bud LoMonaco, Sr. was serving in the war. With much fondness I recall the large jewelry store and galleria that Bud, Sr. operated for many years on Alum Rock Avenue.

As a boy, though, I much preferred visiting Reed's Sport Shop which now is the location of the YSI Thrift store. Nearby was Langone's Music Store and more of interest was Sheldon's Hobby Shop. This shop sold the miniature soldiers I very much enjoyed playing with, a wonderful selection of chemicals to add to my chemistry set (most of which now can't be bought because of some sort of "safety" laws), and items for model car racers. In the back of the shop was even a model car race track where local "races" were held for the area boys (no girl then, of course, would have participated!).

Across from these shops, by Peters' Bakery, was the Village Western Store. This mainly Western clothing store was owned by Tip and Wendy San Filippo. Interestingly my house on Edgemont Drive was previously their home for about 35 years. They sold it to me when they decided to be near their boys in Arizona. The builders of my house (I am the third owner) were the Reitanos. A few years ago I went to an estate sale off Crothers Road. At the sale I bought a wonderful antique dresser. This and other antiques were being sold by the nieces and nephews of the former owners. After paying, I asked one of the nephews, who mentioned that the truck in the driveway was his, if he would drive the dresser to my house. He asked where I lived and I gave him my address on Edgemont. In amazement he explained that his aunt and uncle were the Reitanos, that they built my house, and that this dresser was returning home! In addition to the dresser, he gave me the original plans of my house, a 1957 Mercury article featuring my house, and an aerial photograph showing it being built and also showing many surrounding houses.

As a boy I also enjoyed visiting Clifford's Drug Store (where Kragen's is now located in the Country Club Villa shopping center) which had a toy section while my mother was shopping at Crown Grocery Store. I also enjoyed viewing the toys at the Ben Franklin store on the other side of Crown. If she shopped at Rosenberg's, in the old Pala shopping center, I very much enjoyed going into the toy store with its Dutch doors, the shoe store which gave away toy golden eggs, and the small variety shop. That small shop, I recall, mainly sold cheap dime store items (not quite the quality of Sprouse Reitz on Alum Rock Avenue, where Kelly Moore Paint is now located) and items of interest to children. Once when I visited, I went to the glass case where the penny candies were displayed. After careful consideration I pointed out to the owner, Hal, which candies I desired. Upon making my selection he said that it would be 9 cents. He handed the candies to me. I asked for a small bag to put them into but he only gave me a piece of wax paper. I asked again if I could have a bag. "No," he replied, "To get a bag you must buy at least 10 cents worth of candies!" I took my wax paper and said nothing further.

My Grandfather Bernal was a local businessman also. Although he and my grandmother lived near downtown, he had his ranch and small house on Mt. Hamilton Road. His business was "Eddie Bernal General Excavating." He did much work for the ranchers on Mt. Hamilton Road and for others in the East side. My grandfather must have done well at his work because it seems he was always very busy. Yet, according to my grandmother, he was not as interested in paperwork and accounting, which she handled for him. Much to her frustration, he would usually give only an oral bid, require nothing in writing and then would do the work.

Fortunately in those times (he died in 1961) almost everybody paid their bills in full. However, one rancher on Mt. Hamilton Road refused to pay for the work my grandfather performed. Despite repeated requests, the man wouldn't pay. This event occurred in the late 1940's when my father was courting my mother. One evening my father came to visit. While at my grandparents' house, my Grandfather Bernal asked my father if he could help him late that evening with a business matter. All he would say is to be ready in a few hours and to join some other men and my grandfather.

At the appointed hour my father was ready and the four men jumped into one of my grandfather's trucks and proceeded up Mt. Hamilton Road. My father asked what was happening but no answer was given. They drove along Mt. Hamilton Road for a while then turned off along a dirt road and drove to a spot where several cows were grazing in their solitude. According to my father, my grandfather then took out his rifle and shot a large calf. He told my father and the men to load it into the truck. As they rode down the hill to take the dead calf to Johnny Roger's Butcher Shop, my grandfather proclaimed that he and the debtor rancher were now settled!

