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Year in Review: Part I | News

Year in Review: Part I | News


* Inaugural State of the School District luncheon, hosted by PPIE, celebrates local businesses that support the schools.

* U.S. magistrate dismisses the claim by James Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan that the government should be held responsible for the negligence of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger whose loaded gun, which was stolen from his parked SUV, later fired the bullet that killed their daughter Kate Steinle, 32, in San Francisco on July 1, 2015.

* Hundreds of women’s rights advocates march through downtown Pleasanton in the 2020 Tri-Valley Women’s March, a celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States and all that women have achieved over the past 100 years as well as a recognition of issues still to be resolved.

* Bankhead Theater hosts an environmental film fest presented by Tri-Valley Citizens’ Climate Education, the “Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour and EcoFair.”

* At its first regular meeting of the year, PUSD trustees agree to cover professional cleaning services used to sanitize five district sites during a viral gastroenteritis outbreak last fall.

* Dublin officials warn residents to stay cautious after coyote sightings continue to occur.

* BART board approves an ambassadorship program in which unarmed officers with additional de-escalation and anti-bias training ride trains from 2 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, with extra coverage on Saturdays.

* Mission Hills Park opens its new “big slide,” which replaces the old popular one installed 30 years ago that became difficult to repair and maintain.

* Emil Eyvazzadeh, an OB/GYN at San Ramon Regional Medical Center, meets with an Alamo family and its 10 children, all of whom he delivered.

* Pleasanton Weekly celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first edition published Jan. 28, 2000.

The Pleasanton Weekly celebrated its 20th anniversary in January 2020. Little did we know what the rest of the year would have in store for us… (Design by Doug Young)

* PUSD trustees approve a design scheme for the new 4th/5th-grade school planned on part of the Donlon Elementary site to serve about 500 students while the existing school converts to a kindergarten-to-third-grade school with a projected enrollment of about 700 students.

* Joseph S. Freschi, 58, a Pleasanton attorney, is killed in a fiery crash at Hacienda Drive and West Las Positas Boulevard after he loses control of a 2018 Tesla Model S and slams into a traffic signal pole and cement wall.

* Foothill High students bring home a record-breaking 69 awards from the DECA Northern California Career Development Conference in San Ramon.

* Lion dance at Bankhead Plaza welcomes the Lunar Year of the Rat as do other celebrations the last weekend of January.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Pleasanton during his tenure in Congress, died at home in Maryland on Jan. 24. He was 88. (Public domain photo)

* Jury convicts Pleasanton resident Jennifer Barbero, who had a history of drunk driving, of second-degree murder for a 2017 DUI crash in which she struck and killed a pedestrian who was standing off the road alongside Isabel Avenue.

* Former Tri-Valley Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark dies at his home in Anne Arundel County, Md. He was 88

February

* In a years-long effort for a Costco Wholesale store in Pleasanton, the City Council supports the latest version of policy and environmental review documents central to rezoning the project site on Johnson Drive.

* Fire destroys the long-vacant restaurant building once home to Denny’s on Owens Drive in Pleasanton. The cause is unknown.

* The new footbridge at Sycamore Grove Park opens, providing the final connection to 25,000 acres of open space and completing a 44-mile trail for hiking and biking that winds from Livermore to Fremont.

* New Ground Technology unveils a giant grass mural on a Pleasanton softball field of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Jan. 26.

Amador Valley’s competitive civics team celebrates in February qualifying for the We the People High School National Finals. The in-person competition in Washington, D.C. would later be canceled due to the pandemic. (Photo by PUSD)

* Amador Valley and Foothill high schools qualify for the third year running to represent California at the We the People national civics competition this spring in Washington, D.C., after winning the top two spots at the qualifying state championship.

* Nearly two years after the on-campus drowning death of San Ramon Valley High freshman Ben Curry, the family of the teenager is set to receive $8 million from SRVUSD after an agreement was reached to settle the Currys’ lawsuit. The district admits no liability for Curry’s death, under the deal.

* In the issue of Feb. 14, the Pleasanton Weekly prints a guest opinion on “Understanding the 2019 novel coronavirus” by Dr. Jake Scott, who writes, “While the potential for the spread of this disease is high, there has been an impressive collaborative effort shown by thousands of experts around the world who are working quickly and diligently to contain this epidemic.”

