Sunday, February 25, 2007


Video by Gustavo Gonzalez

Watch and listen to a San Jose Planning department official explain to Valley View area neighbors how a proposal to build a 60 foot cell tower went from being disguised as a pine tree (which neighbors approved) to a barren "slimline" tower without any neighborhood notification.


You've passed the village a million times on the way home, but now there are two new reasons to stop! Reis Gifts & Home Decor and Vintage Rose Consignment Boutique bring a little bit of a shoppers' paradise to our neighborhood.
If you're looking for unique gifts, Owner Paula Reis hopes you'll stop in at her new gift shop, Reis Gifts & Home Decor, located at 3144 Alum Rock Avenue. "We have a variety of gifts from garden supplies to furniture, candles and scented oils." In addition, local vendors bring their own hand-made crafts to sell. The Grand Opening was on February 10th and Reis says her shop is open seven days a week. "It's been a little slow, but we're hoping to get the word out," she adds.
Just a few steps away, you'll find Andrea Hapin and the Vintage Rose Consignment Boutique. She's converted a dark and dated tatoo parlor into a bright and busy boutique. Once a month you can shop at an outdoor flea market with local vendors showcasing one of a kind jewels and artwork. Inside you'll find antique collectables, designer purses and clothing. "I'm doing all I can to support local artisans," she explains. A jewelry designer herself, she notes how difficult it was as an artist to sell her designs without getting up before 6am and trekking across the valley. Her goal, she says, is to provide a venue for local artisans to showcase their talents, and photographer Leah Rondeau is glad she's doing it. "These are photos from my travels," she says as she shows me prints from Paris to Chicago. "Andrea has an ecclectic mix...modern looks with a vintage flair," she adds.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Alum Rock Avenue was closed for two hours on Saturday night following a fatal head-on accident.
The crash happened at about five o'clock on Alum Rock near Mtn. View and involved a Volkswagen Beetle and a Chevrolet Blazer. Police say the driver of the Beetle was killed, apparently on impact. Officers cloaked the VW in a plastic tarp while waiting for the Coroner to arrive at the scene. Traffic was blocked off by the California Highway Patrol at Kirk and McKee while officers investigated the scene and interviewed witnesses. It appeared as though the Blazer was traveling east on Alum Rock and the Beetle was headed west when the two cars collided, but it is unclear which car crossed the center line. Both vehicles were badly mangled, and there was no word on other injuries.
Later in the evening, there was another serious accident less than a mile away. A big Chevy pickup ended up on its side on the campus of James Lick High School after crashing through the brick wall along N. White Road at Highland. From the looks of it, it appeared as though the pickup was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed due to the damage suffered by the rebar-enforced wall. The impact sent bricks flying into a row of parked cars in the new circular driveway at Lick. It is unclear if there were other cars involved. Traffic continued to flow on White Road during the investigation and cleanup. Unfortunately, the crash damaged the newly remodeled front section of the school and landscaping that was looking so nice.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Ever wonder what happens in downtown San Jose on Mardi Gras night? Take a look!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


photos by Len Ramirez

The Amgen Tour of California roared past me somewhere on Sierra Road. After struggling up half the mountain to find a good spot to photograph the riders, I was once again amazed at the speed these riders take on 10 to 15 percent grades. Thousands of people lined Piedmont and Sierra Roads to get a glimpse of the riders as they sped past. Kids off from school, bike nuts like me, tourists and Sierra Road residents waited for hours for the racers to take on the climb. After starting in Stockton, the riders came through the Central Valley, Livermore and Calaveras Road before heading into the steepest hills of the race. Today's stage finished in downtown San Jose at City Hall, and was won by Jens Voigt of team CSC. Santa Rosa's Levi Leipheimer took second and retained his overall lead, heading into the Big Sur stage tomorrow. The race will end Sunday in Long Beach.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Bobby Julich of Team CSC, finished 3rd in last year's Amgen Tour of California and will be back as one of the top American Favorites. To get ready for the race, Julich and his team have been training on Mt. Hamilton road. Julich is seen here at the 2004 Tour de France. Photo by Len Ramirez

We all know how beautiful and our East Foothills the rest of the world will get to see. The Amgen Tour of California cycling race is back and will be rolling into the East Foothills and downtown San Jose this Wednesday, February 21st. The most elite professional cyclists in the world will get to see what local cyclists already know: the hills and roads around here are world-class tough. Last year's toughest stage will be making a comeback: a 3-mile climb up Sierra Road. The first rider to the top will get the coveted "King of the Mountains" jersey. The stage will start in Stockton and go through farmlands, over Patterson Pass, and then through Livermore and onto Calaveras Road. Then it's onto Piedmont Road and up the torturous Sierra Road climb. Riders will loop around through Ed Levin Park, back onto Piedmont, White Road and Maybury into downtown for a finish at City Hall. Lots of local cyclists will be riding up Sierra in advance of the race to get a great viewing spot on the top of the hill. Last year's inaugural race drew a world-wide television audience and this year it should get even more coverage. Look for an up-coming feature on the race next week.
More on the race:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


By Gustavo Gonzalez

Hello Fellow Residents. We have a 60' cellular phone tower going up and it will be the tallest man made structure in the East Foothills. The cellular phone tower is going up on McKee in the parking lot of the Presbyterian Church. The city/county informed us that they would camouflage the cell tower making it look like a tree, but for some reason this has changed and it will now look like a huge silver pole sticking out 6 stories high so everyone will be able to see this it where ever you are. Help us hold our elected officials accountable and make them follow through with the original plan of camouflaging this cellular phone tower. Neighbors on Valley View Avenue will be holding a meeting on Thursday Feb. 15th at 7 pm. The location is 326 Valley View Ave. Please come, join us and sign your name to the petition that will be sent to our elected leaders.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Get your Tivos and VCRs ready...and call your neighbors.
CBS-5's Eye on the Bay will air its feature on Alum Rock on Thursday, February 22 at 7:00pm on Channel 5. I spoke to Executive Producer James Reid and Producer/Show Host Marla Tellez about the project this week. They tell me the segment is edited and ready for air and that we got an extra minute of airtime for a total run-time of 6 minutes! I can't tell you how big that is in the TV biz, where we often claw and scratch to be given ten extra seconds. As mentioned in previous posts, we hit about ten locations the day we shot. Unfortunately, even with 6 minutes, not everything will make it in the segment. Apologies in advance for those who didn't "make the cut." The Alum Rock segment will be part of a larger program focusing on some of the Bay Area's most diverse neighborhoods.