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You Dig It?

New NNV gardening section

NNV begins a regular gardening section with this edition. Subscribers Nella Henninger and Bracey Tiede (a "Master Gardener") share notes and resources:

Some Winners 

By Nella Henninger

Having gardened in our area for 35 years now - I have come up with some real winners. Lavender is colorful, drought tolerant, easy and I haven't had a deer problem with it. There are any number of sages (many different colors) that do well. Matillaja poppies are beautiful (large white flowers with bright yellow centers) and after four years they have spread at an almost alarming rate - but our hillside can handle it and it keeps the grass and other weeds from growing. I suspect I can take new volunteers and share them or transplant them but I haven't tried it yet.

After fighting deer dining for many years, however, we have found a real deterrent. My husband gifted me with an eight foot fence for Christmas. A new found sense of freedom in planting has taken over! But, I still love the plants I have mentioned and will continue to plant them along with the deer-tempting plants in which I can now indulge.

June Hot Topics 

By University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Bracey Tiede

Call the Master Gardener Hotline at (408) 299-2638 with your gardening questions.

Fire Blight: Fire blight bacteria symptoms are seen as blackened dead branches and twigs that have a torched look. It hits ornamentals like pyracantha, cotoneaster, flowering pear and crabapple, mountain ash, hawthorn and fruit trees such as apple, pear, and quince. It overwinters in cankers or wounds and resumes bacterial growth in the spring. There may or may not be oozing from the canker. It is spread by insects, rain, or pruning. The infection can extend into the scaffold limbs, trunks, or root system and may kill the tree. Prune the infected branch about nine inches below the dead area. Clean pruners between cuts with a mild bleach solution. Spraying during bloom is the preventative method of control. See the pest note at:

Fruit and Chilling: Why are fruit trees producing so little or in some cases no fruit? The combination of lack of cold temperatures and warm days at the right times this past winter is the reason. Chilling hours are calculated by adding up the hours of temperatures between 32 and 45F and subtracting the number of hours over 65. Chilling hours influence bud break, fruit set, and fruit development. Insufficient chilling is probably the most limiting climatic factor for sweet cherry, peach, apricot, nectarine, and apple fruit yield here in the Santa Clara Valley. Chilling hour requirements range from four days (<100 hours) for persimmons to six to eight weeks for sweet cherries. For more information on this topic, visit:

What's Eating My Fruit? What does the bite look like? Is there a hole that has teeth marks? Probably roof rats or squirrels. Is there a hole that looks like the fruit has been stabbed? Probably birds. There are several ways to keep the fruit for your family. Summer prune so the tree stays small enough to cover with bird netting. Erecting a PVC pipe frame eases net installation. Weigh down the net at ground level. If the tree is large, try pruning the branches so nothing touches any structure or other plant. This reduces rat and squirrel access. Purchase some bird scare tape that is a shiny Mylar tape. Tie an 18" length to a bamboo pole that's long enough to emerge out the top of the tree. Use several on each tree. Put out before the fruit is ripe and remove as soon as you are finished harvesting so the birds don't get used to it.

Irrigation: Check your irrigation system to be sure it's in full working order. If you have drip lines, open the end and turn on the water to clean out the line. Close the end of the line and check that each emitter or sprayer is working properly and isn't clogged. Check popup sprinklers for full spray and for proper placement of water. Plants grow larger during the winter and spring and may be blocking the water from reaching the expected location. Also unneeded spray watering of shrubs can cause disease problems. Make sure the timer is set correctly as well.

Mulching: Mulching is an effective technique to keep soil temperatures even to retain moisture and to prevent weeds from germinating. Mulching with organic matter such as chipped tree trimmings, compost, or barks not only reduces water usage but also improves the organic content and texture of soil. Apply at least two to three inches of material (three to six inches of larger bark pieces), keeping it several inches away from the trunks of trees and shrubs to prevent crown rots. Renew every few years as it decomposes and enriches the soil.

 Gorgeous Irises and Peonies at Chateau CharMarron 

An Alum Rock Avenue neighbor phoned recently to enthusiastically recommend the gorgeous irises and peonies at Chateau CharMarron which is in the hills high above Milpitas, reached via Calaveras Road. She was really ecstatic and could hardly hold in her joy at finding this wonderful resource so close to our neighborhood. The chateau has more than 160 tall bearded iris varieties under cultivation and sixty varieties of peonies. They also have llamas! They offer garden visits on springtime weekends and other times by appointment. You can contact them for open garden days, directions or for an appointment. Their Web site,, shows an exciting collection of colorful spring beauties.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

bulletWhere is that water by the Country Club coming from?
bulletAnything new on the proposed deli at the east end of Alum Rock Village?
bulletIs the Alum Rock library branch still on track?
bulletWhere do we take mail when we want to have it on its way the very soonest?
bulletWhy must there be so many signs at Mt. Hamilton Road and Alum Rock Avenue?
bulletWhom do we call to report tall weeds and other fire hazards on private property?
bulletHas "the other VTA shoe" dropped on Bus Line 64?
bulletWhy does St. John Vianney Church want  a zoning change?
bulletIs it true that NNV will not produce a July edition?

Q. Where is the water coming from that drains out of the big pipe on the Country Club side of Alum Rock Avenue across from Miguelito Road?

A. Our San Jose Water Company contact, who is also an East Highlands neighbor, said they had to drain one of their reservoirs near that corner (on Miguelito) to repair a water line. The water from draining the reservoir, which is pure drinking water, flows under the street, out that pipe and then underground in front of the Country Club and into Miguelita Creek (under the new pedestrian bridge). However, drinking water does have some chlorine in it and has to be de-chlorinated before it can be released into the creek, which was done. The operation is complete now.

Q. Anything new on the proposed deli in the old produce market/dry cleaner at the east end of Alum Rock Village?

A. Yes, yes, yes! NNV spoke with Rogelio Ruiz, one of the new owners of the building who, with several partners, will be opening an ambitious and classy new deli/produce market this fall. Rogelio says that the building is now undergoing a structural upgrade and renovation which includes removal of the wall which separated the old businesses. Believe it or not, that building encompasses 5000 square feet!

The plan is that they will sell deli items, fresh meat and fish, as well as produce. Rogelio says there will be dining tables and even a 2000 square foot patio area in the back. He says there will be some similarities to the Race Street Fish Market which, if you're familiar with it, you know is an atmospheric, fun place to shop and dine.

The former owners of the building, Frank Sorci and his family, built the structure about fifty years ago. It originally housed the Mayfair Pharmacy and was home to Sheldon's Hobby Shop where Ed Allegretti squandered his allowance money on toy soldiers and volatile chemicals to add to his awesome chemistry set.

The façade will be cleaned up, the remains of the previous improvements will be removed, holes will be patched, the exterior will be painted and new windows and signage will be installed. Anything fancy, a la Rafiki's Coffee Hut's exterior, will have to wait until the City's Façade Improvement Grants are available again. Meanwhile, it will be clean and tidy and ready for business "before Thanksgiving." Now is that exciting, or what?

Rogelio and his wife Sylvia live on Enchanto Vista Drive and are expecting a baby "any time."

Q. Is the Alum Rock library branch still on track?

A. Yes indeed. NNV stopped to talk with Domenic Onorato, a San Jose Public Works Department Project Manger on the Branch Library Development Team, at the Lick High School Parking Lot Ribbon-Cutting on May 17th. Domenic had handsome models and elevations of the building on display - and reassuring words about the library project. He said that the land acquisition is complete (very pricey - something like $5 million!). Groundbreaking will take place in December of this year and the complex will be finished in June of 2005. If you'd like more information, you can call (408) 794-1400.

