East Bay in the news, on the air, and at the water cooler.
The East Coast is bringing caffeinated reinforcements to the Bay Area in 2016, with plans to open almost 40 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the Bay Area.
Let It Go
Elsa—we mean Idina Menzel—announced her summer tour late last year. Frozen’s snow queen will make her debut at the Concord Pavilion on August 7.
Slip ’N Slide
Ever rocketed down a 1,000-foot waterslide? This summer, Slide the City is bringing the mother of all Slip ’N Slides to Oakland in June and Concord in August.
Code of Conduct signs posted near Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza fountains remind parents that skipping is a banned activity in the plaza, so make sure those kids keep their feet on the ground.
Acalanes Union High School District ranked number five on Niche’s list of the best public school districts in California, and Dougherty Valley High ranked 11th on the 2015 list of the best public California high schools.
Pleasanton ranked number four in USA Today’s list of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live In, Berkeley ranked sixth in Livability’s Top 100 Places to Live, and Walnut Creek ranked 10th in NerdWallet’s Best Cities for Young Families in Northern California. The East Bay is, like, hella popular.
The driverless Oakland Airport Connector light rail, which cost $484 million, opened in November, connecting BART directly to the airport (so no more waiting for a shuttle).
Walnut Creek’s Turning Heads Fountain, by artist Seyed Alavi, made CNN’s list of 15 of the World’s Most Spectacular Fountains, much to the chagrin of some East Bay residents.
Starting January 1, dogs will be allowed on restaurant patios in California. Governor Jerry Brown must have been tired of leaving California first dog Sutter at home.
Susan Su will serve upwards of 16 years in prison for running a fake university in Pleasanton, as a front for students seeking legal immigration status. Su will not be receiving an A for effort.
Spot number 23 on Mylife’s Best Mid-Sized Cities for Food Lovers list belongs to Hayward—the lone East Bay representative. Thanks for putting us on the map, Hayward!
2. Major Mac-Quisition
3. Field of Greens
The first of its kind at a sports facility in the United States, AT&T Park’s garden has been growing kale, tomatoes, avocados, and more since June. Giants fans are encouraged to step right up behind the outfield fence and grab a pinch of fresh herbs.
4. Lone Star
Rather than trying to win better ratings on Yelp—or buying ads on the service for an alleged boost—the owners of Richmond’s Botto Bistro are encouraging patrons to help it become the most poorly rated restaurant in the Bay Area by leaving one-star reviews.
5. Killer Hangover
6. Bring Your Own Soda
7. Praised by POTUS
While in San Francisco last year, President Obama commended the Ly family, owners of Hayward’s Sugar Bowl Bakery, who fled Communism in South Vietnam in the ’70s before founding their baked goods empire.
Walnut Creek landed at number five on real estate blog Movoto’s 10 Snobbiest Small Cities in America. Va de Vi even got a one-line shout-out for any and all interested “food snobs.”
More than 500 fossils were unearthed at a dam construction site in Fremont, including giant teeth from a 40-foot long shark and sections possibly from a whale skeleton.
Fun & Games
In July, Oakland pleased pinball wizards by lifting a bizarre 80-year ban on public operation of the machines considered a form of gambling in the 1930s.
The Walnut Creek City Council got folks talking when it endorsed a plastic bag ban, effective September 18. Just remember to bring a reusable bag to the store—or you’ll have to shell out 10 cents for a recyclable paper one.
Livermore Valley Charter School smashed the Guinness World Record for the most high fives in one minute. Students were able to land 240 high fives; the existing record was 213. The school is submitting recordings for review.
Too buff for the gym? Apparently that was the case with Tiffany Austin, who was told by staff that she was intimidating other clients with her body at Planet Fitness gym in Richmond. She was told to cover up or leave. She left.
As California’s population increases, Dublin has earned the third spot for fastest-growing cities in the state. The city’s population rose 7.1 percent in the last year, falling behind McFarland and Chowchilla.
Walnut Creek is the 10th best California city in which to raise a family, according to finance website NerdWallet, thanks to top schools, arts opportunities, and household income.
Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, and Klay Thompson were named to the 2014–16 USA Men’s Basketball National Team pool, from which the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be chosen.
The East Bay cracked Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the United States list, based on both star rating and number of reviews: Cheese Board Pizza in Berkeley (16), Peter’s Kettle Corn in Oakland (56), and Wally’s Cafe in Emeryville (66).
Ranked at number 168 on Forbes’ 2014 Richest People on the Planet list is Blackhawk resident David Duffield. The 73-year-old PeopleSoft founder and Workday CEO has an estimated net worth of $7.7 billion.
Alamo resident and former A’s and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was selected for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Randy W. Schekman, UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor, was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his research on proteins in cells.
Mobile gaming company Kabam secured naming rights to the field at Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium. At $18 million for 15 years, it’s the largest deal in the country for a college field.
With a December concert in Antarctica, East Bay–bred rockers Metallica became the first band to play all seven continents in one year.
Berkeley became the 17th U.S. city to pass a smoke-free multiunit housing ordinance. Beginning this May, new apartment leases will include mandatory nonsmoking clauses.
UC Berkeley economics professor Janet Yellen was confirmed as the first woman chair of the Federal Reserve. She begins the job on January 31.
Danville is ranked ninth by home-security resource SafeWise in a list of California’s 50 safest cities.
Livermore resident and renewable energy expert Christine Gulbranson was a judge on Discovery Channel’s competition show, The Big Brain Theory.
San Ramon’s Windemere Ranch is one of the highest performing middle schools in the state, earning a 986 API score. It tied with two South Bay schools.
Google Maps replaced a satellite image that showed the body of 14-year-old Kevin Barrera, who was shot and killed in Richmond in 2009.
Martinez was one of 20 cities voters chose to win a makeover from Benjamin Moore. Three blocks will get a fresh coat of paint.
Before their concert at Oracle Arena, members of boy band One Direction thrilled fans with a surprise appearance at Pleasanton’s Stoneridge Shopping Center, where they filmed a commercial.
The Walnut Creek Aquanuts swam in high heels on America’s Got Talent, making it to the quarterfinals.
Real Estate company Redfin ranked Berkeley as the seventh best city in the U.S. for successful single women based on college graduation rate, earned income, and ratio to single men.
John Muir Walnut Creek was ranked the second best hospital in the Bay Area by U.S. News & World Report. UCSF topped the list.
College Prep alum Emily Heller talked high school bullies during a hilarious stand-up set on Conan.
San Ramon topped a list of cities where Americans earn the most, says personal finance resource NerdWallet. Pleasanton ranked third.
Real estate blog Movoto named Oakland the “most exciting city in the country.”
Bob Dylan was a no-show at his induction to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but Berkeley author Michael Chabon offered the keynote address.
San Ramon resident Dale Pederson’s prize-winning artwork adorns Bic Lighters, for sale through August.