* City Council gives initial support to swift regulations that would ban the sales of flavored tobacco, e-cigarettes and related paraphernalia in Pleasanton.

Also before the pandemic hit, school officials and students celebrate the start of the Lydiksen Elementary modernization project. (Photo by PUSD).

* More than three years after Pleasanton voters passed the $270 million school facilities bond Measure I1 to repair and modernize local schools, PUSD celebrates the start of the initiative’s first large-scale construction project with a groundbreaking ceremony at Lydiksen Elementary School for a $30 million rebuild.

* Pleasanton Police Department Sgt. Jim Boland retires as his son, Jimmy Boland Jr., is welcomed as the newest city police officer.

* PUSD considers installing vape sensors at middle and high school campuses to detect students using electronic smoking devices, as part of plans for a major $9.6 million Measure I1 network upgrade.

* Livermore City Councilman Bob Coomber announces he will not seek re-election in the fall in order to focus on his health.

Dublin leaders unveil the city’s new Public Safety Complex at Dublin Boulevard-Clark Avenue in February. (Photo by city of Dublin).

* Dublin community gathers for the grand opening of its new police headquarters, officially known as the new Public Safety Complex, at the corner of Dublin Boulevard and Clark Avenue.

* Pleasanton Planning Commission approves a new bar downtown, Middle 8, allowing live music until midnight seven days a week.

* Alameda County Board of Supervisors votes 4-0 to tentatively approve an ordinance that would ban the sale of vaping products in the county’s unincorporated areas.

* Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne touches on a little bit of everything during his final State of the City address, including the city’s strong local economy, housing and homelessness strategies, new public and private projects, key City Council actions, city and regional transportation infrastructure, and advocating for Tri-Valley priorities at the state and federal levels.

* Amador Valley girls soccer team ends its impressive 2019-20 season with a 2-0 loss to eventual champion Monte Vista in the North Coast Section semifinals.

March

* Public health officials confirm the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Alameda County the weekend of Feb. 29 to March 1, reportedly a healthcare worker said to be exposed at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

School Board President Steve Maher leads a tour of facilities needs at Amador Valley High School ahead of the Measure M election. The PUSD bond measure would fail in the March 3 primary. (Photo by Julia Baum/Design by Rosanna Kuruppu)

* In March 3 primary election, Pleasanton voters fail to pass a $323 million facilities bond Measure M for PUSD, falling 2.6% below the 55% needed.

* Dublin passes its fourth school bond measure since 2004 with this year’s $290 million Measure J, to improve facilities as it grapples with overcrowding.

* Sunol-Glen Unified School District voters defeat a $9.5 million bond Measure O, to improve the small district’s classroom buildings, technology and infrastructure, as well as building a new multipurpose room.

* Livermore passes Measure P, which approves the hotel agreement endorsed by the Livermore City Council to allow a three-story hotel with 125-135 rooms next to the Bankhead Theater, a key component to the city’s downtown redevelopment plan.

* Pleasanton Weekly distributes $64,878 collected from more than 250 donors to its Holiday Fund to 10 nonprofit beneficiaries.

* Las Positas College Department of Theater Arts explores the New York theater and the Hollywood film industry in “Stage Door,” which first opened in 1936 in the grand tradition of drawing room comedies. It’s one of the final stage productions in the Tri-Valley with a live audience.

* Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth files its second lawsuit against the city over an environmental review in its effort to keep a Costco Wholesale store from coming to town.

* Friends of South Livermore file a lawsuit seeking to overturn its City Council’s approval of the Livermore Wine Country Inn project in south Livermore, which would include a 30-room two-story hotel, a 77-seat restaurant and bar, 61 parking spaces, a 2,300-square-foot caretaker’s housing unit, and a 1,800-square-foot business and events conference room.

* CANCELED: Large special events in the Tri-Valley, including the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Dublin, are called off due to heightened risk of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The Weekly’s March 13 Cover image highlights the cancellation of the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Dublin, one of the first in-person events in the Tri-Valley called off due to COVID-19. (Photo by city of Dublin/Design by Paul Llewellyn)

* PUSD holds emergency meeting March 13 and ultimately decides to cancel classes beginning March 16 and continuing through at least April 14, with students learning remotely from home, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Friday the 13th proved to be unlucky for the cast of “All Shook Up,” the high schools’ joint spring musical that was supposed to open for a six-show run that same day in March. But they were given the chance to perform one show with no audience. (Well, no human audience that is.) Contributed photo

* Friday the 13th proves to be unlucky for the cast of “All Shook Up,” the Pleasanton high schools’ joint spring musical which was supposed to open that day for a six-show run but was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions.

