san leandro

Veterans invited to special service session

The American Legion is sending national and state teams to a special service session Feb. 20-22 to provide information on veterans benefits and coordinate a membership drive.

"A lot of veterans sign up for the American Legion, and they're assigned to Post 1000 in California. It's a floating post; it's not a real post," said Ron Galvan, area membership chairman for the group. "The idea is to try to get them into a regular post."

Any veteran with questions about benefits or other military-related questions can speak to a service officer, who will be available all day Feb. 21.

The event is being held in San Leandro, but it includes veterans from Contra Costa County and San Francisco, Galvan said. Those living in the San Leandro and Oakland areas will be encouraged to join Post 117 in San Leandro.

The veteran service campaign is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 20 and 21 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 22. The service officer will be on hand 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 21.

The campaign will be held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1105 Bancroft Ave.

Any veteran who served during wartime can join the American Legion, Galvan said.

-- Rebecca Parr, Staff


Mayor honors rapper for charity work

Mayor Jean Quan has honored an Oakland hip-hop artist for his local charity work.

Quan declared last Saturday "Stanley Cox aka Mistah F.A.B. Day" in Oakland.

The honor was in recognition of the rapper's charity events, which include an annual back-to-school backpack giveaway, a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and a Christmas toy drive. Quan addressed Cox Saturday night at a party he hosted for fellow Oakland native Marshawn Lynch of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

"It's such a huge honor for me to be recognized by the mayor and to have my own holiday," Cox said in a prepared statement. "I'm so proud to be from Oakland, and I think it's important for those of us who have been successful to come back and help to uplift the community."

-- Matthew Artz, Staff


Seminar slated on special event permits

A workshop next week will inform residents how to lawfully hold public gatherings.

The session, called Special Events 101, begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Fire Administration Training Center. The building is behind City Hall, which is at 3300 Capitol Ave.

Fremont staffers will review the city's special-event ordinance, discussing details and deadlines for applications and permits. They also will give an overview of city rules on fire codes, road closures, using stages and tents, serving food and alcohol, and garbage and recycling.

A space at the workshop can be reserved by contacting the city's special events manager, Maya Williams, at 510-790-6967 or

For more information, go to

-- Chris De Benedetti, Staff


Burglary suspect is hospitalized

A shoe store owner and his teenage son managed to stop a suspected burglar by smashing a chair over his head after he allegedly broke into the downtown business early Sunday, police said.

The suspect suffered serious injuries and was hospitalized after the break-in at Tony's Shoes in the 1000 block of B Street, said Lt. Mark Stuart.

Police said the business owner had been living in his store due to a recent attempted burglary there and that about 6:50 a.m., he awoke to the sound of the store's front window being smashed.

When someone entered the store, Stuart said, a fight broke out between the owner and the burglar.

At some point during the scuffle, the owner's 16-year-old son grabbed a metal chair and hit the suspect over the head, causing serious injuries, Stuart said.

The suspect -- identified as Manuel Jose Ponce, 50, of Hayward -- was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries, Stuart said.

Ponce has a lengthy criminal history, according to police. He was later released from the hospital and arrested on suspicion of burglary.

As of Monday, he remained at Santa Rita Jail on $50,000 bond.

He was due in court Tuesday at the Hayward Hall of Justice to be arraigned on the charge, jail records show.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff


Construction workers robbed at gunpoint

Eight construction workers renovating an apartment in West Oakland were robbed at gunpoint Monday afternoon, police said.

The men were working at a vacant two-story fourplex in the 600 block of 23rd Street, underneath Interstate 980, when four suspects, at least three of them armed with guns, got out of a car and robbed them, authorities said. None of the victims, who ranged in age from their 20s to 40s, were injured, but they were robbed of their wallets, cash and cellphones about 2:45 p.m.

The suspects fled in the car and are being sought by police. Investigators were told that it was the first day at the site for some of the workers.

Police and CrimeStoppers of Oakland are offering up to $7500 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information can call 510-238-3326 or CrimeStoppers at 510-777-8572.

-- Harry Harris and Erin Ivie, Staff


Man shot to death at gas station

A 55-year-old San Pablo man was fatally shot in front of his 5-year-old son over the weekend at a gas station, police said Monday.

Police found Rodrigo Martinez shot several times and slumped in his vehicle at a Shell station in the 2800 block of El Portal Drive, San Pablo police Cmdr. Palmieri said. The shooting occurred around 11:15 p.m., Palmieri said.

An ambulance took Martinez to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Palmieri said. Martinez's son, found next to him uninjured, was turned over to his mother at the scene, Palmieri said.

Police had no information about possible suspects.

The homicide was the second in San Pablo in less than a week. Richmond resident Franklin Lopez-Guardado, 19, died in a shooting in the 2100 block of Dover Avenue on Thursday.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff