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News Digest

Some banks may close on Main Street

Acquisitions, money troubles ending era of downtown banking growth

Public to meet for pedestrian master plan

by Jeb Bing

In an effort to inform and hear from the public about the Pleasanton draft pedestrian and bicycle master plan, a work- shop will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Pleasanton Public Library’s meeting room, located at 400 Old Bernal Ave. The evening will be led by transportation consultants and will focus on bicycle facilities, with some information about pedestrian facilities and a pri- oritized list of projects. Draft chapters may be viewed online at http://pleasantonbikepedplan. webexone.com.


ritics of the growing num- ber of banks in downtown Pleasanton may have won their argument.

Two banks on Main Street—First Republic and Washington Mutual— have been acquired by other finan- cial institutions as part of the gov- ernment’s effort to strengthen the solvency of large banks through mergers and acquisition. A third bank, Guaranty, that was scheduled to open this fall at the south end of Main Street, has apparently can- celed those plans after its stock and vulnerability to outstanding debt

caused it to retrench.

The future of First Republic, which took over the operations of the Bank of Walnut Creek a year ago, remains uncertain in the wake of its acquisition by Bank of America, which has a Main Street branch just a few doors to the north, According to a story by Mark Calvey in the San Francisco Business Times, it’s widely expect- ed that First Republic’s opera- tions will be rolled into Bank of America’s.

At this time, First Republic on Main Street continues to operate independently.

Washington Mutual at Main

and Division streets also remains open following its purchase by New York-based JPMorgan Chase. Charlie Scharf, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Retail Financial Services group, said his company plans to rebrand WaMu branches across the country with the JPMorgan Chase name.

As for layoffs, Scharf told report- ers that JPMorgan is taking 60 days to sort through WaMu’s organization to determine which employees it will cut and keep, with the goal of telling everyone by Dec. 1 what their future is with JPMorgan, if any.

Also uncertain is WaMu’s credit center on the other side of

Pleasanton, near Home Depot. Last August, Washington Mutual sold its five-building office complex, but continues to operate there. Washington Mutual earlier had acquired the complex along with its owner, Providian Bancorp., for $6.1 billion. Since then several hundred WaMu employees at the Johnson Drive center have been terminated.

Guaranty Bank, which has leased space at 234 Main St., is regroup- ing its California operations while riding out the financial storm. It reportedly is seeking to cancel its lease agreement with the Main Street building property owner. N

Middle schools host rummage sales

Tomorrow is unofficially rum- mage sale day as two middle schools invite people to browse through gently-used goods in support of education. Hart Middle School, located at 4433 Willow Road, will have wares, such as household items, games and clothes for sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Harvest Park Middle School, at 4900 Valley Ave., will have goods and baked items for sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds from Harvest Park’s sale will go toward the special education program at the school.

Museum to explore Walnut Grove Park

The Lark in the Park pro- gram, sponsored by the Museum On Main, has a docent-led walk through a Pleasanton park to share about the local history that surrounds it. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, participants can learn more about the Walnut Grove Park area on Harvest Road. Donations are appreci- ated and a yearly membership to the program is $25 per per- son, which includes a passport, binder and one photo of each park’s history. Money raised will go toward the museum’s educa- tional scholarship fund. To make reservations, call 462-2766. Visit www.museumonmain.org.

Local paper folds

With increasing printing costs and readers flocking to the Internet for news, the East Bay Business Times is the lat- est newspaper to fold after more than 20 years. Its sister publica- tion, the San Francisco Business Times, will absorb the 10-per- son operation that was based in the Stoneridge Corporate Plaza. Subscribers will receive an enhanced version of the San Francisco paper.

Shawn Cordeiro (right) fine tunes his Death Star soapbox racer with his dad Ray at his Pleasanton home. Modeled after a planet-sized spaceship from the “Star Wars” movies, it will race the streets of San Francisco Saturday.

Channeling the force

Star Wars craft to race in a SF soapbox derby Saturday

by Emily West

T he Death Star has been spot- ted in Pleasanton, but don’t think it’s the resurgence of the dark side just yet. Shawn Corderio and four teammates are building it to race the streets of San Francisco, not for intergalactic domination.

Called Team Fully Operational, the group of Star Wars fans live in San Francisco, but have been spend-

ing free time in Corderio’s par- ents’ garage in Pleasanton crafting a “soapbox” interpretation of Darth Vader’s mobile planet found in George Lucas’ classic sci-fi films. A welded metal frame—thanks to Corderio’s dad, Ray, who is a certified welder—encompasses two bikes with platforms in between. Inside there is room for two people, a video camera and a monitor to

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Emily West

Measure A funds paying dividends

Since 2004 passage, ha f-cent sales tax has aided ValleyCare, Axis Health expansions

by Janet Pelletier

A new report out on Measure A shows that the half-cent sales tax is making a differ- ence in Alameda County. Locally, the tax has benefited ValleyCare Health System and Axis Community Health, according to officials from both organizations.

ValleyCare has received $1.05 million from Measure A and the funds went toward the first phase of upgrading and enlarging the Pleasanton hospital’s emergency room, according to Ken Mercer, vice president of the ValleyCare Foundation.

“(Measure A) was very gen- erous in helping us and Scott Haggerty, our supervisor, should receive recognition for working hard in helping us receive the money,” Mercer said.

The emergency room expansion is crucial for the medical center, which has been dealing with a space crunch for many years. The ER was built in 1991, is 4,000 square feet and meant to serve 13,500 patients. However, medical professionals are actually assisting more than double that number.

The expansion broke ground early this year and will be con- structed in three phases at a price tag of $6.7 million. Phase one includes nine additional treatment rooms, including an isolation room and nurses’ station; phase two includes a bigger reception and waiting area, two triage areas and a covered ambulance entry area; and phase three includes four treating stations and a larger nurses’ station. The ER will go


from 4,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, from 12 treatment areas to 23 private treatment rooms, from one triage area to two, from two open registration stations to two private stations and from a waiting area with seat- ing for 10 to one that seats 30.

Measure A funds have also helped Axis Community Health, a Tri-Valley provider of medical, mental health, substance abuse counseling and health education services.

Sue Compton, executive direc- tor for Axis, said the health pro- vider received approximately $75,000 to help implement a new practice management system that cost $300,000.

“Currently, we have $135,000 in support of the women’s clin- ic that we are constructing at our Pleasanton clinic site, with a groundbreaking late this fall, as well as S108,000 in support of our behavioral health services expansion project, which will assist us in the costs of obtaining an additional site in Pleasanton for many of our mental health and behavioral health services, opening approximately Dec. 1,” Compton said.

According to the report on Measure A, the county sales tax supporting emergency medical, hospital inpatient, outpatient, public health, mental health and substance abuse services for low- income and uninsured people has generated $109 million in fiscal year 2005-06 and $113 million in FY 2006-07. The measure, which

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