* Much of the world shuts down for several weeks due to novel coronavirus but local parks and trails remain open for Tri-Valley residents to explore with their quarantine partners.

* Pleasanton closes all non-essential city facilities and programs and halts all city government meetings as well as events and gatherings at city facilities to reduce chances for exposure to COVID-19.

* Roche Molecular Solutions in Pleasanton wins FDA approval for a COVID-19 test.

* Pleasanton Weekly temporarily suspends publishing its print edition after March 20 due to canceled advertising but continues online with increased coverage, and makes content available to everyone for free.

* Local restaurants shift to take-out model as sites are closed due to pandemic.

* LAVTA suspends all passenger fare collections on Wheels and Rapid buses to protect passengers, drivers and other staff from potential coronavirus exposure.

* Alameda County Sheriff’s Office releases more than 300 inmates from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

* U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, 67, whose district includes Danville and Alamo, is hospitalized in the Washington, D.C., area with non-COVID pneumonia that developed after a “traumatic rib fracture” when he fell during a run.

* Health officials from local hospitals say they are ready for a surge of COVID-19 patients and expect an “accelerated spread” of cases in the coming weeks. The state begins a moratorium of at least two weeks on elective surgeries.

* BART officials call for emergency local, state and federal funding support as the transit agency faces a monthly overall revenue loss of $55 million as ridership drops due to fears of spreading the coronavirus.

* The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office clears Pleasanton Police Department officers of criminal charges for Jacob Bauer’s death in 2018 two hours after a confrontation with police outside Raley’s.

Residents arrive for a COVID-19 test at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. (Photo by city of Pleasanton).

* United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 union announces an agreement with Safeway on new protections for grocery store workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

* Local school closures are extended through May 1, the Alameda County Office of Education announces, part of a “unified approach” to slow the spread of COVID-19.

* Downtown Pleasanton is left largely empty after the shelter order keeps residents home, with the exception of some individuals walking their dogs and employees at a few businesses still open.

* Rotary Clubs in the Tri-Valley have a flash campaign this month through April 30 to End Polio Now, asking residents to donate directly online.

* In response to her prom being abruptly canceled, San Ramon Valley High School junior Natalie Reese starts her own virtual TikTok prom and encourages others to join.

* Some residents join a burgeoning effort to boost community morale by putting up Christmas lights where they can be spotted by neighbors.

* The city of Pleasanton releases a “COVID-19 Update” newsletter via email and social media to let the community know more about its coronavirus response plan and key services available during the crisis.

* Sabio on Main is closed due to damage from a fire that broke out in the kitchen area before the restaurant opened for takeout brunch service on a Sunday morning.

* Seven jurisdictions in the Bay Area, including Pleasanton, plan to extend the current shelter-in-place order due to the pandemic until at least May 1.

* A motorcyclist, Dr. Gilbert Chang, 48, of Brentwood, is killed after crossing into the opposite lane and slamming head-on into an SUV on North Vasco Road in unincorporated Livermore just after 9 p.m. on a Sunday night.

* Tri-Valley residents get active creating homemade masks amid the national shortage.

April

* Pleasanton gets new permanent police chief, David Swing, formerly the chief in Morgan Hill.

David Swing, shown here as chief of Morgan Hill PD, was named as Pleasanton’s new police chief in March — but his April start date was delayed over a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of PPD)

* U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) releases his book, “Endgame: Inside the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump,” which began as a tribute to his father but partly “morphed” into an insider’s look at the recent impeachment proceedings.

* PUSD school board begins to hold remote meetings, since there doesn’t seem to be any sign of social distancing guidelines changing soon.

* A coyote bites a 5-year-old girl in Dublin Hills Regional Park; the coyote is located and fatally shot with a rifle early the next morning.

* TV30 presents a “Conversations” program with six special guests talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and how services such as meals for homebound seniors, libraries and performing arts are responding.

* Schools plan to stay closed through May 1, and administrators say to expect classrooms to remain empty for the rest of the academic year.

* Tri-Valley Career Center (TVCC) offers virtual help to job seekers, whether they were looking for work before the pandemic or lost their job as a result.

* BART announces it will make deep cuts to its service until further notice.

* Madelyne “Maddi” Misheloff, a longtime Dublin resident and member of the Dublin San Ramon Services District Board of Directors, dies after a battle with bladder cancer. She was 71.

* Livermore Valley Opera cancels last weekend of performances in its 2019-20 season finale due to the coronavirus, and sets up the LVOpera Channel on YouTube to present this season’s performances in a series.

Pleasanton’s unicorn marches with others in a social distanced costume parade downtown on May 1. (Photo by Ryan J. Degan)

* Foothill juniors and seniors Kishore Harihanan, Logan Dickey, Tarun Prakash, Vishal Muthuraja, Prem Giridhar and Jacob Bolano build a website — Bay Area COVID-19 Tracker (BACT) — that focuses on tracking local cases.

* Activist groups call on Alameda County sheriff to release all inmates at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin because they say their health is at risk due to the pandemic.

* Sheriff’s spokesman reports Santa Rita Jail had an average of about 2,650 inmates before the coronavirus outbreak but its population is now down to 1,957, and none of the 12 inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 has had to be hospitalized.

* Maddie’s Fund, a Pleasanton-based animal support foundation, announces $1 million in new funding to help shelters and nonprofits nationwide bolster pet foster care efforts during the pandemic.

* Ten residents are displaced and a dog is killed in a fire at a Livermore townhouse complex.

* March 3 election is certified, and Fremont City Councilman Vinnie Bacon and Dublin Mayor David Haubert advance to a runoff in the race for Board of Supervisors District 1.

* Mount Diablo beacon is lit on Easter and will be for succeeding Sundays until the coronavirus crisis has ended.

* Alameda County reactivates a disaster relief fund to help individuals, community-based organizations, first responders and health care workers impacted by the pandemic.

* Local State Sen. Steve Glazer and U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell separately host online events featuring special guests who speak on issues about the coronavirus pandemic.

* Alameda County Tax Collector releases policies and procedures to process requests to waive penalties and interest related to delinquent property tax payments caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

* Licensed health care facilities in Alameda County will have to screen all staff and visitors for high temperatures, and everyone must wear masks, under a new health order.

* Pleasanton City Council holds special meeting on adjusting the city’s budget anticipating a $6.3 million drop in revenues due to the pandemic, including an estimated $3.03 million less in sales tax revenue; $1.5 million less in transient occupancy tax; $985,683 less in city recreation fees; and $787,000 less in development services fees.

* Council members discuss supporting state and county efforts to protect residents and businesses from eviction, as well as a new city program to provide assistance to Pleasanton businesses hit hardest by the economic slowdown.

* With its facilities closed and patrons unable to visit, the Firehouse Arts Center’s Harrington Gallery goes online with its new exhibit, “Art in Place,” showcasing diverse works created by 90 Bay Area artists during the shelter-in-place directive.

* Marshall Mitzman, 73, who represented Area 1 on the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Board of Trustees for more than a decade, dies from COVID-19.

Jackson Reese Butler, 19, of Pleasanton died after being stabbed in the Hyatt House Pleasanton parking lot on April 15. (Contributed photo)

* Pleasanton resident Jackson Reese Butler, 19, a former student at Amador Valley High, dies after being stabbed in the parking lot of a Pleasanton hotel parking lot during a confrontation with multiple people. It is Pleasanton’s first homicide in nearly eight years.

* Two Oakland men, 22 and 23, are killed in a traffic collision at 2:16 a.m. on southbound I-680 just north of Bernal Avenue, after their 1996 Lexus sedan traveling approximately 100 mph collides into the rear of a semi-truck.

* Photographer Bill Stekelberg and his wife Ann photograph Tri-Valley families in their front yards — all while adhering to proper social distancing practices — as a part of the national Front Steps Project.

* Alameda County public health officer issues order requiring everyone to wear face coverings when around people from outside of their households.

* Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley delivers bags of groceries to older folks without relatives in the area and calls with reassurances that someone is looking out for them.

* Tri-Valley Asian Association raises thousands of dollars and facilitates the donation of tens of thousands of personal protective equipment items to first responders and front-line health care professionals.

* Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which covers nine counties in the Bay Area, releases a framework for allocating more than $780 million of federal relief funds to Bay Area transit agencies, including $3.5 million for LAVTA; $2.7 million for the ACE Train; and $251.6 million for BART.

