Thursday, November 30, 2006


Councilmember Nora Campos and James Lick Principal Bill
Rice are joined by young people for the ceremonial lighting
of the village.

Wow...this was a fun night!
For the first time ever, Alum Rock neighbors gathered to celebrate the lighting up of the village for the holidays. About 150 people surrounded the stage in front of the former Brasil Auto Repair shop as the sun was setting on Alum Rock Avenue. The James Lick High School choir and band, under the direction of Music Director Tomoko Nakajima, provided carols and music to set the perfect mood. The students were all dressed in festive gowns and tuxes for the occassion and they looked and sounded sharp.
Yours truly was honored to be the Emcee for the night's festivities (thank you CBS 5, which let me off early to participate!). Neighbors sipped Starbucks coffee and mingled with Village shopkeepers who donated several great prizes for a raffle. Santa took Christmas wishes from kids in the old Karate studio. The U.S. Marines stood guard over a Toys for Tots bin that was quickly filled with gifts for needy children. And the crowd listened to James Lick Principal Bill Rice describe how his school (and my alma mater) is on the upswing.
And speaking of upswings, San Jose City Councilmember Nora Campos, whose office organized the event, spoke of how this is a milestone in an ongoing effort to restore pride and prestige in Alum Rock. She also mentioned that some deals are in the works to bring even more businesses to the Village in the next year or two, adding to the Village's ambiance, and making it more of a destination for the community. Those will certainly be big announcements in the future, but for now, let's enjoy what we have in the Alum Rock area and support the businesses that support our community. Bravo to all involved, and for those of you who missed it, mark it down for next year because this will be an annual event that is not to be missed!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


By Andrea Flores-Shelton

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
My husband and I took our son to Alum Rock Park early Wednesday morning and we saw a certificate had been given to the park by Sunset Magazine for being in the Top 10 Thanksgiving Hikes of 2006. Yesterday, at my parents’ house I picked up their Sunset and found that Alum Rock Park had been ranked #5. We are so blessed to have this place - #5 or not, in our backyard. It was a gorgeous morning and we had the place almost to ourselves.

Here is the write up:Fall days linger, especially golden, in the east-west-running canyon of Alum Rock Park. The east San Jose sanctuary offers both mellow strolls and muscle-taxing climbs through its 720 acres. Opt for the flat 2.5 mile Creek Trail, which follows Penitencia Creed, from the park’s entrance to the handsome stone bridges at Sycamore Groves’ mineral springs. Or for a more challenging 3-mile trek with vertigo-inducing views-and the chance to see deer, rabbits, and quail- Take South Rim Trail from Inspiration Point, where natural beauty and quire inspire genuine thanks-giving.

If you are curious, the Top 10 Thanksgiving Hikes are:
#10 -Salk Lake City – Bonneville Shoreline Trail
#9 – Denver, Deer Creek Canyon Park
#8 – Sante Fe, Borrego-Bear Wallow Loop
#7 – Scottsdale, AZ, Pinnacle Peak Park
#6 – Malibu, Point Mugu State Park
#5 – San Jose, Alum Rock Park
#4 – Orinda, CA, Briones Regional Park
#3 – Sacramento – C.M. Goethe Park
#2 – Portland, Wildwood Trail
#1 – Seattle, Seward Park

-- Andrea

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


From the Alum Rock Village Farmers Market

Crab Season has begun at the Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market.
Along with the chill that fall brings, comes the long awaited Dungeness crab season in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Right now, you can find fresh, local crab than at the Alum Rock Village Certified Farmers' Market.
In December and January, crab supplies are plentiful and the meat is sweetest. Local fishermen including Pham's Fresh Fish, Salter Crab Co., and Stu Fish are now bringing us this season's bounty of seafood, including shrimp, and a variety of fish and crab! The Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market is also brimming with fall and winter vegetables and fruits. From butternut squash to broccoli, from persimmons to pears Рyear-round, there is no better place to buy fresh, local fruits and vegetables than at the farmers' market. Looking to make an impression during the holidays? Fresh brussel sprouts saut̩ed in olive oil with fresh garlic and slivered almonds, candied yams, freshly baked herb-potatoes, or orange-glazed carrots should do the trick. Try your hand at making a fresh apple strudel or freshly baked persimmon bread. Decorate the table with a beautiful bouquet of freshly-cut flowers. Or, if you are after artisan breads, savory pies, eggs, kettle korn, orchids, honey, or other locally grown or locally produced goods Рcome join us!
The Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market operates year-round, rain or shine, on Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at James Lick High School, 57 N. White Road, San Jose.For more information on the Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market, or to find another farmers' market in your area, please contact the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association at (800) 949-FARM or go to:

Monday, November 20, 2006


James Lick Booster Club Is holding its annual Holiday Faire on Saturday December 2nd, 9:30 - 5:00 and Sunday December 3rd, 9:00 - 4:00 at 57 North White Road @ Alum Rock Ave.
Handmade gifts and crafts, home decor, fresh hot food, hourly raffle drawings, silent auction, gift wrapping, crafts and activities for kids, pictures with Santa and more.
Booths and tables are still available: 10X10 space for two days $80.00, 1 day $45.006X6 space for two days $60.00, 1 day $35.00. Prices includes assistance in bringing stuff in the gym. Please contact Lynnette for table reservations at or phone her at 408-258-6697For donations for silent auction please contact Monique Frizzell at 408-838-1358 or

100% of profits go to supporting all sports teams at James Lick High School!


From the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

On November 20, 2006 at approximately 1:06 P.M., Santa Clara County Deputies responded to the area of Metcalf Road and San Felipe Road in unincorporated San Jose on a report of a possible plane crash.
The pilot, a 46-year-old man from San Jose, was on a leisure flight in his private plane when he began to experience mechanical problems. He notified the control tower of his situation and began to prepare for an emergency landing. He began to circle over the area in an attempt to locate a safe place to land. While circling he heard a loud noise and the engine failed. The pilot acted quickly and located a small pasture to land his plane. During the landing, the small plane’s landing gear struck a rock and flipped onto its top.
The pilot was able to exit the plane under his own power safely. He contacted a near-by plane via a two-way radio and informed a fellow pilot of his situation. He began to walk northbound towards San Felipe Road while his fellow pilot contacted 911. The San Jose Fire Department located the pilot walking in the area and evaluated his medical condition. San Jose Fire Department Personnel medically cleared the pilot at the scene.
The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) was contacted and will complete an independent investigation of the incident.


By Judy Thompson

Last week about fifty James Lick High School music students hopped aboard a city bus for an unusual destination in downtown San Jose. Along with their teacher, Tomoko Nakajima, and volunteer chaperones, they set out for the famous, much ballyhooed, extravagantly renovated California Theatre on First Street. What was the big draw? A rock concert perhaps? An educational film?
How about a special full length midday matinee production of the opera, The Barber of Seville, presented by Opera San Jose for a theater full of middle and high schoolers? Kids descended on the ornate theater from every direction. Some arrived in school buses. The Lick students good-naturedly hoofed the several blocks from the First and Santa Clara Street bus stop arriving just in time to be seated as the pit orchestra struck up the overture.
Does this sound like a dynamite combination – a theater full of teenagers expected to sit still for a looooong musical story with a decidedly goofy plot? Well, you would have been wonderfully surprised at the polite demeanor and mature audience manners of the Lick students – and the rest of the young theater-goers!
The Barber of Seville (written by Rossini in 1816) is sung in Italian although the setting is Seville, Spain. Mercifully, there were English supertitles. After the performance, I heard some Lick students mentioning the similarities between the Italian they heard and the Spanish they know. Good listening!
The English translations threw some arcane vocabulary words at these youngsters. Who knew that Figaro the Barber was a factotum? This Latin version of Jack-of-all-trades didn’t faze this young audience. They were rapt as they experienced the drawn-out comedy even through some of its repetitive passages.
After the performance, Ms. Nakajima counted noses outside the theater and off we paraded to the eastbound bus stop on Santa Clara Street. I heard no carping about the highbrow musical experience. I think James Lick music students are mature enough that they thought the opera was pretty darned cool!


By Elizabeth Driedger

This is just a reminder to folks interested in continuing the AlumRock Neighborhood Coalition that we will be meeting up at the "NextSteps after NNV" meeting called by Gustavo Gonzalez this Monday night, (11/20) at the Roberto Cruz library from 6 to 7 pm.
A couple of weeks ago some members of the ARNNE e-list responded to the post about keeping the Alum Rock Neighborhood Coalition (ARNC) alive as it was recently announced in the last issue of the NNV that its members were putting away their paint brushes and hedge clippers for the last time. The consensus on the e-list was to meet up at the NextSteps meeting. A former lead member of the ARNC has indicated that he will be attending and can give us background on the structure and history of the organization. We will also discuss any new ideas for the organization's future.
Here are few of the quality of life issues for Alum Rock (from specific to general) that come to my mind:
-Litter along Alum Rock Ave and McKee Road
-Savemart shopping carts strewn along McKee Road
-Food/Garbage amassing in the Savemart parking lot
-Infrequent street sweeping on even just the major streets (e.g. AlumRock, McKee Rd, Capitol Ave, White Rd, Story Rd, Jackson, etc.)
-Grafitti/Vandalism (e.g. the abandoned La Bodega)
-Unchecked Development/High Density Development/Lack of neighborhood parks
-Protection/Preservation of Historical Landmarks/Buildings
- or maybe even something like an AR Historical Walk with signs for the landmarks/buildings/historical sites that once were
-City of San Jose Annexation of Unincorporated Pockets/SJRDA Plans
-Having a forum that connects with the already great programs that have recently come into place in the AR area as well as with City of San Jose, local business owners and residents.

Do you have similar concerns and/or wishes? Would you like to have more of a voice about what's impacting your neighborhood? Do you have a few hours of time you are willing to volunteer for your community?Are you interested in rolling up your sleeves and seeing how things can improve when like minded individuals work together? Or how about meeting other people in your community and making friends with people you might never have had the chance to get to know in your corner ofAlum Rock? If you have concerns about the quality of life in Alum Rock and are willing to get involved, I strongly encourage you to come. Please feel free to send me an email to if you'd like to express your ideas about ARNC between now and tomorrow evening. I'll print them out and bring them to the meeting. I'll have a sign with ARNC on it to help with any one wanting to gather to talk specifically about the ARNC tonight. Also please feel free to send me an email if you are interested but are not able to come to tonight's meeting. Look forward to seeing you there.

Elizabeth Driedger
Alum Rock and Capitol Ave neighborhood resident

Friday, November 17, 2006


The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (OSA) added a key link to its chain of protected lands in the East Foothills of San Jose with the purchase of 233 acres on November 16, 2006. The cost was $2,050,000.
The acquisition, along upper Penitencia Creek east of Alum Rock Park, features steep, oak-covered hillsides and is home to many plants and animals common to the east foothills. Sparing the land from development will help OSA achieve its open space goals of protecting hillsides and watersheds, preserving important habitat for protected species, and providing outdoor recreation.
“Acquiring this property will ensure that the scenic views enjoyed for years by visitors to Alum Rock Park remain intact. It will also expand on City of San Jose’s efforts to protect critical waterways for steelhead trout in the east foothills,” said OSA general manager Patrick Congdon.
OSA currently owns 1,389 acres in the east foothills. Since the opening in 2002 of OSA’s Boccardo Trail adjoining the northern edge of Alum Rock Park, the Authority has been working to expand public access to its holdings in the region. Studies are currently underway, with the help of a $50,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy to site a staging area on Sierra Road. This would enable visitors to reach OSA trails as well as a proposed alignment for the Bay Area Ridge Trail, a 500-mile-long regional trail envisioned to circle the entire Bay Area when completed.



Ed. note: The following correspondence was provided by Alum Rock Youth Center Advisory Team Member Tanya Freudenberger. Thanks Tanya!

Dear Team Members:

At our advisory committee meeting of the Alum Rock Youth Center last night, we received some information that might be of interest to you and you might want to share with others:

The Giving Tree activity at the Alum Rock Youth Center will probably be held on Friday, December 15. If you know any family that has children who need gifts from the Giving Tree, please send the (a) name (b) age (c) gender of each child to Danny Perez at the Youth Center by e-mail ( or call him at 251-5757) no later than Friday, December 8. If you want to confirm the date of the activity, please follow up with Danny

The Viejitos Car Club is sponsoring its 4th Annual Toy Drive on Saturday, November 25 at the Alum Rock Youth Center from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, please contact the group at:

The Advisory Committee is recruiting new members for 2007. As you well know, Council District 5 has the lowest income population in the City with the largest number of children and largest population of working poor. Out of ten youth centers in the City of San Jose, our Alum Rock Youth Center is third in generating income from fee classes. Why? Because this highly understaffed Center has a great relationship with the community and regularly gets out into the schools and neighborhoods to promote its programs. Why? Because the Alum Rock School District has been highly supportive in communicating activities at the Center to our families. Why? Because the Advisory Committee has continually promoted good will through fund raising efforts which provide money for scholarships, equipment and field trips (for which the City no longer provides financial support). Please encourage community members in your "entourage" to join the Advisory Committee. We meet only once a month for an hour and host three very enjoyable fund raisers a year (remember the comedy show? the pancake breakfast? the Halloween Haunted House?). They can contact me (509-0316) or Ed Solis ( or 251-2850).


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


By Darlene Tenes

Okay, so this is the story behind the story... I went on to the CBS News website about a week ago for something completely unrelated and a saw a link asking to share "your kitchen memories." I wrote a quick letter and attached a picture. The story was fresh in my mind after having just shared it with some teenagers I mentor. Within two hours a producer called and asked for pictures of my Aunt's kitchen which I thought was bizarre because at the time I didn't even know it was a contest to win a new kitchen. A CBS crew came by last Wednesday to tape the Sanchez (my mother's maiden name) women making tamales and sharing our memories of our beloved abuelita, Mama Luz. Read the original letter below, then on Friday go online to vote so my Auntie Carol can get a new kitchen!


Here is Darlene's touching letter about food and family, tradition and tragedy:

Dear Early Show,
The women in our family — aunts, cousins, grandmas — still gather in a warm kitchen at the break of dawn in an assembly line, laughing and gossiping, while busily spreading and filling hojas (corn husks) to make hundreds of our Christmas tamales. And although invited, the men curiously never materialize until later in the day when it's time to try our tasty creations. It is an all-day process with a role for every person, no matter what the age. These special love-laced tamales are served at our annual Sanchez Family Christmas Party. When we were young this event was traditionally held on Christmas Eve but as everyone grew older, got married, had more kids and were split between the in-laws, we decided to change the date to the first weekend in December so our "immediate family" (50-60 family members) could attend. In 1992 when the party started to wind down about midnight, our abuelita and family matriarch, Luz Gonzales (better known as "Mama Luz") and our step-grandfather left for home. Mama Luz & Gus were a very active and dare I say feisty couple in their mid-80's who never sat still — fishing, cooking, gardening, canning, crocheting and dancing. We received a phone call from their neighbor at 6 a.m. informing us their house was on fire. Phone calls were placed in a hurry and we all raced down to the scene. Cars were parked haphazardly all throughout the street with family members from in and out of town. It was unclear for quite some time whether they had gotten out or not, when we were finally told that both had died in the fire. We were devastated. My Auntie Carol, who was in her late 60's at the time, remarked. "I'm not anyone’s daughter anymore." On the other hand we felt very fortunate that we had all been together as a family in a festive environment the night before they passed away. A closed-casket funeral was held with over 1000 people attending. Mama Luz had retired from her cannery job 20 years earlier. Everyone at that funeral was there neither because she was a high-powered or wealthy woman nor because they worked with her but because she affected their lives with her kind ways and love. I looked around at all those people and thought, "This is a successful person." Being together as a family for our tamale-making days and Sanchez Family Christmas parties means more to us now than ever because you never know when it will be the last time you see someone. — Darlene Sanchez-Tenes of San Jose, Calif.


Imagine driving home on a cold winter's night and being greeted by warmth and a colorful glow coming from our own Alum Rock Village. That's what to expect this holiday season as the village lights up for the holidays! Village merchants will be decked out with lights to brighten up the long winter nights. Please plan to attend a special village lighting ceremony on Thursday, November 30th at 5:00 pm. City Councilmember Nora Campos is organizing the event which will bring together our community for a night of holiday cheer. The James Lick High School choir and band will provide music and carols and yours truly will Emcee a short ceremony marking this significant occasion. The village has had its ups and downs over the decades but this definately marks an upswing. Hopefully, there will be more positive news in the near future about new tenants moving in. And don't forget to patronize the existing village shops and services this holiday season. Tell your neighbors and plan to attend. See you there!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The Community Room at the Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library was filled with music, food, friends and words of appreciation for Allan and Judy Thompson who are stepping down as publishers of the New Neighborhood Voice.
The potluck gathering was attended by about 50 people from the Alum Rock and East Foothills area. Edie Pricolo and Tanya Freudenberger organized the classy event which featured a song from James Lick Music Director Tomoko Nakajima, official commendations from San Jose City Councilmember Nora Campos and California State Assemblymember Joe Coto, and a mild "roast" of the Thompsons from friends, neighbors and New Neighborhood Voice contributors.

