Encinal repaving to begin, monarch butterflies, CalKIDS college funds, and special guest at Left Field Dogs.
Encinal repaving and improvements start soon
Caltrans will begin the repaving project announced earlier this year to upgrade Encinal Avenue between Broadway and Sherman Street. Route 61, part of the State’s highway system, runs from Oakland through Alameda from the tubes to Doolittle Drive and into San Leandro. Much of it runs along Encinal Avenue from Webster Street to Broadway. The road surface has become pitted and pocked and unpleasant to drive on. Additionally, the wide street has badly marked crosswalks. The upgrades will provide motorists with a smoother ride and additional safety for pedestrians and wheelchair users.
Work will start in December at the intersection of Encinal Avenue and Grand Street and is expected to be completed by fall of 2023. Among the projects to be completed are upgrades to existing curb ramps, enhanced crosswalk markings, upgraded signals with accessible pedestrian signals, and new vehicle speed feedback signs. The project will also incorporate Complete Streets elements, which means the existing two through lanes will be converted to one through lane in each direction, adding a center two-way left-turn lane, two Class II bicycle lanes, and parking within the project limits.
See beautiful monarch butterflies overwintering in Alameda
If you walk along Alameda’s tree-lined streets, especially near homes with milkweed growing in their gardens, you may occasionally see a beautiful orange and black monarch butterfly flitting past. But if you grab your binoculars now and head over to Lincoln Park at 1450 High St., you’ll likely see a huge mass of beautiful Monarchs overwintering in the tall redwood trees.
The best time to see them is in the mornings before they leave to feed on nectar in local pollinator plants, according to a recent City of Alameda Facebook post. “They look a little like clusters of dead leaves since they are brown when closed due to the colder temperature,” the post notes. A number of Alamedans left helpful comments on the post.
“If you find one on the ground not flying around, she’s okay, it’s just too cold to fly (her hydraulics won’t work),” Denise commented. “Put her in a safe place where the sun is, or will be tomorrow, so she can warm up and fly.”
You can also spot monarchs in a sequoia and redwood tree at Franklin Park, 1432 San Antonio Ave., and in the eucalyptus at Corica Park, 1 Clubhouse Memorial Rd., Bay Farm Island, according to naturalist Susan Ramos of the East Bay Regional Park District. Ramos seeks out and counts Alameda’s monarchs every year.
Sadly, the Monarch Butterfly Garden in the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park was vandalized in September, when someone destroyed the netting and bracing that was protecting the newly planted milkweed plants there. Small gardens like this one and those in the back yards of Alameda homes are helping migratory monarch butterflies survive and thrive again. The entire western migratory monarch butterfly population dipped to a startling low level of less than 2,000 during the winter of 2020-2021, but increased dramatically to more than 200,000 last winter, according to the Western Monarch Count. Hopefully the upward trend will continue again this year.
Meanwhile, grab those binoculars, get out to our parks, and see those beautiful monarchs!
Get up to $1500 for college from CalKIDS
Rarely do you read about a state giving away money for kids to go to college, but it’s happening here in California. All babies born in California on or after July 1, 2022—and eligible low-income public school students—are automatically enrolled and given a college savings account with an initial deposit, thanks to the California Kids Investment and Development Savings (CalKIDS) Program. Newborns receive up to $100 and eligible low-income public school students may qualify to get up to $1,500 in college savings.
Learn more about the program—and how your family can participate—at a free Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, November 29, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE), 313 West Winton Ave., Hayward. Food will be provided. The meeting will be both in person and on Zoom. Register online to reserve a spot for the in-person or Zoom meeting. Login information for the Zoom meeting will be posted on the day of the event on the ACOE/CalKIDS website.
This special Town Hall meeting is hosted by ACOE in partnership with State Treasurer Fiona Ma and CalKIDS. The event will include presentations by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe, and CalKIDS representative Rachell Owen-Reinwald.
A video about how to register for the CalKIDS program is available on YouTube.
Hometown hero tries his namesake hot dog at Left Field Dogs
You can’t miss the new hot dog joint on Webster Street. Left Field Dogs is covered in bright green and yellow—Oakland A’s colors—and features specialty hot dogs named after baseball players, many of whom are local heroes. One of them, Dontrelle Willis aka the D-Train, stopped by shortly after the place opened to try his namesake dog. Needless to say, proprietor Abraham Kinfu was thrilled.
“Big bro came by for some hot dogs!! Much love to our Hometown Hero, EHS Alumni, Dontrelle Willis AKA The D-Train!” Kinfu posted on Facebook. “Thank you for the love and support! A big inspiration for Left Field Dogs!! @youngrizzle35 👊🏽👊🏽 🙏🏽🙏🏽And yes, he ordered the Dontrelle Willis (beef frank, chili, nacho cheese, cheddar cheese, onions, jalapeños on a potato bun)🔥🔥👌🏽👌🏽”
Willis and Kinfu both went to Encinal High School, as did a couple of other famous ballplayers whose namesake hot dogs are on the menu—Willie Stargell and Jimmy Rollins. Willis, a left-handed pitcher who was named the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year, played for the Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds. He joined the television broadcast team of the Los Angeles Dodgers in May 2022 and is a regular studio and game analyst for Fox Sports.
We all know about legendary Willie Stargell, who has both a baseball field and a street named after him here in Alameda. A masterful power hitter, he had the most home runs (296) of any player in the 1970s. He spent his entire 21-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1988. Shortstop Jimmy “J-Roll” Rollins played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago White Sox. He won the National League Gold Glove Award four times.