* At an online meeting, the PUSD school board explores alternative graduation options for this year’s high school seniors.

* Stanford-ValleyCare partners with cities to offer drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the fairgrounds for residents of Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin ages 10 and up with no out-of-pocket expenses onsite.

* Valley Children’s Museum launches an online series of “STEAM Clips” for younger students to watch, as well as a number of home projects for kids to take control of their at-home learning.

* Amador Valley Quilters hang their creative quilts in front of their homes as a traveling quilt show for passersby to enjoy.

* The public health officers of six Bay Area counties, including Alameda and Contra Costa, announce they will be extending their shelter-in-place orders through at least the end of May.

* Pleasanton police arrest 39-year-old man for allegedly setting fire to his house on Paseo Navarro with people inside amid a domestic dispute.

Law enforcement broke up an illegal cockfighting event in rural unincorporated Pleasanton in April. (Photo courtesy of ACSO)

* Authorities break up cockfighting event on Dublin Canyon Road in rural Pleasanton, causing 50-60 people to flee and rescuing 600 chickens and 200 incubating eggs.

* PPIE’s Virtual Race raises $70,000 for local schools.

* Public health officers of six Bay Area counties, including Contra Costa and Alameda, release details about the new shelter-in-place regulations that mandate residents stay at home unless conducting essential business but allow certain low-risk outdoor businesses and activities, such as construction projects and golf courses, to reopen.

* Residents throughout the Tri-Valley adapt to the pandemic in a variety of creative ways, from social distancing costume parades, to outdoor neighborhood adventures and drive-by celebrations.

* PDA encourages residents to play a game it created called “Downtown Bingo” while buying from businesses on Main Street and the surrounding side streets.

May

* About 11 acres of grass burn just east of the Altamont summit north of I-580 on a Sunday afternoon. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

* San Francisco Shakespeare Festival decides on a new format to present “King Lear” live, online and interactive this summer in lieu of its Free Shakespeare in the Park in Pleasanton.

* A group of Pleasanton students, in an effort to create community during the coronavirus pandemic, offer free help and services to others, including yoga sessions, art classes and online tutoring for youngsters.

* The state gradually begins lifting its shelter-in-place restrictions, starting with public spaces and businesses that pose a lower risk to the health of workers and customers with modifications. In Pleasanton the farmers market reopens as well as the city-owned Callippe Preserve Golf Course.

The winners of the 2020 Pleasanton Weekly Mother-Daughter Lookalike Contest were Patricia (right) and Taylor Kang, 18. Their story was featured online on Mother’s Day, but not in print due to the temporary hiatus of the Weekly’s hard copy early on in the pandemic. (Contributed photo)

* This year’s Pleasanton Weekly Mother-Daughter Lookalike Contest winners are Patricia and Taylor Kang.

* The owner of Apna Bazar on Pimlico Drive is charged with price-gouging during the pandemic, after an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office alleges that nine items had their prices increased 25%-306% after the emergency declaration.

* Fair officials cancel the 2020 Alameda County Fair in light of restrictions against mass gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis.

* Nordstrom closes its department store in Pleasanton’s Stoneridge Shopping Center, one of 16 stores closed nationwide.

* The city’s new Pleasanton Business Assistance Program begins accepting applications for loans designed to provide financial help to small businesses in town fighting to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

* Tri-Valley students are recognized for creating public service announcements on the theme, “Don’t Believe the Fiction, Vaping’s an Addiction,” during the first virtual presentation of the Alameda County Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) PSA Awards.

* A man sustains major injuries after his Honda sedan slams head-on into a big-rig just before 9:30 a.m. on Highway 84 in Sunol then catches fire and spreads to roadside brush and causes an extensive cleanup effort that closes the highway for nearly six hours.

* Sweet Tomatoes restaurant on Hopyard Road shutters for good after corporate officials announce all locations nationwide won’t reopen after their temporary COVID-19 closures.

Toilet paper has been out of stock quite often in 2020, including here at Raley’s in Pleasanton earlier in the pandemic. (Photo by Jeremy Walsh)

* Longtime Foothill High biomedical teacher Josh Hill is presented with the 2020 PUSD Teacher of the Year Award during a virtual meeting of the Board of Trustees.

* Child nutrition specialist Donna Henninger wins the 2020 Pleasanton Unified School District Classified Employee of the Year Award.