Q. Where do we take mail when we want to be sure to have it on its way the very, very soonest?

A. A USPS representative says that all letters and packages mailed from our nearby branch post offices (Station D on Jackson Avenue, Berryessa on Piedmont Road, Eastridge, etc.) are processed at the main post office on Lundy Avenue before they go anywhere else. Even if one mails a letter at Station D to an address in the 95127 zip code, it goes first to Lundy! Lesson: Don't wait until the last minute to pay those bills - unless you want to drive to Lundy.

Q. Why must there be such a mess of traffic (and other) signs at the corner of Mt. Hamilton Road and Alum Rock Avenue? There are so many competing signs that it's next to impossible to make any sense of them.

A. NNV spoke with the County's Alan Jones, Branch Manager of Roads and Fleet Operations, and he assured us that the signs announcing, "construction ahead" and anything else associated with the work on the bridges should have been removed by the contractor by the end of May. He sounded a bit embarrassed and assured NNV that all those signs will be scrutinized to see if they need to be there. It seems the contractor still needed to remove some asphalt on the bridge deck. Any superfluous signs will be removed. Alan also helped NNV with the following FAQ.

Q. Whom do we call to report tall weeds and other fire hazards on private property?

A. You can call the County Fire Marshall's Office at (408) 299-5760. They have a weed abatement division and are ready to take your report or answer your questions.

Q. Has "the other VTA shoe" dropped on Bus Line 64?

A. Our bus will not run as frequently beginning in October. We were spared having the line totally axed as several other lines were. NNV will report the new schedule in October. A meeting to discuss the VTA cutbacks will be held June 10th at 7:00 PM at the Eastside Senior Center, 2150 Alum Rock Avenue.

Q. Why does St. John Vianney Church want to have a zoning change from Santa Clara County to City of San Jose?

A. Boy, the answers which NNV got to that question are all over the map. It might be because they have to do so in order to do the proposed building they're planning. Or, it might be because they will have better services under City jurisdiction. Or, it might be because eventual annexation of all the County "pockets" is inevitable so they might as well meet the City's "Planned Development Zoning District" requirements now rather than later. Or, it might, of course, be because of something sinister and underhanded, but NNV thinks probably not.

If you want to find out for yourself, (or even challenge this land use decision!) you can attend the City Council Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 17th at 7:00 PM in the City Council Chambers.

Meanwhile, the official definition of the project being considered is:

PDC 01-08-082. PLANNED DEVELOPMENT PREZONING and REZONING for the property located at the west side of Alum Rock Avenue approximately 200 feet northerly of Marian Lane (4600, 4601 and 4609 Hyland Avenue, and 4609 Alum Rock Avenue), from Unincorporated County and A-Agricultural Zoning District to A (PD) Planned Development Zoning District, to allow religious assembly and school uses on 8.21 gross acres (Roman Catholic Welfare Corp. of San Jose and the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Jose, Owner/Developer) Council District 5. CEQA: Mitigated Negative Declaration. (NNV note: Whew!)

You can also find out more about the project (reports, drawings, documents) at the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (408) 277-4576.  Click here for the PDF City staff report for this project. 

Q. Is it true that NNV will not produce a July edition?

A. Yep! But it's not because we don't have enough material. Note that there are seven new writers in this edition! When we started NNV, we feared we might have to write all the articles ourselves. We're extremely happy to see so many good writers volunteer to write about their interests and expertise and we welcome more. We also appreciate the many nice comments from our readers! We're already accumulating material for the August edition.

We are pleased to note that our articles are being read in downtown San Jose and that the big city media has described New Neighborhood Voice as "the vastly entertaining and informative newsletter of the San Jose Country Club Neighborhoods" and "one that other neighborhood web newsletters might emulate. A successful blend of entertainment and information."  Click here to read Eric Carlson's latest article on our neighborhoods.  Our thanks to Eric and Metroactive!

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--------------------------- Contact and Subscription Information ---------------------------------
Copyright© 2003 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127 
Phone: (408) 272-7008, E-mail: Fax: (408) 272-4040 
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