The Thompsons have put the last issue of the New Neighborhood Voice to bed. For the last few years now, they have been overwhelmed by the amount of time and effort required to cover news events and publish the website. "We certainly understand their need to hand the baton over to others. Over the years, this community has been the benefactor of their generosity of time, energy, connections and pure resourcefulness," said Freudenberger and Pricolo in a recent email message about the Thompson's retirement from the web publishing world. The NNV will be missed, but this blog, The Neighborhood View and the Alum Rock Neighborhood Network E-list (ARNNE) are two of the most recent efforts undertaken to provide a community news link. If you would like to subscribe to ARNNE, please send an email to:

Sunday, November 05, 2006


From Tanya Freudenberger & Edie Pricolo
On Sunday, November 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Roberto Cruz/Alum Rock Library Community Room, we are going to show Allan and Judy Thompson just what we think of them!!
In partnership with the Library, a few friends of Judy & Allan and Schuster Es. Thompson invite you to share a joyful farewell potluck and roast to two of the most delightful people on the hill. You are invited to bring yourself, your family, your friends - and of course your food - to the party. It's pretty much a happy family event except the part when Allan puts on the lampshade and dances on the bar (oops, sorry wrong party).
As you have heard (or you could be in denial about this), the Thompsons are putting the New Neighborhood Voice to bed … permanently with this edition. For some time now, they have been overwhelmed by the effort required to cover the increasing need for this community to be heard. We certainly understand their need to hand the baton over to others. Over the years, this community has been the benefactor of their generosity of time, energy, connections and pure resourcefulness. There's not enough money in the world to repay them, so why don't we pay them with love on November 12!
During the "official" ceremony at 3:30 p.m., you are encouraged to share your witty comments about Judy and Allan and NNV -- all of which we know will be offered in the spirit of the appreciation and affection that we have for them. Our community family has relied on their reporting for its one and only source of decent, positive local news for the past four years -- and we will surely miss the special Thompson touch with the retirement of the New Neighborhood Voice.
SUPER IMPORTANT: Please send an e-mail message if you can come. We need to make sure we have enough cold drinks, food and seating for everyone.
Tanya Freudenberger & Edie or phone Edie at (408) 258-6753

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A Berryessa family of 3 lost their home and two cars Thursday morning in a devastating house fire.
San Jose Fire Captain David Huseman was driving to work at 5:30 am, when flames from the fire momentarily took his eyes off the road on Highway 680. Huseman exited the freeway and drove to 2220 Belthorn Court where flames were already taking over the two-story house, and threatening a neighboring home.
Other neighbors had already called 911, but Huseman radioed in a second alarm to keep the fire from spreading to other homes. Huseman also woke up the residents of the neighboring home to evacuate them, according to Fire Captain Jose Guerrero.
The family in the burning house had been awakened by the smoke and flames and managed to escape unharmed. The fire was so intense, it also destroyed two cars in the driveway.
Damage was estimated at 700-thousand dollars. The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is believed to have started in the garage. The Red Cross is temporarily sheltering the family.
You can watch a dramatic clip of the fire here:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Tragedy has come to our Alum Rock Village.
A 45 year old man is dead, and a 15-year old, believed to be the man's son, is hospitalized with serious injuries after a stabbing near the Alum Rock Quick Stop market late Halloween night.
San Jose Police Sgt. Nick Muyo said officers responded to reports that an injured man was at the Quik Stop on Stewart and Alum Rock avenues around 12:14 a.m. today and found the man and the boy wounded in the parking lot.
Police don't know if the man and his son knew their attackers or some how got into a fight with others.
The store's owner, Bob Tabakon, said there had been some sort of scuffle near the pay phones that face Alum Rock.
That pay phone area has long been a place that seems to attract loitering.
Throughout the day today, regulars who had heard the news stopped by the store.
``You guys are part of the community,'' one man told Tabakon as the pair shook hands according to the San Jose Mercury News. ``I am glad you're OK.''
That Quick Stop is used by many of us to quickly pick up some items on the way home, so it's sad and a bit scary to see violence has struck there. Let's see if we can try to do something about possibly removing those pay phones and maybe seal off that narrow walkway between the Quick Stop building and the other buildings in the village. That spot seems to be a constant blight in an otherwise vibrant commercial area.
Anyone with information about this case should call San Jose Police department's homicide unit at (408) 277-5283.