* Specialty’s Café & Bakery, a restaurant brand headquartered in Pleasanton and operating more than 50 locations in three states, including two in Pleasanton, announces it is closing for good, after 33 years of business.

* Alameda County Superior Court resumes accepting reservations for remote hearings on civil, family and probate motions.

* COVID-19 regional testing site at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton starts its fourth week by opening the service up to asymptomatic residents.

* An agreement reached between Caltrans and community activists results in the planting of additional native riparian trees and the removal of invasive plant growth along Alameda Creek in Niles Canyon.

* Six Bay Area jurisdictions slightly relax the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, allowing multiple industries to resume operations and retail businesses to offer storefront pickup.

* Pleasanton-based Z-Cares Foundation, which helps teens and families cope with mental health issues, goes nationwide with its campaign challenging everyone to share “What Makes Me Happy” by posting a video, photo or comment to “spread the happiness.”

Pleasanton city and school leaders join parent volunteers on May 20 to set up a surprise display downtown to honor the high school senior classes of 2020. (Photo by Mike Sedlak)

* The Pleasanton community celebrates this year’s graduating high school seniors by tying purple, blue and gold ribbons representing the school colors for Amador Valley, Foothill and Village high schools along Main Street.

* Four teenage boys are arrested on warrants for murder and kidnapping during a robbery in connection with the fatal stabbing of Pleasanton native Jackson Reese Butler last month.

* David Swing, former chief of the Morgan Hill Police Department, is sworn in as Police Chief of the Pleasanton Police Department.

* The COVID-19 regional testing site at the fairgrounds is scheduled to close, then closing date is changed to June 5.

* Pleasanton resident James Yacorzynski, 60, is identified as the man who was found dead in a vehicle that went over a cliff northeast of Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara County.

* Pleasanton residential streets more and more have displays by residents to show their goodwill during the days of the pandemic, from books and produce left for others to artwork with encouraging words.

* TV30 holds its 10th annual “Outstanding High School Athletic Awards” program by video instead of with the usual packed-house ceremony.

* Home sales in Pleasanton are 62% lower in May compared to the same month in 2019, and real estate professionals adapt to work with the restrictions of sheltering in place, allowing clients to safely access properties and managing the expectations of buyers and sellers.

Amador Valley High School, like its crosstown counterpart, held a virtual graduation ceremony — a prerecorded video event that featured administrator and student speakers, verbal recognition of each graduate and musical performances such as this ensemble. (Photo by Mike Sedlak)

* Tri-Valley residents gather to demonstrate against police brutality and express outrage over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

* Police block off all five entrances to Stoneridge Shopping Center and encourage people to stay away from the area on the last Sunday night in May due to “civil unrest” — recorded and rumored — in the East Bay, including targeted looting in downtown Walnut Creek on Sunday afternoon, amid protests against police brutality in Minneapolis. Police also monitor the Outlets in Livermore and other retail locations.

* Approximately 1,200 seniors graduate from Amador Valley, Foothill and Village high schools, with pre-recorded virtual commencement ceremonies for each class broadcast on Tri-Valley TV and streamed online. After the final ceremony airs May 29, PUSD families and the greater community view fireworks set off at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Graduates receive their diplomas via drive-thrus.

Screenshot of U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, whose district includes Danville and Alamo, speaking during video message to constituents on Memorial Day reflecting on his weeks-long battle with life-threatening pneumonia (non-COVID).

* Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, whose district includes part of the Tri-Valley, speaks publicly for the first time on Memorial Day after a seven-week battle with near-fatal pneumonia.

June

* With businesses slowly restarting operations, the Pleasanton Weekly resumes its weekly print edition June 5, after publishing the news entirely online since March 20.

* The Alameda County Fairgrounds hosts a series of drive-in movies for the summer, starting June 12 with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

* More than 2,000 protesters peacefully take to the streets of Pleasanton, uniting in opposition to the mistreatment of African Americans — both locally and nationally — on what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro police on March 13.

Protesters in Dublin kneel in honor of George Floyd and in support of the fight for racial justice. (Photo by Ryan J. Degan)

* Hundreds of cars drive one behind the other in a coordinated loop around central Pleasanton, including downtown, in a caravan to support the Black Lives Matter movement and oppose racial injustice in America.

* Peaceful demonstrations, organized by teens and young adults in Pleasanton, draw supporters from across the spectrum by the hundreds in a weeklong stretch of large-scale, non-violent protests in each Tri-Valley city inspired, like others nationwide, by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

* Chris Miller and Joyce and Bob Shapiro are named the 2020 Ed Kinney Community Patriots for their dedication to making the world — and specifically Pleasanton — a better place.

* Shortages, including toilet paper, continue to occur on a regular basis in local stores.

* The California Farmers Market Association (CFMA) steps down as manager of the Livermore Farmers’ Market after an argument between its representative and members of Livermore Pride and a local bakery owner earlier this month went viral.

* The annual Relay for Life of the Tri-Valley is canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak but local volunteers of the American Cancer Society hold a virtual luminaria ceremony to honor those impacted by cancer.

* Fair officials announce two pop-up programs to bring fair favorites back in a socially distanced format — concerts and fair food.

* “The Ballad of Don Lewis: The Untold Story of a Synthesizer Pioneer” is released after a decade of filming, friendship and hard work, to good reviews.

* As demonstrations continue several weeks after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Pleasanton students phone in during a school board meeting to call for the introduction of a “race-conscious history curriculum” in local schools.

* PUSD works to create a new budget by the end of June that identifies and carves out $11 million from district spending after California’s economy takes a huge hit since the onset of shelter-in-place orders forces a number of businesses and organizations to reduce or cease operations.

* Las Positas College introduces a film studies program for the fall for students to learn about the history and analysis of film-making, film production, film acting, music composers in film, multimedia reporting and more.

From left: Barry Mew, Larry and Rita Fisher and their daughter Cindy. Rita had been away from home for 3-1/2 months recovering from a bad case of the coronavirus. Rita’s neighborhood welcomed her home on June 12. (Photo by Ryan J. Degan)

* The Village at Ironwood residents stand in their driveways with signs of encouragement in a socially distanced “Welcome Home” celebration for neighbor Rita Fisher. The Pleasanton woman spent nearly 3-1/2 months in the hospital battling a serious case of COVID-19.

* A new drive-thru food pantry at the Alameda County Fairgrounds gives Tri-Valley residents facing hunger an easy and convenient way to access healthy food during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a collaboration among partner agencies including the Alameda County Social Services Agency and Alameda County Community Food Bank.

* Tri-Valley Haven commemorates Juneteenth with a community display outside its community building in Livermore, inviting people to leave a sign or token describing what they celebrate about diversity and what they can do to help end racism.

* Though the Alameda County Fair is canceled, live horse racing is back at the Pleasanton fairgrounds, with empty stands. The total prize money during the six weeks is $2.3 million, with five stakes races totaling $200,000 in prize money.

Dave Marken abruptly resigned as Dublin Unified superintendent in June. (File photo)

* Superintendent Dave Marken hands in his resignation to the Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees after an apparent dispute with a board majority, a surprise announcement that sends shockwaves throughout the community overnight. It marks the second time in just over a year that the board and district have faced the abrupt departure of a superintendent.

* Main Street is closed to vehicular traffic on weekends to give restaurants and shops more room to operate outdoors, and thousands turn out for downtown Pleasanton’s grand reopening.

* Stoneridge Shopping Center reopens for business over the weekend following guidelines including enhanced sanitization and disinfection for the dining hall, restrooms, escalators, stairs, directories, trash bins and doorknobs.

* The Zone 7 Water Agency Board of Directors holds back on implementing a previously approved 6.7% water rate increase for 2021, to provide relief to Tri-Valley ratepayers in light of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

* Pleasanton starts a new emergency rental assistance program that offers up to $2,500 to qualifying residents affected by the crisis for delinquent rent or late fees accrued during the COVID-19 shelter period, using $500,000 from the city’s lower income housing fund.

* The Tri-Valley Nonprofit Fund announces its first distribution of $60,000 to regional service providers on the front lines of the pandemic — Axis Community Health, Open Heart Kitchen, CityServe of the Tri-Valley, Tri-Valley Haven, Senior Support of the Tri-Valley and Spectrum Community Services (Meals on Wheels).

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK: JULY TO DECEMBER

The Weekly’s June 26 Cover image — Thousands turn out for the downtown reopening with outdoor dining, which was originally proposed by the Pleasanton Downtown Association and approved by the city. (Photo by Ryan J. Degan)





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